By on March 5, 2019

Image: Mazda

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.

Image: Mazda

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.

Image: Mazda

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.

Image: Mazda

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.

Image: Mazda

[Images: Mazda]

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45 Comments on “Mazda CX-3 Too Small? Try the CX-30 on for Size...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This is actually quite a good looking crossover, but please, Mazda, if you bring it to N America give it the turbo

  • avatar
    a5ehren

    How do the dimensions compare to the new Mazda 3 hatch?

    If this were VW, I think this would just be the Mazda 3 Allroad…jack it up a few inches and add some hideous cladding. A weird misstep, but I bet they sell a ton of them.

    I was hoping for a CX-7, personally. to go up against the Passport/Edge size class.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Mazda is the bumblebee-flight phenomenon of industry sales.

    Everything I read about their sacrificing comfort for handling makes me expect cushy-appliance-seeking buyers like me to avoid them in hordes.

    Yet I keep seeing the damn things all over the place.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Jatz I’ve had 2 rental CX5s recently, and they are absolutely Germanic in how cushy and solid they are over the road, much more so than the surprisingly crashy suspension of my in law’s 2013 Rav4 Limited. Speaking of which, it now has a broken center console lid latch in addition to the glovebox latch that broke last year. Unrecognizable as a Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        @gtem – Maybe if your in-laws had a 2013 Mazda, they would also have broken the latches. :D

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        “how cushy and solid they are over the road”

        Those are high worship words to me. I must test drive at least one Mazda.

        Thanks

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          My first rental was through NYC in the rain in diminishing daylight driving from JFK, the CX5 managed the un-dodged potholes with aplomb, I was impressed. The only rental car in recent memory that did even better (truly my modern-car standard for smothering bad roads) was a Kia Optima LX-FE on 205/65R16 tires.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            The CX5 would be my sweet spot in their lineup. They’re pricey but I’d pay for some serious cush to battle our frost-heaved, chunked-out pavement perdition.

            Never thought I’d be going to a Mazda dealer in search of cush. o_O

            If only your gold-standard Kia weren’t a sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Might be worth trying a base model Sorento then, the LX has nice fat tires and can be fairly easily found equipped with heated cloth seats and AWD with low miles in the $17k range. If I had to replace my wife’s Camry with something tomorrow (she drives on terrible roads at odd hours), that would be a top pick. I had a rental Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and that rode very well, I think(?) the two are platform mates. And these days, for a high quality high value car, I’m looking towards Korea.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “I’d pay for some serious cush to battle our frost-heaved, chunked-out pavement perdition.”

            OMG, overnight a hwy I take to a jobsite frequently has become almost unbearable to drive, maybe I’ll look into a CX5 when the turbo becomes available

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Of course, other constraints aside, for the ultimate in durability AND cushiness, the all time champ in my book is a GX470 set to “comfort” mode. Pure land yacht cruising. I was likewise impressed with a recent Tacoma TRD Offroad rental, perhaps not as plush over smaller imperfections as a unibody sedan, but over big stuff it felt indestructible and unperturbed, and that is “comforting” in its own right, same would apply to most any modern half ton/midsize pickup on a reasonable sidewall I’d imagine.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I hope they can turn Mazda6 into Mazda6 Outback. More cladding please. That would probably sell nicely

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Dear Mazda:

    Give this thing a decent engine. Please.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That’s a nice car, with a goofy name. They should have gone ahead with CX-4, even though it wouldn’t be the same CX-4 that China has. CX-35 would have also sufficed, as it would have indicated this as a step between the CX-3 and CX-5.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Good call. Selling a CX-3 and CX-30 is going to be confusing. Also is it going to be the three oh or the thirty? Three oh sounds like a version of the 3 which sort of makes sense. Calling it the thirty makes it sound like its ten times something (bigger?) then the three. Wacky Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Why not just call it what it is already – Mazda3CX

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Driver monitoring system? Like Subaru’s? God, I hope that’s not standard.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Know what they need? the CX-300. It will bridge the gap between the CX-30 and the CX-5.

    And then when that is released they can do the CX-3000 that bridges the gap between the CX-300 and the CX-5.

