Competes with: Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue Sport
Looks like: A bigger Mazda CX-3 SUV with Mazda3-flavored styling
Drivetrain: Europe gets a diesel along with the 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G and new-design 2.0-liter SkyActiv-X, both with mild-hybrid assist; U.S. powertrains TBD
Hits dealerships: U.S. arrival and model year TBD
The world may not need another SUV, but Mazda did. There is much to like (I do) about its current CX-3, but its 2+2-size backseat and tiny cargo space confine it to a stylish-but-small niche of the hot subcompact SUV market. Enter the all-new CX-30, with coupelike SUV styling and tech influenced by the elegant new Mazda3 sedan but a footprint closer to the popular Honda HR-V and Nissan Rogue Sport SUVs.
Related: More 2019 Geneva Auto Show Coverage
In the Mazda lineup, the CX-30 splits the difference in size between the CX-3 subcompact and CX-5 compact SUV. The newest Mazda had its world debut in European spec in Geneva today, and we expect to hear more details on the U.S. version in April at the 2019 New York International Auto Show.
The CX-30’s design shows off the updated Kodo styling theme rolled out in November with the debut of the redesigned Mazda3 compact sedan, with which the CX-30 shares a lot, at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s a looker that makes competition such as the HR-V and Rogue Sport look down-market and invites comparison (I’m sure Mazda, with its premium aspirations, hopes) to such luxury coupe SUVs as the BMW X2.
Slim LED headlights stretch away from the big and low Mazda-style grille for the trademark wing look. A clean bumper is devoid of extra decoration or phony vents so common these days. The low and wide look of the front end stretches into a rising beltline. The low roofline slopes into a narrowed and similarly clean rear end with slim taillights and curved sculpting. Like the Mazda3, the minimalist emphasis is on the shapes and not extraneous on trim.
The CX-3 proves that size matters even in a subcompact SUV. We won’t be sure until we get into one, but the bigger CX-30 looks to deliver more livable passenger space — Mazda emphasizes a more spacious backseat — and the specs reveal an increase in cargo space to about 15.2 cubic feet.
The interior of the show model appears to pick up the upscale trimmings of the new Mazda Signature top trims. The flowing, wraparound lines, snug feel and driver-centric horizontal dashboard is stylish and mixes multiple colors in a way that looks like a premium SUV. Upholstery is leather, leatherette or cloth.
The driver focus continues with the instruments and new 8.8-inch dash-top multimedia and control display from the Mazda3, angled toward the driver position. Operation of the screen continues to be with Mazda’s console-mounted knob-and-button controller. A 12-speaker Bose audio system is available.
Under the Hood
U.S. powertrains were not immediately announced. Europeans will get a diesel option and two gasoline engines — the conventional 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine that features cylinder deactivation, and the new SkyActiv-X engine that will appear first in the U.S. in the new Mazda3. The innovative SkyActiv-X combines compression ignition (as in a diesel engine) with spark control that combines diesel-like torque with gas-engine response. In Europe, both engines will include Mazda’s fuel-saving mild-hybrid system.
Horsepower and torque ratings for the powertrains were not announced. All are mated to a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Like the Mazda3, the CX-30 will use a simpler, semi-independent torsion-beam rear suspension rather than an independent multilink setup. Available will be Mazda’s torque-vectoring i-Activ full-time all-wheel drive, supplemented by a vectoring control system, introduced on the Mazda3, that uses selective brake inputs to aid handling.
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Available safety features include automatic emergency braking, a front cross-traffic alert, an infrared driver attention monitor and full-speed adaptive cruise control with steering assistance. What will be standard or optional in the U.S. was not immediately announced. New is a knee airbag for the driver’s seat that Mazda says will be standard worldwide.
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