Mazda had elected to make all future CX SUVs default to all-wheel drive, rather than front-wheel drive, as it continues to shift its products upmarket. However, the announcement was curiously hidden within the marketing materials for the refreshed CX-5, rather than being allowed to stand on its own.
From the 2022 model year onward, all Mazda products carrying the CX designation will come equipped from the factory with i-Activ all-wheel drive. For now, this pertains exclusively to the U.S. market and will undoubtedly result in vehicles carrying a higher price tag. AWD typically requires shoppers to tack another $1,500 (give or take) onto the MSRP and we doubt Mazda will be giving away the extra parts for free.
On Friday, Mazda officially confirmed it will be discontinuing its 6 sedan and CX-3 crossover for the United States after the 2021 model year. But we don’t want you to get too bent out of shape over this prematurely. Mazda is plotting to evolve its lineup with new engines (including inline-sixes) and rear-drive-dominant architectures designed to deliver the desirable dynamics the brand is known for.
We might end up seeing the sedan returning to our shores before anyone has had a chance to miss it, though perhaps under a different name.
In our last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at three subcompact American CUVs competing at the $25,000 price point. Most of you seemed to agree they were all terrible, but the Trax edged out the Buy in the comments.
Let’s see how you feel about the Japanese competition.
The not-quite-subcompact CX-30 arrived at just the right time for Mazda, appearing at the tail end of what had been a grim 2019 for Mazda. Just as sales of the new tweener crossover matured, the pandemic hit.
As volumes struggle to regain potency across the industry, the new arrival in the Mazda stable helped the automaker post back-to-back monthly sales increase in June and July, replacing volume lost among the brand’s passenger cars — and then some.
June auto sales in the hard-hit U.S. new vehicle market were nowhere near normal for this time of the year, down an estimated 25 percent below levels seen last June. An improvement from May, yes, but far from a return to normal.
Unless, of course, you’re Mazda.
The pandemic-era trend we detailed not long ago continued in June for the scrappy little automaker, with an unlikely product proving unusually popular and a much newer product doing exactly what its creators intended.
Mazda's U.S. Sales Situation Finally Starts Coming Together, in the Middle of a Pandemic? And Because of the Miata?
Month after month, as the Mazda product lineup improves and as plaudits pour in, we chronicle the company’s tragic dearth of U.S. sales success. The automaker’s goals for performance in the American marketplace are modest: a good 2 percent market share, for example. Yet generating meaningful demand for deserving products – the second-generation CX-9 and the new-for-2019 Mazda 3, as examples – has proven remarkably challenging.
At least it was remarkably challenging, until a pandemic battered and bruised the U.S. auto market beyond all recognition. U.S. auto sales in the first quarter of 2020 tumbled by more than 12 percent, yet Mazda sales during the same period were off by just 4 percent. Mazda market share ticked up to 1.9 percent in Q1.
But it was Mazda’s May 2020 performance, in which the brand’s sales in the United States dropped by fewer than 300 units, that Mazda appeared downright hopeful. You won’t be surprised to learn the market fared much, much worse.
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.”
There are many things difficult to fathom in the automotive industry, with the story of Carlos Ghosn exiting Japan in a musical instrument case being but one of them. Another is Mazda’s seemingly perpetual streak of diminutive (compared to other brands) sales numbers. When someone asks your author for a recommendation, be it compact car or crossover, the zoom-zoom brand is invariably on the list. They’ve also been enjoying success in endurance racing, taking a podium at this year’s Daytona soirée. Go figure.
But I digress. The mystifyingly named CX-30, apparently picking up an errant “0” on its way to America, is fresh off the boat for 2020. Does it stack up in terms of feature content like other offerings in the showroom?
Keen observers of the new car market have taken note of the proliferation of compact and subcompact crossovers, with new models shoved into niches seemingly too small to fit yet another jacked-up hatchback. Where once there might have been but a single model, today there are four or more edging more traditional cars off the showroom floor.
Mazda is no different. The CX-5 and CX-9 have won accolades as the driver’s choice among the myriad indifferent blobs clogging the lanes of every interstate and supermarket, while the subcompact CX-3 has proven to be a decent entry choice. But much like that one person behind you in the left lane who is determined to win the race to the exit half a mile ahead, Mazda is wedging its shield-shaped grille into any gap it can find.
Thus, the 2020 Mazda CX-30. Logically, this would be the CX-4, but a different vehicle exists in other markets (China, mostly) using that badge – and since so many consumers cross-shop dealerships between Beijing and Bay City, it pays to minimize badge confusion.
Where does the CX-30 fit on the Mazda lot? And does it fit in your garage?
This week has been all about tweeners. Chevy has one, Buick has one, Kia has one, and now Mazda has one, ready to fill white space between the subcompact CX-3 crossover and compact CX-5 crossover. It’s name, as you know, is CX-30, and it’s bound for a Mexican assembly plant in short order.
While we’ve seen the overseas model before, Mazda took the opportunity to use the LA Auto Show as a backdrop for the model’s U.S. reveal. Don’t worry about power in this thing.
Mazda’s Salamanca plant is adding the CX-30 to its production line, ensuring its cars-and-crossovers strategy launches as planned. With the Mexican facility already manufacturing the Mazda3, it’s not a shock to see the compact added to the factory lineup as the pair utilize the same platform. In fact, Salamanca is already undergoing retooling to make sure it can incorporate the CX-30 and there were swirling rumors that the company’s official factory announcement would happen sometime this month.
While no formal announcement has been made, the company confirmed the move with Automotive News on Wednesday. Miguel Barbeyto, president of Mazda Mexico, said the facility had been selected partially due to the CX-30’s role as a global product. Mexico has free-trade agreements with numerous nations that Mazda believes will help it efficiently distribute Mexican-made product throughout Europe and North/South America.
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.
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