The short story is as the automobile market continues to shift towards crossovers and sport utilities, Mazda created the CX-30 to meet a need. That’s what they told us. But the small crossover also fills out the automaker’s crossover lineup, giving it a full-size, mid-size and now small crossover.
Its Kodo 2 design which means soul in motion was started 10 years ago. Mazda said the CX-30 is the second model to adopt the latest evolution of its Kodo design, a more mature interpretation of their design ethos, flowing shoulders over the wheels, a long snout and short rump and a winged grille dominating the front end.
Mazda’s winged grille was sharper and deeper. It was meant to be suggestive of forward motion. The bottom line was that the front-end look was cleaner, simpler and smoother. The design did suggest forward motion which is what the automaker wanted. The diagonal angle of the rear window gave the CX-30 a coupe-like silhouette, especially looking at it from the rear and the narrowed arch shape of the liftgate made the body look shorter and wider.
What they were after was a vehicle with the sleek cut of a coupe and the bold style of a sport utility. We think they achieved that, but the crossover looked a little taller than a coupe. The Mazda CX-30 was designed in Europe with black cladding all round to separate the top two thirds from the bottom.
Mazda has a minimalist design philosophy. Its vehicles have a simple but flowing look. The same was true for the 2020 CX-30. Now on sale, consumers have a choice of nine colors.
The CX-30 had curving lines over the fenders, a hallmark of Mazda design. The rear was wider and the lift-over was lower for easy access. We were able to easily put three roller bags in the cargo area, that was with the rear seats deployed, for the drive to Palm Springs from where we departed for home.
All trim lines of Mazda’s newest crossover are equipped with a 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine. The powerplant made 186 horsepower and it delivered a matching 186 pound-feet of torque to the pavement through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Mazda said the compact crossover was equipped with a new off-road traction assist feature, which can potentially help the driver when adventuring on uneven terrain. When the diagonal wheels lose traction, off-road traction assist will stop reducing the engine torque and increase the brake force on the wheels without traction. This transfers power to the wheels still on the ground to help allow the vehicle to regain traction and continue the drive. G-Vectoring Control Plus and front-wheel drive are standard, but we had the all-wheel drive which is available on all trim levels.
We never went off road or even onto gravel. The local roads here climb through the mountains as we headed Northeast to Palm Springs; they were two lanes, tight turns and not nearly as smooth as Interstate highways. But they were a good test of the Mazda CX-30’s maneuverability, power on inclines and the suspension. The crossover passed all three with relative ease.