This week at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Mazda revealed that a brand new crossover, the CX-30, will be joining their SUV lineup. Despite the deceiving moniker, this crossover will slot in between the subcompact CX-3 and the compact CX-5 (the more intuitive 'CX-4' badge was already taken). Based on the new Mazda3, the CX-30 should reach the U.S. sometime next year and Mazda has revealed early details about the styling, engine options, and cargo space. The CX-30 will be marketed as a more flexible option for small families, singles and empty nesters, but is it a necessary addition or will it simply cannibalize sales of the other two crossovers? Here's what we know so far.
The design of the CX-30 uses Mazda's KODO (soul of motion) design language to blend the "flowing beauty of a coupe and the bold toughness of an SUV." KODO aims to use traditional Japanese esthetics to introduce a design that is on the same level as fine art. The exterior styling of the CX-30 fits right into the current crossover lineup, but the CX-30 was developed with an entirely new design that stands out.
The black plastic cladding at the bottom of the vehicle is much more prominent than in the CX-3 and the CX-5. This gives the CX-30 the toughness factor and reflects the vehicle's sportiness. The cladding also creates an optical illusion of sorts, reducing the visual height of the vehicle and making it look slender and sleek.
As a size comparison, the CX-30 is 173 inches long compared to the CX-5's 179.1 inches and the CX-3's 168.3 inches. The "just right" sizing offers more passenger and cargo space without sacrificing the agility of a compact SUV for city driving and parking.
The CX-30 will accommodate up to 5-passengers comfortably which has been a pain point for us when we've tested the subcompact Mazda CX-3. The interior of the Mazda CX-30 will offer a spacious cabin for drivers, passengers, and cargo along with style elements that complement the exterior.
Considering that the legroom in the back row of the Mazda CX-3 is mediocre at best. the extra length of the CX-30 along with a higher roof height will tailor to those looking for an adult-sized backseat. For the driver and front passenger, there is generous space between the front seats allowing for a wide armrest and center console.
In addition to an ideal amount of space for driver and passengers, Mazda also focused on creating a comfortable and style-forward cabin with premium materials like genuine leather and extensive sounds-proofing to offer a quiet ride.
For cargo space, the CX-30 will likely fall closer to the CX-3 that the CX-5. While no specifics dimensions have been revealed for the U.S. model, Mazda's European model specs have the cargo space at 15.18 cubic feet with all the seats up. The 2019 CX-3 offers 12.4 cubic feet while the CX-5 has the most at 30.9 cubic feet.
Powertrain and Tech
The CX-30's engine options for the U.S. have not yet been disclosed, but will likely follow the European model in getting Mazda's SkyActive engine lineup including the Skyactiv-G 2.0 4-cylinder engine and the Skyactiv-X with Mazda’s M Hybrid system for improved fuel economy. The available transmission will include a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with front-wheel drive or Mazda's new I-active AWD.
Mazda will offer a driver monitoring system with an infrared camera to detect if the driver's eyes are open, how often they are blinking and the angle of their mouth to monitor the level of fatigue. If the system determines that the driver has reached a dangerous level of fatigue, the system will sound an alert. Mazda also enlarges the infotainment screen with an available 8.8-inch compared to a 7-inch screen in the CX-3 and the CX-5.
While on paper, it might sound like the space for another crossover in Mazda's lineup is sparse and the CX-30 will be a tight squeeze, it is very well positioned to fill a gap in the crossover segment. With excellent KODO styling on the exterior and a comfortable, driver-focused cabin, the CX-30 should draw in a whole new segment of customers. Those that previously had to compromise, choosing between too much space and not enough.