Crossover & Midsize

There’s Only 1 Reason to Buy the 2020 Chevy Trailblazer Over the Mazda CX-30

The 2020 Chevy Trailblazer and Mazda CX-30 prove the car universe has not suffered from the 2020 chaos. For a fair comparison of the two, the test is between the Mazda CX-30 Premium package with AWD, while the slightly more expensive Chevy comes packing the top-ranking RS spec with AWD. The takeaway is that CX-30 has many strong points, so it only leaves one reason why you should buy the Chevy Trailblazer, according to MotorTrend.

An overview of the two vehicles

While both are based on cars and are similarly fitted with adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay, and blind-spot monitoring, that’s where the similarities end. The $1,000 price difference might suggest very little difference, but once you open the doors, the two come as close as rail tracks. 

Behind the wheel, the Mazda CX-30 is more fun to ride. No surprises since it packs a 2.5-liter engine generating 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, compared to the tiny 1.3-liter, three-cylinder engine under the Chevy Trailblazer’s hood. Credit to GM, though, they somehow managed to wring 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque from it. As expected, the Chevy Trailblazer only manages 9.3 seconds in the 0-60 mph sprint, compared to 8.3 seconds on the Mazda. 

The Chevy Trailblazer draws some of its interior materials from the Camaro and Blazer. Those parts are fine; the rest are picked from the GM parts bin, and that’s not good since they look and feel cheap. The result is plenty of plastics everywhere compared to the CX-30, which draws its interior from the Mazda3, a much nicer place to be. The good thing about GM is the infotainment. It has a rock-solid tech that the Mazda can’t hope to match with its scroll-wheel-everything approach to navigation and no touch input. 

The Mazda CX-30 – domination 

Overall, the Mazda leads in all the important sections; for instance, its interior oozes class with leather seats and dash. The Chevy’s answer is a plastic dash and cloth-lined seats. On the road, the Mazda is marginally faster, although its indecisive gearbox lets it down. The Chevy lets out plenty of growls, but there’s not much power on tap. It does not give you the confidence it will monster uphill overtakes. 

RELATED: The 2020 Mazda CX-30 Truly Impressed Popular Mechanics

Additionally, the Chevy Trailblazer has lifeless steering and an overeager rack that re-centers at the wrong time, pulling you off your line. It allows plenty of road noise to seep into the cabin, and the ride comfort is nothing to write home about; passengers have to contend with noise and vibration. Worst of all is the blind spot; it’s so huge, the Mazda is invisible sat behind the non-existent rear quarter window.

So, the Mazda CX-30 is faster, cheaper, more fun to drive, more comfortable … the list goes on. If this were a boxing match, the ref would have stopped it long ago. It sounds like a total knockout, right?

The Chevy Trailblazer: the one redeeming feature 

Not exactly. Even though the Mazda CX-30 has the Chevy Trailblazer beat on most other aspects, the Chevy has space on its side. It’s impressive how much space GM has managed to milk out of the Trailblazer. The Chevy Trailblazer will comfortably sit anyone above 6 feet in the rear seats. If anything, it will take two six-footers in the front and rear seats with space to spare. Since the CX-30 shares the same footprint as the Mazda3, above-average sized rear passengers will find it a tight fit. 

RELATED: The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer Is the Only New SUV You Can Get for Under $20k

As for cargo space, the Chevy holds on to its lead with 25.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear bench, compared to only 20.2 on the Mazda. When you fold the bench down, the Mazda manages a measly 45.2 cubic feet. The Chevy Trailblazer’s 54.4 cubic feet of space is one reason it’s the fastest-selling compact SUV.