Subcompact crossovers and SUVs are among the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. as they offer the practicality of an SUV but the economy of a small sedan. The Mazda CX-30 stands out in this competitive segment with its style, athletic performance, upscale cabin and amenities.
Base Price: $33,900
As Tested: $35,400
Mileage: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined
The five-passenger CX-30 was introduced for the 2020 model year and already gets some updates for 2021 including an available turbocharged engine and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The CX-30 is a little bigger than the CX-3, the other subcompact crossover made by Mazda, but smaller than the CX-5. The CX-3 will be discontinued for the 2022 model year.
The CX-30 is available in 2.5 S, Select, Preferred, Premium, 2.5 Turbo, 2.5 Turbo Premium and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus trims. Starting prices range from $21,900 to $33,900. Front-wheel-drive is standard on the 2.5 S, Select, Preferred, and Premium trims and all-wheel-drive is available for $1,400. AWD comes standard on all of the Turbo trims.
The non-turbo trims are powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The turbo trims get the new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 250 horses and 320 pound-feet with premium fuel, and 227 hp and 310 pound-feet with regular fuel. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Mazdas are known for having zippy performance and the CX-30 is no exception. Acceleration with the turbo is quick, steering and brakes are responsive, and the CX-30 stays planted when cornering. It feels equally at home on curvy country roads or cruising on the freeway. The six-speed shifts quickly and smoothly, although it does tend to upshift early in order to maximize fuel economy. The ride is smooth even over bumps and rough roads. Visibility is limited to the rear due to the thick pillars and small window.
Fuel efficiency is a little below average for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with a combined rating of 25. I got 24 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is one of the best among subcompact crossovers and looks like something you’d find in a much more expensive vehicle. The design is clean, and materials are attractive and of high quality. The front seats have decent leg- and headroom; however the back row may be a bit tight for taller adults and is best suited to one or two passengers instead of three.
Standard features include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, seven-inch digital instrument cluster display, infotainment system with 8.8-inch display, eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, voice recognition, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, two USB ports, automatic high-beam headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Available features include proximity keyless entry, surround-view camera system, head-up display, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, real leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings. heated front seats, 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, satellite radio, navigation, wireless device charging, moonroof, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal garage door opener, LED interior lighting, and adaptive headlights.
Standard driver assistance technologies include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic emergency braking, and driver attention monitoring.
Available driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, traffic jam assist, and traffic sign recognition.
The infotainment system does not have a touchscreen; rather it’s controlled by a rotary dial on the center console between the two front seats. Once you become familiar with the system, it’s easy to use. Menus are logically laid out and the system responds quickly to inputs.
Cargo space is about average for the segment. The CX-30 has 20.2 cubic feet of cargo space in the hatch. The opening is wide and the floor is relatively low, making it easy to load large and/or bulky items. A power liftgate is available.
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Some rivals have better fuel efficiency
Limited rear visibility
My tester starts at $33,900. The cargo cover is $150. All-weather, low wall floor mats are $125. The stainless rear bumper guard is $125. Delivery fee is $1,100 bringing the grand total to $35,400.
The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is one of the best subcompact crossovers currently available, so if you want one of these, definitely take the CX-30 for a test ride. Chances are you’ll be sold on its nimble handling, upscale cabin and long list of standard and available features and tech.