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

VIDEO: View Royal resident spots cougar in nearby backyard

B.C. Conservation notified about early Thursday morning sighting

People-less protest in Victoria holds space for victims of police brutality, systematic racism

People are asked to come learn the names of the lives lost to the hands of racism

COVID-19 demolishes new construction in Greater Victoria

Value of new building permits in Greater Victoria drop more than 37 per cent

Victoria police arrest two people during ‘tweet-a-long’ Strike Force operation

VicPD offering ‘behind the scenes’ look at the operation

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Most Read