In early March, current auto news headlines were split divisively, largely fixated on the overstimulating high-end reveals of the Geneva Auto Show or the continuing woes of domestic automakers. But while the latter does nothing to generate excitement, and the former is largely unrelatable to the common consumer, there were a few unveilings that split the difference proving both invigorating and accessible. And Mazda’s unveiling of their 2020 Mazda CX-30 might just be a perfect example.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a sneak peek straight from Geneva:
I’ve never made any secret of having been blindsided in recent years by a burgeoning respect I’ve felt obligated to bestow upon Mazda for delivering what I consider to be some of the best offerings out there. And prime among that belief has been the CX series of crossovers (which might just be the only representatives of that particular segment that I actually like). And if anyone were going to lay claim to such (subjectively important) distinction, it would be Mazda.
And to address (what we consider to be) the most inventive assessment of the CX-30 – by www.thedrive.com – “no, it isn’t 10 CX-3s daisy-chained together”.
Riding the KODO
Mazda, in my opinion, hasn’t missed a step, a beat or a trick since adapting the KODO ‘Soul of Motion’ design philosophy and combining it with the Skyactiv vehicle architecture. The goal, as you may already know, was to create a sense of motion, even at a standstill. It means channeling the naturalistic form and function of the elements, both intangible and unseen to the human eye. The flow of water, the motion of the wind, the curvature of the earth beneath our feet.
And while that may be a little too touchy-feeling and poetic for some, the simple truth is that Mazda was in many ways successful. There is a sense of continuity in the flowing lines and near-seamless appearance of each of their current offerings. And even more so, that same sense of continuity is present in their lineup as a whole. In other words, the DNA is strong. Each model feels like a fluid expansion of the model that’s positioned before it, while never feeling redundant, unoriginal, or possessive of its own unique identity.
And the newest of this string of successful offerings is undoubtedly the (curiously monikered) CX-30, a new compact crossover offering for the 2020 model year that sits between the CX-3 and CX-5 within the lineup. Originally speculated to be called the CX-4, one can only assume that its badging represents an upcoming shift in naming strategy for the lineup, but only time will tell. Until then, here’s what we know about the CX-30.
Meeting the Mazda CX-30
Like any Mazda unveiling in recent years, the unveiled CX-30 was a vision in red (Soul Red, to be exact). This is an important distinction to make because Akihiro Hosono’s brilliant creation does an amazing job of adding impact, complimenting the design as a whole. As Mazda’s Color Designer, Hosono once said, “in our minds, red was the only color that could express Mazda’s strong passion and dedication to the creation of cars.” But the deep, pearlescent tones of Soul Red are powerful, yielding a similar effect to the oft-lamented “Lady in Re” who stands out from the rest of the crowd.
Above we had mentioned KODO, but this feels like a more mature version of it. Creating an almost high-end look, Mazda’s program manager Naohito Saga states,” Mazda wants drivers—and their passengers—to truly enjoy the many ways in which owning a car can enrich your lifestyle. We designed the Mazda CX-30 to help customers make stimulating new discoveries within their daily routine and share them with the people they love.”
If you watched the link above, you understand the manner in which Soul Red coloring complimented the new offering which sits on a 104.5-inch wheelbase and measures 173-inches overall. Sleek and articulately sculpted, the CX-30 features a fast-rear hatch profile and dark plastic cladding visible on the lower parts of the body and wheel arches. While that has met with some criticisms, it provides a powerful distinction from the larger CX-5.
And while discussion of powertrain configuration and power ratings is all but non-existent, expect the CX-30 to be equipped with a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter I4 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. In this sense, there’s not much difference from the CX-3 that precedes it, but 186 hp feels suitable for the CX-30’s build. While front-wheel drive will come standard, the option of all-wheel drive helps to add to the vehicle’s versatility while the G-Vectoring Control plus will enable it for more sporty driving conditions.
According to Mazda, the design and execution of its interior plays to the idea of a fully immersive cabin experience. This means extensive sound insulation to minimize the distraction of wind, road and engine noise. There is also the inclusion of either an 8-12 speaker sound system and Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of driver aids. This means such features as adaptive cruise control, automatic forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. All in all, it’s indicative of a clear decision to leave be what doesn’t need fixing, and focus on offering a new take on what is already a strongly valued proposition.
Otherwise, the vibe of the CX-30’s cabin is (once again) reminiscent of the CX-3’s which (once again) is not a bad thing. Slightly more accommodating in terms of passenger space, it also boasts 15 cubic feet of cargo space, a modest increase over the CX-3’s diminutive 12 cubic feet.
“The design had to embody the joy of owning something that matches your sensibilities,” claims Saga. “The cabin had to be spacious enough to share good times with family and friends. And finally, vehicle performance had to be excellent, offering comfort and peace of mind so drivers and passengers can relax and enjoy the ride.”
Like the automotive equivalent of Marie Kondo propaganda, Mazda seems to be following a “spark joy” mentality here and we applaud them for it. Frankly, we would have been disappointed if all the momentum of Mazda’s progress was suddenly thrown out the window, and the CX-30’s diminishes any concern of that happening. I for one, don’t mind at all.