    This stinks of BMW and their “GT” series cars. or the X1 + X2….who can really tell the difference here? Splitting hairs. Can’t imagine there are many customers that think the CX-5 is just too big if they find the CX-3 too small.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “This stinks of BMW and their “GT” series cars. or the X1 + X2….who can really tell the difference here? Splitting hairs. Can’t imagine there are many customers that think the CX-5 is just too big if they find the CX-3 too small.”

      As for the BMW SUV line, the even-numbered cars are sleeker variants of their preceding odd-numbered counterparts. The X2 is a sleeker X1, the X4 is an X3 with a coupe roofline, the X6 is a coupe-like X5, etc.

      Easy: the BMW GT cars tend to be raised, on a longer wheelbase, are liftback-shaped (and thus have higher rooflines and rear hatches instead of trunks), and come exclusively with AWD. In other words: the GT cars are half-steps between a sedan and a crossover, and the most practical variants in their respective size classes. For instance, the 6 Series GT is a lot more usable than the 5 Series or the 6 Series Gran Coupe. Likewise, the 3 Series GT is the most practical of the 3/4 Series cars, including the 4 Series Gran Coupe that also employs a rear hatch.

      To your point about Mazda: I agree that there’s not a whole lot of room between the CX-3 and CX-5 to stick in another product. Both drive excellently, but are among the smallest and most-cramped vehicles in their classes.

    • 0 avatar
      vehic1

      Jerome10: Exactly, +1.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    It would appear that the CX-30 will replace the CX-3 in the US, hence the name connection.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “Mazda claims the placement of everything (A-pillar to armrests to switchgear) was optimized for comfort and tranquility.”

    –As if the last Mazda was designed to do the opposite. Marketing copy always cracks me up.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “This car will piss you off. We guarantee it!”

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      “Marketing copy always cracks me up.”

      When reading the sales flyer for a tractor I was looking at it was exciting to find it had a “strategically placed” cup holder. In the same vein as the “tactical” flashlight in the door bin of the truck.

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        egse,

        I got a chuckle out of your cup holder comment.

        We were going to put the cup holder next to the fuel filter, but then we decided to come up with a strategy to put it where the operator might actually be able to use it. Strategically placed. lol

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Shouldve called it the CX-130 Hercules.

    I dont hate CUVs, but I am getting tired of the many redundant models like this one. Mitsubishi, VW, Jeep, and Subaru are guilty too. We dont need 3-4 similar CUVs with similar pricing with the same guts underneath.

  • avatar
    gtem

    The CX5 is already on the smaller side of the compact class in terms of interior room, the CX3 strikes me as a silly clown car, needless to say I don’t see the purpose of this tweener, then again I’m sure they will sell.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’ve seen the CX-4 in China, and as far as crossovers go, it’s pretty sharp. I’m surprised they would go to the expense of designing and building this entirely new vehicle, instead of just bringing the CX-4 over. Makes me wonder if the CX-4 is flawed in a way that it could not be brought into compliance with 1st-world crash standards.

  • avatar
    Gabe Iacoboni

    The question is just how many SUV’s will companies make now. It is getting to be a bit much. I could see this replacing the CX-3 in the near future and eventually being produced in the new plant in Alabama. As long as gas prices stay low companies have an incentive to produce somewhat larger vehicles.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Aha. So this is how Mazda will make the Mazda3 CAFE-proof. Put AWD on it and it’s suddenly a light truck.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    If this is indeed released in 2020, and if offered with AWD and a manual as the article suggests, I might just have to take a look.

    I’m still a good bit away from my lease being up, but I have started looking for something with AWD and a manual. This winter has been pretty garbage in my 6, but I’ve yet to find anything compelling. Went into a VW dealership a while ago and the sales lady kept showing me pictures of CVT equipped Mitsubishis (the VW dealer also owns a Mitsubishi dealer) after I specifically said I’m not interested in a Mitsubishi or a CVT.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    The wheelbase of the CX-30 is within 1″ of the Toyota CH-R. Might they ultimately share a platform and run down the same assembly line at the future Alabama plant?

  • avatar
    mechimike

    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.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    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.


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