The 2020 Mazda CX-30 fixes what’s wrong with the CX-3—without screwing up what’s right

At the same time, Mazda has made a genuine effort to make the CX-30 not only comfortable to drive, but even a little fun, at least by the standards of crossover utility vehicles. One doesn’t shop for CUVs with sportyish handling in mind. But you can at least have a little more fun driving one of these than driving almost anything else in the class.
The heart of the CX-30 is the tried-and-true four-cylinder normally aspirated 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine. Mazda says the engine’s 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque lead the class, as Mazda defines the class, anyway. It’s the same engine found in the Mazda3, CX-5, and Mazda6, among others. So you can assume they’ve gotten any bugs out of it. The engine comes mated to Mazda’s Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic.
You can get your CX-30 in front- or all-wheel drive. The AWD option gets Mazda’s new “Off-Road Traction Assist” feature, which helps in those awkward situations where diagonally opposed wheels are off the ground by applying the brakes to the wheels in the air so the wheels on the ground get torque, and off you go. “Off-Road Traction Assist” also changes the AWD torque split so it runs much higher rear torque below 15 mph.
“Our traction-control strategy is different than most,” said Mazda’s minister of fun-driving engineering Dave Coleman. “Most systems aim to simply stop the spinning tires. Our goal is different. We assume if the wheels are spinning, drivers want to accelerate. So we maximize acceleration. We change our traction control strategy to put the torque where it needs to go side-to-side.”
G-Vectoring Control Plus helps out around paved corners when all four wheels are on the ground. It helps turn-in by shifting weight to the front tires (through minute reduction of engine torque as you turn the wheel) and helps the car straighten out at higher g as you return to center by applying a touch of brake torque to the outside front tire only.