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Is Mazda’s CX-30 The Brand’s Best Two-Row SUV For Drivers?

Mazda now has three similarly-sized two-row crossover SUVs. We make the case that the CX-30 is the best of the trio.

Mazda is adding new models to suit the growing demand for two-row SUVs in America. Presently, the brand has three, the CX-30, CX-50, and CX-5. Technically, four if you count the California-only MX-30 battery-electric vehicle. The three CX-family crossovers all have a very similar interior, the same powertrain options, and all have a few minor differences in their design.

Related Story: Mazda CX-30 Crossover- Is It Big Enough?

The CX-5 is the largest of the three, if you consider interior capacities. Surprised? The CX-50 looks bigger in images, but it isn't larger where it counts. The CX-5 is also the top-seller of the brand’s vehicles, and not by a little. The CX-5 is the anchor model for Mazda i the U.S.

Mazda SUV size comparison chart by John Goreham

We like all three of the CX-family two-row crossovers. For full disclosure, you should know that the author has a CX-5 in his family’s fleet. However, based on having tested all three, it is the CX-30 that always surprises us.

The CX-30 feels roomy from the driver’s perspective. Yes, it is down a bit on total cargo volume, and the rear seating area is a bit smaller than the CX-5 and CX-50, but from the perspective of the person behind the wheel, it actually feels the biggest. That is because the driver’s right knee has more room in the CX-30 than in the CX-50 or CX-5. Strange, right?

The CX-30 also feels the sportiest. It has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the CX-5 and the same track of 65.5 inches. On back country roads, the pecking order is CX-30, CX-5, and CX-50, in terms of which is the most satisfying to drive. This is a subjective opinion, obviously, but one held by many who know the Mazda line best.

Take Jonathan Sewell. He’s the General Manager and Automotive Problem Solver at Mitchell Mazda. Jonathan recently posted up a video explaining why he feels the CX-30 is so special. He thinks it “could replace the CX-5” for those with a family of five. During his time with the CX-30, he and his six-foot son sat up front, with three children in the back, and “He didn't hear any complaints” concerning space. That is impressive for any compact crossover.

The CX-30, CX-5, and CX-50 all earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick + designation, and all three offer class-leading power. All three of Mazda’s two-row crossovers are outstanding. If you are considering a Mazda, take time to evaluate which is right for your needs.

Image courtesy of Mazda.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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paul holterhaus (not verified)    November 16, 2022 - 9:55AM

I own a new CX30 and it's effectively a one row....2 People car........Cannot put 4 six footers in this car.......OK for Me as I live alone, But I would feel for any 6 footer trying to get in the rear seat.........I would trade for the new CX50 except that I want My next car to be electric.........Maybe an Equinox or Honda Prologue..........Paul

paul holterhaus (not verified)    November 16, 2022 - 9:59AM

I'm guessing You've never tried to put 6 footers in the rear.......Don't waste Your time trying.......They won't fit...........I live alone, so mine is sorta fine.......But I would never try putting 4 six footers in the car............Paul