First Drive: Small, Seductive 2020 Mazda CX-30 SUV

A luxurious cabin and refined driving experience separate this SUV from the crowd

2020 Mazda CX-30 Mazda

The all-new Mazda CX-30 SUV fills the gap between the subcompact CX-3 and compact CX-5 SUVs. It is based on the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback but gives buyers a taller roof height and a more elevated driving position. The CX-30 continues Mazda’s recent push to build vehicles that have a more premium feel than competitors have.

Prices for the CX-30 span from $21,900 for the base front-wheel-drive model up to $29,600 for a well-equipped Premium with all-wheel drive, before a $1,045 destination charge. All four trims can be configured with front- or all-wheel drive, and all versions come with a 186-hp, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. CX-30 competitors include the Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue Sport, and Subaru Crosstrek, as well as the upcoming Kia Seltos.

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CR purchased and tested our own CX-30. That’s when we’ll put it through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.

But before we bought and tested our own, we rented a CX-30 from Mazda to learn a little more about this new SUV.

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Update: Since this first drive was originally published in December 2019, we finished testing the CX-30.

See the complete Mazda CX-30 road test.

What we rented: 2020 Mazda CX-30 Premium AWD
Powertrain: 186-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $29,600
Options: None
Destination fee: $1,045
Total cost: $30,645

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