Mazda CX-30 vs. CX-3 vs. CX-5: Which One Is Your Favorite?

In case you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in the land of crossovers lately, then allow us to tell you about a brand new Mazda model that’s being positioned right between the small CX-3 and the compact CX-5.

It’s called CX-30, and it was recently unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Like its two siblings, the CX-30 also features the automaker’s Kodo elegant and sporty design language. But is it the best looking one of the bunch? Let’s discuss.

A complete trio

Visually, we can describe the CX-30 in multiple ways. For instance, we can say that it’s a smaller CX-5 with a lower roof line, or that it’s a bigger CX-3 with a longer bonnet and a more linear shoulder line and you’d be close either way. We can also call it a more rugged Mazda3, although it features a traditional C-pillar design, unlike the brand’s latest compact hatchback.

As for the rear end, all three are instantly recognizable as Mazda crossovers. The CX-30’s taillights are very similar to those found on the Mazda3, despite the different graphics.

In any case, it seems fair to say that the CX-30 looks more sporty than the CX-5 and more elegant than the fussier CX-3, which makes sense for a middle child-like product, albeit one that was born last – weird analogy but one that has always made sense for the car industry.

A more stylish interior

According to Mazda, the CX-30’s cabin features “relaxed and user-friendly packaging,” to go with sufficient room for four adults and good visibility outside. It definitely seems like a more capable product than the new Mazda3, judging by its 430 liter (15.1 cu.ft) trunk, as opposed to the 3’s 295 liters (10.4 cu.ft). As for how it compares with the CX-3 (350 liters / 12.3 cu.ft) and CX-5 (477 liters / 16.8 cu.ft) as far as trunk volume is concerned, it’s actually closer to the latter than the former.

Now, while we can’t speak on cabin quality, we can tell you that the design of the CX-30’s dashboard is differentiated. The way the door panels blend into the dash reminds us of how Jaguar does things. Then there’s the freestanding 8.8-inch infotainment system, which you can control via a rotary dial on the center console, the new steering wheel (same as on the new Mazda3), different climate control system and more soft touch surfaces than on the CX-3.

Spoiled for choice

You can easily make a case for why the world doesn’t really need a crossover like the CX-30 when a) Mazda already has the basic segments covered and b) on paper, it doesn’t differentiate itself enough from the other two models to truly justify its existence. On the other hand, you can’t argue with the market’s voracious appetite for crossovers and SUVs of all sizes and styles, so perhaps we just have to see what consumers think about it.


  • William

    It would probably be most helpful to see them parked next to each other to note the size differences.

  • Brian Regan

    Definitely the CX-5. It very well could have been the CX-30 but all that plastic ruins it for me.

  • Matthijs

    I don’t need the space in the back so for me the gorgeous CX-3. The CX-5 looks a bit obese, I prefer the previous generation. CX-30 looks good and with a great interior but all that cladding is too much

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  • performante

    I’m not going to lie. Before this article, I thought they were all the same vehicle.

    • Tom

      ..hmm, I think you need new glasses 😉

  • DM

    As a CX-5 owner I can say it is a wonderful car. I like the CX-30’s interior but I don’t care for its exterior design. The CX-3 is very handsome, I hope the redesigned model keeps the same proportions and overall looks, but its interior needs a desperate overhaul.

    • EM1

      I currently drive a CX-5 (2018) as well and find it to be an all-around good car. The motor needs a little bit of a boost, otherwise fit and finish are perhaps the best in the industry from that price point. I really do like the improvements on the 2019 CX-3 but wish the dash had more style to it. Since the CX-30 is between those two, I would need to sit in it and feel it out. But at the same time the Mazda3 hatch with AWD, is another option.

      • DM

        Yeah you can’t really beat te CX-5’s interior on that price point. Looks expensive and it’s very solid. Now if only Mazda made a new Mazdaspeed 3…

  • Bash

    I love the interior of the CX-30 but the cladding on the outside is like a little too much. It’s good but as if the designers didn’t know when to stop. But I like it’s front end as well. I hope they tone down that cladding a little bit in the next facelift.

  • LJ

    I’ll take the CX-5 with the 30’s interior.

  • Jason Panamera

    I’d take CX-4.



  • TheBelltower

    They all look very similar, so I have no idea. But I will say that Mazda makes the best designed SUVs of any mainstream brand. Hands down.

  • Giziclown

    Altough CX-30 has stupid name and too much plastic on its sides, I would take that one.

  • ctk4949

    My mom didnt like the CX-3, it was too small. So she ended up getting a 2019 CX-5 Signature. Not sure if she would have gotten the CX-30. That black cladding is terrible. Hope maybe they can upgrade the infotainment to the newer version.

  • designer_dick

    If you could graft the CX-30’s rear end and interior onto the CX-5, you’d have the perfect looking Mazda SUV.

  • carusotrap

    I’ve got a CX-5 coming off lease in Dec 19, and I REALLY want the CX-30 if it’s in the US by then.

