Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. Chevy Trailblazer — a Dominating Victory

The all-new Chevy Trailblazer is back, but don’t expect the truck-based SUV you’ve become accustomed to seeing. The new Trailblazer is more in line with a small crossover, like the Mazda CX-30.

Both of these vehicles are CUVs (crossover utility vehicles), built on a unibody car chassis as opposed to a truck body and frame.

Similarly priced, both compact SUVs have class-leading features. But when comparing the two side-by-side, the Mazda CX-30 destroys the competition.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has the feel of the Mazda 3 but isn’t as spacious as other CUVs in its class. Larger adults will feel cramped in the rear seats, and cargo-carrying capacity maxes out at 45.2 cubic feet.

The interior is impressive. The use of high-quality leather makes riding in the CX-30 comfortable for the driver and four passengers. Good insulating qualities keep sound to a minimum in this quiet ride.

With a starting price of $21,900, the Mazda CX-30 gets 25/33 mpg and offers stellar performance and handling. The excellent build quality helps rank the CX-30 third in subcompact SUVs by Motor Trend, which gives the vehicle an overall score of 7.7 out of 10.

The 2020 Chevy Trailblazer

For those looking for space, the Mazda CX-30 can’t beat the 2020 Chevy Trailblazer. It offers 25.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. And with the seats folded down, the Trailblazer boasts 54.4 cubic feet of cavernous cargo space.

There’s also plenty of room for passengers, with the rear bench providing class-leading headroom and legroom for adult riders. Where it falls short is the lack of a rear quarter window. It creates a horrendous blind spot that makes driving difficult.

The lackluster interior disappoints with hard plastic throughout. It feels “cheap but not cheerful,” Motor Trend noted. “Even during relaxed driving, it seemingly assaults its occupants with unnecessary noise and vibration.”

Under the hood of the Trailblazer sits an unimpressive 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine that puts out a dull 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. It’ll take close to 10 seconds to get to 60 mph.

The pitiful performance is thanks to an unresponsive gas pedal, lousy throttle response, and lack of precision handling. Steering capabilities are almost nonexistent, and keeping the car in the center of the lane isn’t easy.

Head-to-head matchup

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These compact SUVs are very similar, with both models offering standard features such as Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring. With less than a $1,000 price difference, the Trailblazer offers 10 cubic feet more of cargo-carrying capacity than the Mazda CX-30.

Where the Mazda CX-30 stands out is in its quality interior. The cheap vinyl seating in the Trailblazer can’t hold a candle to the leather in the Mazda. The dashboard, seats, and steering wheel wrapped in soft leather exude luxury, unlike any competitor.

Not only is the Mazda CX-30 more comfortable to ride in, but it also outperforms the Trailblazer in driving performance. The 2.5-liter I-4 engine generates 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, leaving the Chevy in its dust.

Motor Trend reported that the 2021 Mazda CX-30 “is getting a turbo and a major power bump for next year, which will widen the gap further.” As far as the Trailblazer goes, “Even though the Chevy’s transmission shows more initiative, its engine is so breathless and powerless that it makes driving a real chore.” Motor Trend continued with its dislike of the Trailblazer, adding that it “drives with all the precision of a pool noodle.” Ouch.

After testing both vehicles, Motor Trend made it clear the Mazda CX-30 dominates the Chevy Trailblazer in the head-to-head matchup: “It’s more comfortable on rough tarmac, more luxurious inside, better from behind the wheel, and last but not least, it’s still less expensive than the Chevy.”