Mazda CX-3 Too Small? Try the CX-30 on for Size

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As promised, Mazda threw the sheets off its mystery vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show, revealing a small crossover that’s not too small.

The brand’s CX-3 often earns gripes for its diminutive size and limited interior volume, not to mention its middling ground clearance, but until today there was nothing to bridge the gap between CX-3 and the automaker’s wildly popular CX-5 (unless you live in China, which has exclusive access to the CX-4). With its new CX-30, Mazda enters the middle ground between compact and subcompact.

Bound for Europe this summer and other markets in the near future ( the U.S. will see this model, Mazda says), the CX-30 dons Skyactiv architecture, a new take on the brand’s KODO design language, and a whole lot of body cladding.

European engine choices include a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder with cylinder deactivation and 1.8-liter diesel, as well as the innovative new Skyactiv-X four-cylinder — a Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) engine that sprays and burns fuel in a decidedly different way than conventional internal combustion engines. Both gasoline engines will be mated to Mazdas’ M Hybrid mild hybrid system for further fuel economy gains. Two six-speed transmissions, an automatic and manual, manage the CX-30’s power.

While the automaker is known for being finicky, a statement from CX-30 program manager Naohito Saga reveals an obsessive desire to make the new crossover right-sized. A vehicle that can attract the most amount of new customers to the brand.

So, how big is this thing? The CX-30 is 4.7 inches longer than a CX-3, and 1.2 inches wider. Importantly, ground clearance is up by 0.6 inches, with the CX-30 rising above terra firma by 6.8 inches. Not Subaru Crosstrek territory, for sure, but it does split the difference between the CX-3 and CX-5. Rear cargo volume, including the underfloor cubby, is 15.2 cubic feet.

Inside, Mazda claims the placement of everything (A-pillar to armrests to switchgear) was optimized for comfort and tranquility. Careful attention was paid to noise and vibration levels, Mazda claims, referring to the model’s ambiance as “high-quality quietness.” We’ll have to wait to see how the supposedly right-sized crossover handles large American frames. The interior dons a semi-premium look, as per Mazda’s new mandate, and all CX-30s receive an 8.8-inch center display.

For customers living in wintery climes (or those who want to put that 6.8 inches of clearance to the test), Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system adopts G-Vectoring Control for sharper performance. Meanwhile, a suite of safety features includes a driver monitoring system — something you still won’t find in a Tesla.

Mazda hasn’t said when North American customers can expect the CX-30, but no later than early 2020 would be a very cautious guess.

[Images: Mazda]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mechimike Mechimike on Mar 06, 2019

    I just bought a 2018 Mazda 3 (with a manual transmission) but if this had been in the showroom next to it, and offered with a stick, I wold have test driven it. Please, offer it with NO turbo, and WITH a manual. Thank you.

  • Mechimike Mechimike on Mar 06, 2019

    I just bought a 2018 Mazda 3 (with a manual transmission) but if this had been in the showroom next to it, and offered with a stick, I would have test driven it. Please, offer it with NO turbo, and WITH a manual. Thank you.

  • Bd2 This is when BMW started to go downhill design-wise...
  • Jalop1991 "...their resale value to be in par with a 80's GM diesel wearing a Yugo badge." Those words, sir, paint a picture.
  • Wjtinfwb "If I had asked idiot traitors what they wanted, they would have said faster horses".... What they wanted, vs. what they'll actually pay for are clearly two different things. It's not hard to want the vision of EV's the Biden admin sold everyone; inexpensive, fast charging with long-range, charging on every corner, minimal impact on the environment. The government delivered none of that. They threw automakers under the bus at the last minute after many of them made huge investment in tech, plants, R&D. Then Biden and his hapless bunch just walked away, built no charging stations, no support for natural resources and doubled down by stoking the labor fires increasing automakers costs substantially. EV's are absurdly expensive for the utility they provide and time is demonstrating their resale value to be in par with a 80's GM diesel wearing a Yugo badge. Sorry, it's not the consumers job to make a fairy tale come true. Making and selling cars is extraordinarily capital intensive, the automakers aren't throwing good money after bad betting on a senile old man who has delivered on none of his promises and is rapidly making himself irrelevant in the national conversation.
  • Fred As a British Car Fan I liked them, but then I sat in one and changed my mind. I like the unique looks of the newer ones.
  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
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