With the announcement that Mazda will stop selling their mid-size 6 sedan later this year, the number of vehicles in their showroom without any consonants in its model name drops to one – the little (but popular) Mazda 3. This development got us thinking about their next-to-smallest crossover.
Breaking with Mazda naming traditions, this rig is called the CX-30 and shows up for Base Camp duty in GX trim with a sticker price of $24,700. At this sum, it is powered by a 2.0-litre four banger making 155 horsepower and a roughly like amount of torque. This should all sound familiar to buyers of the aforementioned 3, as does the six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Opting to have power sent to all four corners is a $1,500 proposition and, unless you live in an area of the country where all-wheel drive is truly necessary, that’s money better spent on a stout set of winter tires.
Mazda’s design house has a propensity for churning out sharp-looking machines, and the CX-30 is no different. LED headlights peer forward with a sharp-eyed gaze, while 16-inch alloy wheels in a dark grey metallic finish look anything but entry-level. There are turn signals on the side mirrors, colour-keyed door handles, and a natty rear roof spoiler to amp-up visual interest. It also helps that Mazda elects to offer its base models with interesting paint selections, including the no-charge Deep Crystal Blue Mica shown here.
The same can be said for the CX-30’s attractive interior, one which draws from the same parts bin as other, more expensive Mazda vehicles. It’s a good example of how parts-sharing can be a good thing if those parts are well-designed and of high quality. An 8.8-inch infotainment screen stands atop the dash like a tablet, packed with Bluetooth and smartphone integration. It is vexing that Mazda chooses not to include satellite radio functionality until much higher up the food chain. At least there is push-button start, plenty of power outlets, and heated front seats.
What We’d Choose
A primary draw of stepping to the next rung on a CX-30 ladder is the larger engine found in the GS model. Displacing 2.5-litre and making 186 horsepower (with a similar increase in torque), this mill suits the CX-30 much better. Its $3,000 price hike will make a noticeable different in one’s payment but it’s worth noting the GS comes with other goodies like dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, and tinted glass.
For those reasons, your author recommends the GS trim if it’s in budget, especially if you’re looking at the difference between an all-wheel drive GX and a front-drive GS. There are a suitable number of added creature comforts – plus the all-important extra power – to make the jump.