Ace of Base: 2020 Mazda CX-30

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2020 mazda cx 30

At first blush, the confusingly-named 2020 Mazda CX-30 might seem to be simply a CX-3 appended with an errant naught. They do, after all, appear similar now that Mazda has adopted Audi’s different-lengths-of-sausage styling credo. Fortunately for us, the look is a good one.

About 4 inches of length, 40 horses of power, and about 400 pounds of weight separate the CX-30 from the CX-3 (makes it easy to remember, eh? Maybe they shoulda called this the CX-4). As always, the Ace of Base meter is primarily concerned with the entry level model, simply called the “CX-30.”

Priced at $21,900, the cheapest CX-30 is $400 more than the little 3 sedan and about a $3,000 walk down from the larger CX-5. It’s a front-wheel drive affair at this price, of course, with power to all four wheels coming with a $1,400 surcharge (and, yes, you can get AWD on the cheapest trim).

Under the hood is a 2.5-liter inline four making 186 horsepower and a like amount of torque. This compares favorably to the four pot in its little brother, which is down half a liter of displacement. Neither is available with a manual transmission anymore.

Economies of scale are particularly evident at small car companies, as they often elect to put similar basic equipment in all the trims of a particular model rather than develop, say, a new infotainment cluster just for the cheapest trim. This benefits the Ace of Base shopper in the market for a CX-30, as they’ll be treated to a large 8.8-inch center display, 8-speaker audio system, and a brace of USB audio inputs. Satellite radio doesn’t appear until the $26,200 Preferred trim, however.

Lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control with stop & go capability are on board for similar reasons. LED headlights, DRLs, and combo taillamps pepper the exterior and look good doing so. Body-colored folding side mirrors won’t give away your cheapskate buying decision, either. The natty Soul Red paint that’s shown in all the ads isn’t available on this base car, so we’ll opt for this Deep Crystal Blue Mica.

There is usually a lot to recommend in a Mazda — and it’s no different with the CX-30. Attractive styling, good dynamics, and a raft of standard equipment. They just should have called it the CX-4.

[Images: Mazda]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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4 of 26 comments
  • Bob65688581 "Give me liberty or give me death." Lots of societal choices can be phrased this way. I remember the same debate when seat belts were introduced. We went too far with seat belts - the horrible mice! We used interlocks to ensure compliance. ... ... and then we came back to a reasonable balance. So we have several options: - We can do nothing. Innocent people will continue to die. We will be passive accomplices of those deaths. Our freedom! - We can go overboard, creating more problems than we solve. We're good at this. - We can find solutions that are effective and livable. I vote for doing nothing because FREEDOM...
  • Bob65688581 "Three-row off-road" is an absurdity.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The hideaway headlamps on these and other Ford vehicles of the era could have issues mostly vacuum related. Usually the vacuum hoses that ran to the actuators would deteriorate. The “coffee can” reservoir which was mounted in the front header was rarely an issue because it was protected from the elements. The other coffee can reservoir used for the HVAC controls and actuators and mounted under the passenger side wheel well had a tendency to rot away. I once replaced one on my 70 Mustang when I noticed that the vents were acting janky. Later model Fords like Fox bodies used a durable plastic globe shaped one. The radio on these 69-70 full-size Fords mounted on the left side of the aircraft style instrument cluster within the drivers touch probably disappointed many young people. “Mom will you change the station?” “Andy Williams is so square”.
  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.