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In October, Popular Mechanics gave out its Automotive Excellence Awards for 2020 in a number of different categories. A few trends it calls out across many of the vehicles are practicality, capability, and premium features at affordable prices. To come up with the list, Popular Mechanics drove lots of vehicles under various road conditions.

It also looked at data and ratings from other reviewers when possible. The award categories cover everything from cars and trucks to engine development and user-interface tech. The 2020 Mazda CX-30 won as crossover of the year. Here’s a look at what this crossover has to offer.

Impressive powertrain and handling in a small package

Popular Mechanics points out that it loves that the 2020 Mazda CX-30 delivers “dependability, smart engineering, and a great value.” This crossover was new for the 2020 model year and is between the CX-3 and CX-5 in size.

It has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. That’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Its fuel efficiency is rated at an estimated 27 MPG combined, with 25 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway.

The CX-30 also has “responsive, crisp handling.” While its drive isn’t quite as great as the Mazda CX-3, it is a taller vehicle with more ground clearance.

The current engine doesn’t have the fastest acceleration, going from zero to 60 MPH in 8.6 seconds. However, buyers who are able to wait until the end of 2020 or early 2021 will be able to pick a new turbocharged engine producing 250 hp.

Luxury in the 2020 Mazda CX-30

A Mazda CX-30 on display at an auto show
A Mazda CX-30 compact crossover SUV on display | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Motor Trend shares the same positive view of the 2020 Mazda CX-30 as Popular Mechanics. It says the CX-30 continues Mazda’s “tradition of delivering premium interiors in vehicles that are moderately priced.”

The exterior and interior of the 2020 CX-30 feature luxury touches that give the CX-30 a higher-priced feel. The exterior has a refined look, according to Popular Mechanics, and high-quality paint with “deep, radiant colors.”

The interior sports great materials, including leather and chrome, in noticeable locations like the seat, steering wheel, and door. It also has leather wrapped around the gearshift. The interior design, and especially the dash, is “strikingly simple but upscale,” according to Motor Trend.

The seats come in cloth, leatherette, or leather, depending on which trim is selected. The CX-30 seats five, but three people in the rear seat would be tight. Its cargo space is about average for the class.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has plenty of technology and safety features

Popular Mechanics also likes the technology that appears in the 2020 CX-30. The crossover has a high-quality sound system, and a rotary dial makes using the infotainment system easy. An 8.8-inch screen is standard. Because it’s controlled with the rotary dial, it isn’t a touchscreen, which Mazda says are distracting for drivers.

The screen is also positioned high in the dash for easy visibility while driving. Not all trim levels, though, include compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also a 7.0-inch digital gauge display. The top trim level comes with a power liftgate, a head-up display, plus a moonroof.

The CX-30 also comes standard with lots of safety features, which often cost extra on competitors. It features forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic high-beam headlights, plus a driver monitoring system. The crossover was also named an IIHS 2020 Top Safety Pick.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has a starting price of $21,900. The CX-30 does a great job of combining a luxurious feel with an affordable price.


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