• An all-new small crossover SUV
  • Set in size right between the Mazda CX-3 and compact Mazda CX-5
  • Lots of style and a sense of elegance
  • Coming in the next 18 months as a 2020 or 2021 model
  • Won't be built in the U.S.

 

From a center-stage auto show stand strategically purchased to floorspace next to Rolls-Royce and McLaren, as well as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Mazda introduced the all-new CX-30 crossover SUV to the world (and specifically to Europe) at the Geneva Auto Show. The Japanese brand has its heart set on moving things over to the premium side of the street, so the neighborhood matters.

Slotting right in between the company's compact bestseller, the Mazda CX-5 SUV, and its subcompact CX-3, this new tweener has the looks to win every beauty contest it enters. It's also got the dimensions to convince buyers who find the CX-3 too small for their city-based needs and the CX-5 too big that small can still be functionally beautiful.

From the outside, the new CX-30 is almost five inches longer than the CX-3 and a few inches wider, but the two are exactly the same height, so the CX-30 gets low-profile bonus points in the styling department, and it's got a half-inch more ground clearance. But does it look good in Soul Red Crystal? Of course it does.

Where that extra length translates inside the CX-30 is not completely clear as the cargo area is nearly as small as the CX-3's, and while the second row can now fit three adults in decent compact comfort, they won't be lounging.

Your driver, on the other hand, gets to be king. The interior brings a good name back to simple elegance, and all the controls and readouts are focused on getting the pilot's attention. Narrow A and C pillars, and a slightly elevated seating position contribute to outward vision and inner peace. And if the seats and materials that the U.S. market gets come from the same shopping trip as the European CX-30 on display at the auto show, we can look forward to some very comfortable driving.

That goes double if the new sound-deadening work that Mazda boasted about in their press conference isolates the compact/subcompact's cabin from the calamity of the outside world – which would be a huge plus for the small-SUV class.

Also: Check out the latest news from the Geneva Motor Show

While U.S. specs and equipment levels have yet to be finalized – heck, Mazda isn't even sure if the CX-30 is coming as a 2020 or 2021 model – the European version we saw in Geneva was available with front-drive and i-Activ all-wheel-drive versions, automatic and manual transmissions, and boasted both gasoline and diesel variants, including Skyactiv-X and M-Hybrid technologies designed to save some fuel and smooth out the whole driving experience. Mazda execs bandied about 180 horsepower as the gas-powered figure, and they'll happily discuss the possibility of a brighter diesel future for the company.

The company hasn't missed the small-vehicle trend toward enhanced safety, either, making cross-traffic warnings and fatigue-assistance technologies available, depending on the market. Again, no word on what we'll get in the States. For passive safety advances, the new CX-30 adds a driver's knee airbag, and front-end materials and design to lessen the damage done to a pedestrian's leg's and head if the worst case scenario happens.

Here's one quick conclusion: If a current-gen Mazda3 feels exactly right but rides too low, and you've been sniffing around for an SUV, you might want to wait around for a year or so and see what your heart says about the new Mazda CX-30.

Can't wait for the Mazda CX-30? You can get a Mazda3 or Mazda CX-5 right now!

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