In terms of length, the CX-30 splits the difference between the CX-3 and CX-5, although in terms of cargo room and price, it’s closer to the CX-3. Photo: Mazda

In terms of length, the CX-30 splits the difference between the CX-3 and CX-5, although in terms of cargo room and price, it’s closer to the CX-3. Photo: Mazda

A sweet ride that fits in Mazda’s sweet spot

The CX-30 is a smart play on Mazda’s part and could be a smart buy for anyone seeking flair and finesse in a useful package

Achieving mastery in the utility-vehicle segment is not necessarily defined by the automaker that sells the most, but by which one, or ones, best combine styling, spaciousness and driving competency.

By that measure, the current trio of Mazda models — the CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9 — are highly regarded.

Despite what the name implies, the new CX-30 plugs a noticeable gap between the 3 and the 5. As for the tale of the tape for a vehicle that should be called the CX-4: About 13 centimetres longer than the three and 15 centimetres shorter than the CX-5.

Why is it called the CX-30? Apparently because Mazda already makes a CX-4, although not for this market.

In terms of cargo capacity, aft of the front seats, the CX-30 offers only slightly greater room than the CX-3. That’s due in part to a sloped liftgate, which gives the newcomer a sportier silhouette but cuts into stowage room (with the split-folding rear seat up or lowered). This is big deal because one of the CX-3’s shortcomings — and therefore one of the reasons to move up to the CX-30 — is cargo room.

Fortunately, the rear door is relatively wide and the cargo floor is quite low (unlike in the CX-3) to accommodate bulkier objects.

When viewed head-on, the CX-30’s visually appealing grille and elongated hood — part of the Kodo design language — appear to be lifted straight from the CX-5.

As you would expect, the CX-30’s passenger volume falls between that of the 3 and 5. The control panel and standard 23-centimetre touch-screen — appearing partially sunken into the dashboard — is also similar to the CX-5’s unit.

Elsewhere, Mazda focused on a quiet cabin. Along with added insulation, the sound system’s low-frequency speakers, which are normally placed in the lower front-door panels, are moved upward and closer to the pull handles. The automaker claims this means more bass plus a reduction in outside noise leaking in through the speaker grilles.

The base CX-30 engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder that produces 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet. Both engines are connected to six-speed automatic transmissions.

Front-wheel-drive is standard for both engines, and all-wheel-drive is optional for both.

Fuel consumption for the FWD 2.0 is rated at 8.9 l/100 km in the city, 7.1 on the highway and 8.1 combined.

A new AWD feature is the Off-Road mode that assists traction on rough/uneven/loose surfaces.

Pricing in Canada starts at $26,000, including destination charges, for the base CX-30 GX. That’s $3,000 higher than the CX-3’s base, but the CX-30 includes extra-cost content such as an 22.3-centimetre screen, heated front seats, LED headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels and eight-speaker audio. Also standard is blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The midgrade GS comes with the 2.5-liter engine plus dual-zone climate control, 18-inch wheels and a heated steering wheel. There’s also a much larger grouping of key active-safety tech, including adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, inattentive-driver alert and emergency braking.

The top-line GT trim level comes with all-wheel-drive plus a 12-speaker Bose-brand audio package, heated front seats with power adjustment (including lumbar support and memory settings) for the driver.

You also get leather seat inserts, power moonroof, power liftgate, adaptive (left-right pivoting) headlights and head-up display that projects speed and other information onto the windshield.

Note than the GT’s 2.5-litre engine includes cylinder deactivation that shuts down two cylinders during light cruising to save fuel.

For the 2020 model year, every CX-30 (as does every new Mazda in Canada) comes with an unlimited-kilometre warranty with three years of comprehensive coverage (including roadside assistance), five-years of powertrain and seven years of anti-perforation (rust-through) coverage.

As buyers continue to gravitate to utility vehicles, the CX-30 is a smart play on Mazda’s part and could be a smart buy for anyone seeking flair and finesse in a useful package.

What you should know: 2020 Mazda CX-30

Type: Front- / all-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle

Engine (h.p.): 2.0-litre DOHC I-4 (155); 2.5-litre DOHC I-4 (186)

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Market position: The CX-30 gives Mazda four utility vehicles to cover a wide range of size and price. It fills a critical spot in the lineup between the CX-3 and the CX-5.

Points: Slightly less practical (but better looking) than the CX-5, but a nice option to the CX-3. • Interior remains spacious for people and cargo, despite the smallish dimensions. • Stout optional engine is the same one installed in the heavier CX-5, so it should perform well with less heft to haul around.

• Well priced considering the lengthy list of base content.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (opt.); emergency braking (opt.); drowsy-driver alert (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 8.9/7.1(2.0, FWD); Base price (incl. destination) $26,000

BY COMPARISON

Honda HR-V

Base price: $26,100

Smallest of Honda’s utility model provides a versatile space for cargo stowage.

Chevrolet Trax

Base price: $27,600

Tall, stubby model uses a modest 138-h.p. engine. Replacement due for 2021.

Kia Soul

Base price: $23,350

New second-generation wagon is roomy, stylish and affordable, but no AWD.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
POLL QUESTION: Would you like to see stricter enforcement towards illegal camping?

Would you like to see stricter enforcement towards illegal camping? READ MORE:… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read