Road Test: 2020 Mazda CX-30

Mazda has always taken a different approach to the way it designs and engineers it’s vehicle. They all have character, emotion, thoughtful features, and a sporty demeanor. With the debut of the CX-30, Mazda has taken this approach to another level.

The CX-30 has a feeling of oneness that extends beyond the drive. It is a five-seat crossover made for a wide range of fans, especially young people who are approaching significant life transitions. Mazda wants the CX-30 to be able to help these fans enjoy those milestones to the fullest and become an essential partner in their daily lives.


CX-30 is the second Mazda to adopt the latest evolution of Kodo design, a more mature interpretation of Mazda’s design ethos. With sleek and bold styling, this crossover is meant to evoke creativity in one’s life.

Mazda’s signature wing takes on a sharper and deeper form to achieve a strong, refined front end that is suggestive of forward motion. The bright LED headlights illuminate the roadway beautifully at night, with automatic high beams taking the hassle of switching between low and high beams.

The diagonal angle of the rear window gives the vehicle a coupe-like silhouette while the narrowed arch shape of the liftgate makes the body look shorter and wider for a powerful stance.

This allows for purposeful design of the trunk that maintains its usefulness without giving the CX-30 a box-like appearance. The rear end also looks elegant at night with LED illumination in the taillights that show off the crystal-like tail lights perfectly.

Going beyond beauty, CX-30 is meant to look compact on the outside, but spacious on the inside.


The appealing exterior is matched with a comfortable, premium-feeling interior. By studying the human body, engineers focused on developing a vehicle interior that puts occupants in the proper positions and posture.

The idea is for each ride in the CX-30 to be a pleasant time for all. The human-centric cockpit helps the driver feel connected with the vehicle but is not isolating from the other occupants. The floor console is outfitted with convenient, easy to access features and storage compartments, and the openness of the cabin encourages conversation that helps brings people together.

The driver’s seating position is set high to provide a clear field of view and let the driver focus on the road ahead. For clear visibility, the shape and thickness of the a-pillars and c-pillars are minimized to help reduce blind spots, while a rear quarter window offers a way to perceive potential vehicles or objects in the rear.

Attention was taken when positioning all of the instruments in the CX-30. For example, the positioning of the shifter and commander control on the floor console is optimized for operating stability, ease and comfort. The Active Driving Display, meters and standard 8.8-inch center display were all redesigned to present information in a simple fashion, with uniform fonts across all of them.

With an inviting cabin, the engineers wanted to preserve the peaceful environment by focusing on the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Nearly every aspect of the CX-30 was measured, from the tires to the headliner, to minimize any road noise. During a comprehensive study on how sounds are transmitted through the vehicle’s cabin, speakers were repositioned depending on their frequency to produce a better sound.

One of those changes was to mount the woofers, normally found in the doors of most cars, onto the side cowls. This allows for an audio system with more bass that won’t rattle the doors. As an additional benefit, the lack of a speaker port in the door reduced another area where potential road noise could disrupt the experience in the CX-30.

Other design features include the rear footwell being slightly slanted to provide rear passengers optimal space to sit relaxed in the rear seats. The side sills in the door jams are subtly rounded to ensure comfort when entering or exiting the CX-30 in case one’s legs inadvertently make contact with it, while not creating a gap in the door seams.

A focus on interior comfort and everyday user-friendliness makes this all-new compact crossover a car for everyone.


Under the hood is a 4-cylinder Skyactiv-G 2.5L engine paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Producing 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, the CX-30 is relatively compact so the engine always feels peppy and eager to get up to speed.

The compact crossover is equipped with Mazda’s new off-road traction assist feature, which can potentially help the driver when adventuring on uneven terrain. When the diagonal wheels lose traction, off-road traction assist will stop reducing the engine torque and increase the brake force on the wheels without traction. This transfers power to the wheels still on the ground to help allow the vehicle to regain traction and continue the drive. We didn’t try this, but it’s good to know that it’s there!

G-Vectoring Control Plus and front-wheel drive are standard, while Mazda’s predictive i-Activ all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels.

Fuel economy was an impressive 29 mpg combined thanks to cylinder deactivation on our Premium trim. The EPA rates it at 25 city, 32 highway, and 27 combined.


All of the latest driver assist systems are standard on the CX-30. Lane departure warning with assist, high beam control, smart brake suport, and Mazda radar cruise control with stop and go.

We found the lane departure assist system to work very well, especially with the steering wheel vibrations instead of the audible beeps. As for the radar cruise system, it’s the best implementation we’ve seen from Mazda to-date. It works smoothly, isn’t too aggressive when cars cut in and out, and knows just how to accelerate to keep up with traffic.

A big surprise was the updated Active Driving Display which is a true heads-up display system, projecting all pertinent information into the windshield of the CX-30.

New this year is Mazda Connected Services which is a standard feature on all CX-30 models. This new service will provide even more convenience, peace-of-mind and safety through the MyMazda app.

The app will help provide the assurance to know and control the state of CX-30 remotely. This includes being able to remotely lock the doors or remotely start the engine. In the app, CX-30’s status can be monitored, such as oil information or tire pressure.

Mazda Connected Services can also notify the owner of any important vehicle alerts or messages from Mazda, such as recall information. The in-car Wi-Fi hotspot is a separate available service too.


CX-30 comes standard with more premium features such as a widescreen 8.8-inch center display with Mazda Connect, an AM/FM eight-speaker sound system with HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio. The system’s menu’s were a little challenging at first but grew on us during the evaluation period.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto worked very well, especially with the rotary control knob. The real treat though was the Bose 12-speaker premium audio, which sounded especially well in the CX-30’s refined cabin.


A lot of dedication and effort goes into the development of an all-new vehicle, and Mazda spared no expense for the CX-30. The compact crossover is the ideal size, and offers all the features one would expect in a much more expensive vehicle.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling9
Powertrain and Fuel Economy8
Interior Fit and Finish10
Gauges and Controls9
Total Score85

Make: Mazda
Model: CX-30
Trim Level: Premium AWD
Engine: 2.5L
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Options: Frameless auto-dimming mirror, navigation, premium pkg

Base Price: $ 29,600
As-Tested Price: $31,370

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