These days, if you still have a sedan in your lineup, there’d better be an SUV based on the same platform or you are out of luck. Now, if you can manage to design two SUVs on that same platform, all the better.  That’s where the all-new 2020 Mazda CX-30 comes in. Built on the Mazda3 chassis, the CX30 has been squeezed in between the CX-3 and its larger engineering cousin CX-5.

The Mazda3 has always been a favorite at MotorWeek, so having another crossover sharing its bones is certainly not a bad thing. The engine is the same SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter I4 found in both the Mazda3 and CX-5.  Now, Mazda claims it has been tuned specifically for the CX-30, but with the same 186-horsepower and 186 lb-ft. of torque, the retuning must be very minimal. Regardless, those numbers are very stout for the segment.

A 6-speed auto handles transmission duty, with front-wheel-drive standard, and all-wheel-drive available.

Things are certainly cozy inside, but not tight; and the clean design definitely has a near luxury feel in our Premium packaged test car. All trims get a dash-top 8.8-inch screen for Mazda Connect infotainment; controlled by the typical console-mounted controller.  A multi-function knob for the radio is also on the console, while HVAC controls are integrated into the slender dash.

Initially, we found the front seats to be firm to put it mildly; so the CX-5 is comfier for long trips. But around town, the CX-30 shines. Rear seat room is marginal for adults, but about par for a subcompact; and just a tiny bit more than the Mazda3 hatchback.

Unlike the CX-3, the CX-30 feels like a real utility when it comes time to throw stuff into the cargo hold. Also, its 20.2 cubic-ft. of space is about 2/3rds of the CX-5’s. Split folding seatbacks are standard. 

On the open road, things are fairly quiet inside, and the engine noise that you do hear, is relatively pleasant. Shifts from the 6-speed auto are very smooth. Provided we weren’t too aggressive with inputs, there was plenty of fun to be had for backroading, but traction control can end the party quickly. Still, Mazda prides itself on delivering an entertaining and sporting driving experience throughout their lineup, and the CX-30 was as enjoyable as we expected. 

As for appearance, Mazda’s Kodo design theme will probably make a few people stop in their tracks.  The simplistic big mouth front, and undulating sides are certainly a notch above most in the segment. Blind Spot Monitoring is optional, but standard i-Activesense safety features includes radar cruise with stop-and-go, as well as Lane-Keep Assist. 

For our complete road test of the 2020 Mazda CX-30, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3942 that begins airing June 19, 2020. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.

There is a lot to like about the 2020 Mazda CX-30, and it was clearly designed with the young active buyer in mind. But, this little crossover’s appeal goes above and beyond that, and proves there was indeed room for one more, well designed, crossover utility in the Mazda lineup.