By on February 12, 2020

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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26 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Mazda CX-30...”

  • avatar

    Mazda is really nice in its base trims. Unlike Hyundai. But with MT gone, for me personally it does little anymore

  • avatar

    I was in Greece last week and had a rental car. Stick shift Seat Ibiza with a diesel. A real pleasure to drive. Infinitely more relaxing and satisfying to drive than the horribly indecisive, erratic, bipolar automatics foisted on Americans. I was sorry to turn it in.

  • avatar

    While the base trim is ok for the CX-30, the lack of optional powertrains does limit the appeal at the top end. There is talk of the 2.5T being offered in upcoming years, but really Mazda needs a more exciting engine in between, like a smaller displacement turbo that they seem to shun. Skyactiv-X promised much, but so far has not made its appearance stateside, but should be optimized for more power and brought here to liven this model up from its sublime powertrain.

  • avatar

    I think this car will quickly become Mazda’s second-best seller, after the CX-5. It fixes a few things that seem “off” about the 3 (including the styling of the hatchback).

    I think Mazda had the 3 right on target in the 14-18 generation, and got a little off target for 2019. I hope the next generation can get it back on the mark.

    • 0 avatar

      I think, Mazda had ‘3 really on target in 10-13. I see more of those than all the rest together.

      And I agree. This thing will sell. I wonder, will it take any bite out of Crosstrek? Because in reality, this is a “Better Crosstrek”.

      Now, if they do this same treatment to ‘6, I think, they will rock the market [to a degree].

  • avatar

    A two or three year old well-conditioned used vehicle would do wonders to forget this horrific product exists. And that used vehicle will be significantly less expensive to buy. You can use the money you save to give you an aire of upsale as your money sits in the bank instead of feeding the foolish Mazduh Motor Company.

    • 0 avatar

      In fact, two or three year old cars are so great, I don’t know why the OEM’s just don’t make those instead of new cars.

    • 0 avatar

      When I see how people abuse their leased cars, I just go and buy new. But I would buy 5yo car from a private owner in rural area

    • 0 avatar

      Quoting cprescott: “A two or three year old well-conditioned used vehicle … will be significantly less expensive to buy. You can use the money you save to give you an aire of upsale as your money sits in the bank …”

      If only that were true. Used vehicles 2-3 years old are about 20% to 40% cheaper than new vehicles. But 20% to 40% of their lifespan is already used up. Also, used vehicles don’t usually get year-end incentives. The interest rates at present are low enough that the additional purchase price doesn’t cost too much in interest.

      I find that buying used is only slightly less expensive than buying new, but it introduces much more risk. A family on a tight budget may be best served by getting the cheapest new car that has seatbelts for everyone. You know what the payment will be every month, and the warranty covers repairs.

      • 0 avatar

        Last time we bought a car we looked at new and used. The 2 year old car with 28k miles was 90% of the price of a similarly equipped new car. We bought new since it was a color instead of gray, white or black and we tend to hold on to them a while. The two cars before that were used. One got rear ended and totaled, the other we had for years with a 2.7l V6. When it got to 167k miles on it one or more of the rods started knocking. That was traded on the new car.

        • 0 avatar

          Anyone paying 90% for 28K miles is a fool. Or has stupid bad credit.

          Everything has a sweet spot, there’s exceptions to every rule, and yeah in some cases, you’re forced to buy it new, like big rebates on a base model, especially when base models are rarely found in the wild, not tore up.

          • 0 avatar

            “Anyone paying 90% for 28K miles is a fool. Or has stupid bad credit.”

            Any bank that will loan you 90% of “new” will also loan you for “new”.

            Take a 30,000 dollar car – if you can borrow 27k then you can borrow 30k and get the full warranty from zero miles.

            It’s not like we’re talking about borrowing 10 Grand vs borrowing 65 Grand…

          • 0 avatar

            MiataIsAlwaysTheAnswer, isn’t it also true that the $30k vehicle might end up cheaper in the long run due to more favorable interest rates? I vaguely recall an article several months ago where the author discusses that going used isn’t always the cheapest option for a given vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        You never get more than you pay for. It’s true for used cars. Yes, they cost less, but you get less, too.

        If used cars gave you more than you paid for, sellers would catch on and demand more $$$ because they’d still be a better value than new.

        Of course, there are the diamonds in the rough that are priced too low, that are priced low because of a factor you don’t care about, etc. But they are the exception, meaning it takes time/effort to find them. And that time/effort has its own cost which is why the rule holds.

        • 0 avatar


          Absolutely correct, and people forget there are plenty of hidden gems in new car buying as well.

          Used cars are fairly priced for what they are, just like new cars. It’s the same as Applebees vs a nice restaurant. Sure you can pay less if you want. You just won’t be getting as good a product.

          • 0 avatar

            “Used cars are fairly priced for what they are, just like new cars.”

            Sir, did you just come out of hibernation from 15 year rest?

  • avatar

    Go ahead and Google “Mazda CX-4”. You will find plenty of content on the Chinese only market vehicle. That would not change had Mazda named this new vehicle the CX-4, so the new naming convention was used to avoid enormous amounts of confusion. What they should have done many years ago was use a different naming convention for the vehicle exclusive to the China market, but that ship sailed, so CX-30 it shall be.

  • avatar

    Per the confusing name – they should simply rename the cx3 as the cx2, since it’s based on the Mazda 2. Then name the cx30 the cx3 since it’s based on the Mazda 3. Then they can have the cx4 in China without any confusion.

  • avatar

    Wow this might be a record for the fastest “ace of base” re-run ever.

    I love me some Mazda too but damn.

  • avatar

    Two things: 1) when the CX-5 goes off lease I might look at one. 2) satellite radio is still a thing?

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