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Hatchbacks are becoming a fading class more than ever as the desire for crossovers continue to take over the automotive industry. We are one for the hatchback fight, but when it came to the latest innovation of the Mazda 3, our love for its soulful advent quickly drew a brutal close when we lost that emotional connection that Mazda has always gained from its drivers. Not all hope is lost however, with their new Mazda CX-30 – sadly yes, it’s a crossover, but where the hatchback lacked, this little crossover gains.

Behind its heartthrob exterior shell lies similar attributes of the Mazda 3 hatchback that we previously loathed. But there is something oh-so-different about this, and it’s not just the extra lift in its crossover carriage. With similar design traits following the trends of the stimulating hatchback, the CX-30 is quite the attractive looker. LED lighting is standard all-around and something rather unique, the odd pulsating LED indicator light simulates a throbbing heartbeat.

Sitting in a rather bizarre stage between the smaller CX-3 crossover and CX-5, the CX-30’s competitors falls more line with the Nissan Rogue Sport, Toyota C-HR and the all-new new Kia Seltos. Pricing for an entry level model starts at $21,900 and by offering all-wheel drive at $1400, it already has a leg up over the front-wheel drive only, Toyota. Its so-so performance foregoes a turbocharged option for the old-school naturally aspirated ways of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine – identical as the Mazda 3 sedan/hatch. Utilizing 186-horsepower and equivalent figure for torque, power application is adequately middling. Leaving its performance traits to the simplicity of a six-speed automatic transmission over some of its competitors, dare we say CVT, the CX-30 doesn’t struggle too aggressively with its gearing. Achieving 60-mph in roughly 7.5-seconds isn’t going to boost an adrenaline rush, but it’s enough to achieve what needs to be accomplished.

Following the Mazda 3’s charisma, the CX-30 is a joyful experience behind the wheel. Handling functions are acquitted to its nicely tuned steering that provides an enjoyable symmetry impression. Known for its chassis refinement, there is a hearty pleasantness to its sporty characteristics while maintaining a comfortable state. Unfortunately, its fuel consumption was not quite as amusing – our city life routine was a little too coarse since we merely averaged just over 25-mpg combined. Our fuel economy also played havoc on the small fuel tank – all-wheel drive equipped models get a smaller, 12.7-gallon tank that achieves a range of just under 250-miles.

Feeling much more relaxed in its surroundings – the interior isn’t as snug as the hatchback and there is proper space to freely move about considering it’s not that much different dimensionally. Even the back seat is more occupiable – granted, while an adult can fit tolerably comfortably, it is still more of a child’s comfort zone. Pop open the trunk and there’s enough room for your average grocery run; however, when it comes time to fold the 60/40 split seats, we discovered the seats don’t fold completely flat leaving an odd hump to overcome should something need to slide in.

Mimicking the interior design of the Mazda 3 way’s, its first-class setting within our top trimmed $29,600 Premium Package excels beyond any of its competitors. The leather on the dash with contrasting trim elements exudes an upscale atmosphere. The leather trimmed seats here also feature a perforated red accent that adds a different element.

Setting new heights for sub-compact crossovers, the technology found behind this cute-ute face is immense. Incorporating all the latest standard safety, the CX-30 features Smart Brake Support, Lane-Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go and High Beam Control. The top-trimmed Premium Package also features the use of blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic detection. With most of the vehicle’s controls being centered around a large 8.8-inch infotainment center, user functionality is acceptable. Being controlled through the center console dial knob, it can be distracting and difficult at times to use. Featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, some of its user-ability gets a little more friendly.

Despite being a lifted version of the Mazda 3 Hatchback, the CX-30 manages to fill in the blanks that the hatchback left empty. Satisfying both the driving balance and fundamentals of functionality, the CX-30 is what the hatch could have been.


Model: 2020 MAZDA CX-30
Base Price: $21,900
Trim Level Starting Price: $29,600
As Tested: $30,900


Horsepower/Torque: 186-HORSEPOWER / 186 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 25-CITY / 32-HWY / 27-COMBINED
Fuel Range: 250 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±7.5 SECONDS



  1. Seems there aren’t many gaps left to fill these days. A crossover of every size, shape, and configuration seems to be hitting the sales floors each year. This one strikes me as a pretty good bang for the buck at $30k.

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