2020 Mazda CX-30

Reviews

The CX-30 costs about as much as many of its competitors, but Mazda doesn’t offer similar equipment as other small crossovers. 

Base CX-30s cost $22,495 and include an 8.8-inch infotainment display, 16-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, and active safety features that we cover above. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available on base cars despite sharing the same screen as the rest of the lineup, which has us mixed—more on that later. 

Starting from an average score, the CX-30 gets a point above for its screen size but loses one for skipping smartphone software that competitors make standard on all cars. It’s a 5 for features. 

The CX-30 is offered in base, Select, Prefered, and Premium. All-wheel drive is optional on all trims and costs $2,000. 

One step above the base models are CX-30 Selects that offer more equipment—although not necessarily better value. The CX-30 Select adds better-looking 18-inch wheels, smartphone software for infotainment, blind-spot monitors, synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, and rear climate vents. Front-drive CX-30 Selects cost $24,945, including destination. 

That’s the right equipment—although synthetic leather may be too much—but the price is high compared to the rest of the class. Heated seats aren’t available on the Select version, which furrows our brows and raises our fists in consternation. Mazda bundles that feature in yet another higher trim level with premium audio and exterior trim accents that costs $3,000 more than the Select model, and yeah we’ve given in too. 

All-in, the CX-30 costs more than $30,000 with all-wheel drive, which may be missing the point for a subcompact crossover that’s not from Germany. Mazda’s equipment keeps pace with leather upholstery, a power liftgate, head-up display, paddle shifters, and roof rails—but also the same 8.8-inch display and controller. 

About that controller: Mazda’s point that drivers shouldn’t be fidgeting with a touchscreen is well-founded—distracted driving in our cars is less welcome than our in-laws. But Mazda’s infotainment system is still run entirely through a clickwheel controller and can take frustratingly long to learn. Hopelessly addicted to your smartphone and want your car to act like your phone? Skip it. Running Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a clickwheel stinks. 

Our advice? Plug the phone into the 2.1-amp USB plug in the center console and forget about it. Take the time to program shortcuts into the hot keys on the controller, and live with the native Mazda system programmed for the clickwheel. 

No, it doesn’t look like your phone. No, it’s not ideal. Yes, it’s safer that way. 

We hope more people—including Mazda—get the message: distracted driving is dumb. But not offering a touchscreen may drive more people to distraction than intended.

Review continues below

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