As promised, Mazda threw the sheets off its mystery vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show, revealing a small crossover that’s not too small.
The brand’s CX-3 often earns gripes for its diminutive size and limited interior volume, not to mention its middling ground clearance, but until today there was nothing to bridge the gap between CX-3 and the automaker’s wildly popular CX-5 (unless you live in China, which has exclusive access to the CX-4). With its new CX-30, Mazda enters the middle ground between compact and subcompact.
Bound for Europe this summer and other markets in the near future (the U.S. will see this model, Mazda says), the CX-30 dons Skyactiv architecture, a new take on the brand’s KODO design language, and a whole lot of body cladding.
European engine choices include a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder with cylinder deactivation and 1.8-liter diesel, as well as the innovative new Skyactiv-X four-cylinder — a Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) engine that sprays and burns fuel in a decidedly different way than conventional internal combustion engines. Both gasoline engines will be mated to Mazdas’ M Hybrid mild hybrid system for further fuel economy gains. Two six-speed transmissions, an automatic and manual, manage the CX-30’s power.
While the automaker is known for being finicky, a statement from CX-30 program manager Naohito Saga reveals an obsessive desire to make the new crossover right-sized. A vehicle that can attract the most amount of new customers to the brand.
So, how big is this thing? The CX-30 is 4.7 inches longer than a CX-3, and 1.2 inches wider. Importantly, ground clearance is up by 0.6 inches, with the CX-30 rising above terra firma by 6.8 inches. Not Subaru Crosstrek territory, for sure, but it does split the difference between the CX-3 and CX-5. Rear cargo volume, including the underfloor cubby, is 15.2 cubic feet.
Inside, Mazda claims the placement of everything (A-pillar to armrests to switchgear) was optimized for comfort and tranquility. Careful attention was paid to noise and vibration levels, Mazda claims, referring to the model’s ambiance as “high-quality quietness.” We’ll have to wait to see how the supposedly right-sized crossover handles large American frames. The interior dons a semi-premium look, as per Mazda’s new mandate, and all CX-30s receive an 8.8-inch center display.
For customers living in wintery climes (or those who want to put that 6.8 inches of clearance to the test), Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system adopts G-Vectoring Control for sharper performance. Meanwhile, a suite of safety features includes a driver monitoring system — something you still won’t find in a Tesla.
Mazda hasn’t said when North American customers can expect the CX-30, but no later than early 2020 would be a very cautious guess.