Mazda 3 vs Mazda CX-30: Which one should you choose?

Image of James Kelly
Author: | Updated: 25 Mar 2024 15:07

Mazda is a manufacturer that focuses on creating high-quality products that stand out from the crowd. Not only do they aim to offer a more premium feel than many key rivals, but they also offer a fantastic driving experience too.

Take the Mazda 3 hatchback. A sharp-looking front end and the jewel-like rear make it one of the best-looking compact family cars around. With a range of efficient Skyactiv drivetrains and a capable chassis, it also happens to be one of the most engaging to drive, too.

Mazda 3 vs CX-30 lead

But these days lots of people want a little more than a hatchback. The crossover craze continues to dominate the new car world, and Mazda’s answer to this comes in the neatly-shaped form of the CX-30. It’s similarly sized to the 3, but gets that lifted look that gives it more presence.

Having had the pleasure of driving both recently, we’ve taken a deep dive to try and help you work out which of the pair would work best for you if you’re looking to lease.

Mazda 3 rear detail

Styling and size

If you appreciate distinctive styling, the 3 might be for you. Up front those sharp headlights and intricate grille really give off a more premium feel than that offered by the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. We really like the curvaceous shape at the back too – it’s certainly different and is a lovely car to look at.

The CX-30, on the other hand, feels a little more ubiquitous, but that’s probably because it’s a crossover. It still gets the same basic front end as the 3, but it’s higher. The rear isn’t quite as neat either, and with its chunky body cladding and extra right height, it doesn’t stand out as much as the 3.

Mazda CX-30 side

But that’s what many people want these days. Compared to other similarly sized crossovers, it’s still a more appealing proposition than most. The rear tail lights and chrome grille surround up front still ensures the CX-30 stands out.

But, if you think you’re getting more car than you are with the 3, you might want to reconsider after taking a look at the dimensions; the CX-30 is actually slight shorter, while their widths of 1,795mm are identical.

Both these cars are designed with Mazda’s signature “Kodo” design language in mind, but overall we think the 3 has the edge when it comes to style. It’s sharp, well-formed and gives off a truly premium vibe.

Mazda 3 cabin

Interior, tech and spec

Step inside, and the differences between these two cars become less obvious. Mazda focuses on building minimalist yet premium interiors, and the look and feel in both the 3 and CX-30 immediately give off a sophisticated ambience.

Whether you opt for the entry-level Prime-Line trims, or the range-topping Takumis, you get a lot for your money with this pair. Both models feature a 10.25in infotainment touchscreen that uses Mazda’s recently updated intuitive operating system.

Mazda-CX-30 boot space

There’s also driver aids aplenty, with all models also featuring adaptive cruise control. Move through the ranges and you’ll add things like a wireless charger, heated leather seats, upgraded sound systems a 360-degree view camera.

Despite offering like-for-like specifications and identical trim pieces, you might think that the CX-30 offers more room; it does, but only marginally. Headroom, shoulder room and rear legroom are all a smidge above the 3 hatchback.

Things are noticeably roomier in the boot though, with most CX-30s coming with 430 litres of boot space (reduced to 422 for models featuring the upgraded Bose sound system). The 3, on the other hand, makes do with just 358 litres.

Mazda 3 cornering

Driving and engines

Being based on the same platform, it’s no surprise to find the line-up of engines are like-for-like between the 3 and the CX-30. Mazda’s impressive E-Skyactiv mild-hybrid petrol engines make up the range, with 2.0-litre units available with either 122hp or 286hp.

The less powerful unit isn’t the quickest, taking over 10 seconds to get from 0 to 62mph in both vehicles. But it is exceptionally economical for a 2.0-litre petrol, with around 50mpg to be expected on average.

Mazda-CX-30--108

The more potent unit is the one to choose. It feels noticeably quicker and is a better match for the vehicles – particularly the 3 – giving it enough punch to live up to Mazda’s fun-to-drive philosophy. Automatic gearboxes are available across the range, but the six-speed manual is a joy to use too.

The 3 is arguably the more dynamic of the two thanks to its lower stance, while the CX-30 is slightly more comfortable over bumps which, combined with its high driving position, makes it the better car for longer motorway journeys.

Mazda 3 vs CX-30 rear

Which one’s for me?

That really depends what your priorities are. Both the 3 and CX-30 are quality products that give the driver a sense of engagement and enjoyment that not all car companies can pull off. The 3 is undoubtedly the more appealing of the two if driving pleasure is your outright priority.

But for longer journeys and more luggage capacity, it’s hard to argue that the CX-30 doesn’t come out on top. It might not look quite as unique as the 3, but thanks to the fact it uses the same engines and shares a platform, you get 90% of the enjoyment of the 3 in a slightly more practical package.

Mazda-CX-30--89

It’s also worth noting that if you’re looking to lease one, there’s not much price disparity between the two; at the time of writing the Mazda CX-30 will actually cost you less per month than the equivalent 3 hatchback, offering supreme value for money.

Hit the button below and jump straight into the widest range of Mazda 3 and CX-30 deals right now.

Categories:
Previous Post Next Post
Not sure what car you want?
  • Easy-to-use tool
  • Save time and money
  • Meet your match
Find your dream car

Manufacturer Spotlight

Related Deals

  • Mazda CX-30

    2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV Centre-Line 5dr

    Mazda CX-30 2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV Centre-Line 5dr
    Personal Contract Hire
    9+47 6k Miles p/a
    Initial Payment: £2,366.28
    £262.92
    p/m inc. VAT
    View
    Deal by: Sandicliffe Mazda
  • Mazda CX-30

    2.0 e-Skyactiv G MHEV Prime-Line 5dr

    Mazda CX-30 2.0 e-Skyactiv G MHEV Prime-Line 5dr
    Personal Contract Hire
    9+47 6k Miles p/a
    Initial Payment: £2,078.64
    £230.96
    p/m inc. VAT
    View
    Deal by: Sandicliffe Mazda
  • Mazda CX-30

    2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV Homura 5dr

    Mazda CX-30 2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV Homura 5dr
    Personal Contract Hire
    6+47 6k Miles p/a
    Initial Payment: £1,710.30
    £285.05
    p/m inc. VAT
    View
    Deal by: Sandicliffe Mazda
  • Mazda CX-30

    2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV Centre-Line 5dr

    Mazda CX-30 2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV Centre-Line 5dr
    Personal Contract Hire
    6+47 6k Miles p/a
    Initial Payment: £1,679.46
    £279.91
    p/m inc. VAT
    View
    Deal by: Sandicliffe Mazda