  • Alx

    I dislike the cladding too… yet, it is the high cladding and slimmer metal panels that make the design more sporty and dynamic compared to other two. just look at the rear 3/4 view.

    they should just replace the plastic cladding with metal bodywork in tonal or black metallic paint. let’s face it, it won’t be driven off road.

  • alexxx


  • alexxx

    Cx3 is best designed for me…cx30 then cx5…

  • CX5 exterior, CX30 interior for me.

  • no25

    No CX-4 in this comparison? Makes more sense than the CX-5. Also the CX-5 needs a bigger screen. Man, that thing is tiny.

  • Ary Wisesa

    I like the CX-30, it’s the most stylish of the bunch. Too bad its plastic cladding is too big it almost ruined the beautiful exterior. I hope Mazda could fix it in the next facelift. Otherwise, I guess I will settle with the CX-5. CX-3 is simply too small and too expensive (for its size) for me.

  • KRogers86

    The cladding on the CX-30 ruins the overall look for me. I’ve heard that the reasoning for using copious cladding was to make smaller wheels look properly proportioned with the rest of the vehicle. To that, I’d rather have larger wheels with somewhat harsher ride quality over excessive black plastic cladding that will lighten with UV exposure over several years.

    My ideal combination would be the CX-5 exterior with the CX-30 interior. I wish photos of the 2019 CX-5 were used in this comparison…I was never a fan of the “pizza slice” wheels on the 2018 models, and I’m glad they got rid of them with the 2019 model.

  • Bonni Gari Leksmana

    That’s ridiculous, surely I’ll take them all…

  • Jo Bo

    None. I dislike SUV:s, and especially Mazda’s. They look old.

  • Jake

    CX5 all day every day

  • Wandering_Spirit

    All of them are fairly nice, but i’d go for CX3 and 30, leave the other

  • Toronado_II

    CX-30, but there is a lot of plastic…

  • Dennis Scipio

    Is the CX-30 based off the New Mazda 3 platform?, it looks like it Interior wise.

    • David Wilson


  • tony a.

    I always liked the look of the CX-3, but a dealbreaker would be the no optional , more powerful 2.5 engine and the fact many owners wish it had more useable back seat/rear leg room for occasional times they needed the space . Also , the top line GT trim price (about $30,000 or more in Canada) probably gets you into A lower trim new CX-5. So i would say i would most likely go for the CX-3 as apparently it addresses that rear seat leg room issue, more cargo space , AWD option, has the 2.5L optional engine , has better instrument cluster. Only thing i’d prefer are the CX-3’s HAV control rotary knobs rather then the small push buttons in the CX-30.

  • wonderdallas

    The irony is the CX-30 has the sportiest body… rear hatch has a nice slant to it and the (best-of-the-bunch) tail lights sit right out on the end of the wedge profile….but the excessive cladding makes the wheels look tiny. It’s a true design faux pas. Maybe in person our eyes will register the contours of the cladding better and they won’t look like giant wheel wells.

    The headlights seem to tuck into the body as they move towards the grill…which will probably look a bit more menacing than the CX-5’s but the CX-5’s overall front has a bit more of a shark-nose effect. So the front is a tie.

    The rear is where the CX-30 shines. Despite having more of an obvious bumper than the CX-5, the wider tail lights are just what the doctor ordered. The CX-5 needs them now because, it’s been my only nit to pick on the rear of the 5 (the too narrow rear lights), the back feels too devoid of tension….too blob-like. Still, the CX-5 is the best looking suv in it’s class.

    Otherwise, I like the styling of the CX-30’s interior best.

    The CX-3, IMHO, is nice but lacks the more menacing details the newer Mazda’s have adopted.

    Here’s a quick chop I did of cutting the CX-30’s cladding down.

    • Edums

      It gives a monster truck kind of look. It makes more evident that it is a lifted Mazda 3 hatchback. Look at the C-pillar, where they make it look less thick replacing part of it with a fixed window. I think I like it more than the other models because I prefer hatchbacks to CUVs

  • wonderdallas

    I mean..damn those are pretty lights! Alfa Romeo style on a Honda budget.

  • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

    1. CX-5
    2. CX-30
    3. CX-3

    I honestly love the looks of all three, with the CX-5 being my favorite. The CX-3 is too small though for me.

  • SteersUright

    cx-30 is beautiful and should replace the cx3 here in the usa.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I was thinking it could be the CX-4 in the US. Limited run, comes one way, colors in and out are the only options.

  • bicepeak

    Where did you find this black one?

  • Shobin Drogan

    Ill take the Mazda 6 thanks

  • Marek Andrzejak

    Neither. Would be XC-4½ 🙂

  • Alduin

    Every single Mazda looks the same theres hardly any distinction between the models.

  • Yishay

    Ridiculous beyond words. What a waste of a brand.

    • Giziclown

      What is not a waste brand?

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