It’s safe to say by now that Mazda has found an excellent formula for crossovers. Vehicles like the CX-5 and the CX-9 look and feel more premium than their competitors and provide more driving engagement, while still coming in at an affordable price point. Mazda’s latest addition to that impressive stable is the CX-30, which just went on sale.
The CX-30 resides in the newest hot segment, the smaller-but-not-quite-subcompact crossover. In Mazda’s crossover lineup, it slots in between the subcompact CX-3 and the compact CX-5. (Mazda already sells a CX-4 in China, which is how we get CX-30.) Consider it Mazda’s answer to suddenly hot-selling vehicles like the Jeep Compass.
It’s effectively a lifted and cladded crossover version of the very well-regarded Mazda 3. It has the same perky (for the segment) 2.5-liter, 186-horsepower engine. It also gets a solid six-speed automatic transmission instead of the dreary segment-standard CVT or the brutal nine-speed from the Compass. A bit sportier than the larger CX-5 and a bit more practical than the smaller CX-3 may be just right. (Reviewers thus far have loved the CX-30, for what it’s worth, with some calling it a Porsche Macan on a budget.)
Mazda says it targeted millennial singles and young families with this car, offering it a price point those that are saddled with paying off student loans can afford. The CX-30 starts at just $21,900 in front-wheel-drive form, while the Premium Package version with all-wheel-drive still comes in under $30,000.
Sure, Mazda already had this car more or less with the Mazda 3 hatchback, which you could get in Premium Package AWD form for $28,900 — or, if so inclined, in FWD with a six-speed manual for $27,500. But the CX-30 is likely to be more popular with people who don’t write about cars for a living.