Subcompact crossovers are hot and the Mazda CX-30 stands out in this class for its peppy performance and engaging handling. If you want a small crossover that’s fun to drive, the CX-30 definitely delivers. It also boasts a smooth ride, nice cabin, decent passenger and cargo room, and many standard features and tech.
Base Price: $34,400
As Tested: $36,345
Mileage: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined
The five-passenger CX-30 is larger than the now discontinued CX-3 and smaller than the CX-5. It was launched for the 2020 model year. For 2021, a new turbocharged engine was offered and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay became standard. For 2022, all-wheel-drive becomes standard.
The CX-30 is available in 2.5 S, 2.5 S Select, 2.5 S Preferred, 2.5 S Premium, Turbo, Turbo Premium and Turbo Premium Plus trims. Starting prices range from $22,200 to $34,400. All-wheel drive is standard on all trims, which can cost more on many competitors.
The 2.5 trims are powered by Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine which makes 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and sport mode.
The turbo trims get the Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo engine producing 250 horses and 320 pound-feet of torque with premium 93 octane fuel, or 227 hp and 310 pound-feet with regular 87 octane fuel. This engine is also paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The turbo is a blast to drive. It’s quick off the line with little turbo lag and eager to accelerate. Merging and passing at freeway speeds is a breeze and the six-speed shifts quickly and smoothly. Steering is precise, brakes are responsive, and the CX-30 stays planted when cornering. Although Mazda no longer uses “zoom zoom” as its marketing slogan, I couldn’t help but think of those words while behind the wheel of the CX-30. Standard AWD means the CX-30 is ready to tackle the challenging weather conditions we get here in the Pacific Northwest. The ride is smooth with the suspension doing a good job of absorbing bumps.
Fuel efficiency is average for the class. EPA ratings for my turbo tester are 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with a combined rating of 25. I got 23 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. Models with the base engine do a bit better at 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway and a combined rating of 26.
The cabin is upscale and stylish. Materials look and feel good. It’s easy to think that you’re in a luxury subcompact. Front seats are comfortable and supportive with decent leg- and headroom. The rear seats aren’t as roomy—this is a subcompact crossover, after all—but two average-size adults can fit, although they may wish for more legroom, especially on longer treks.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, seven-inch digital driver display, infotainment system with 8.8-inch display, eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive 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 or real leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated steering wheel, 12-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, satellite radio, and a moonroof.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and driver attention monitor.
Available driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, and road sign recognition.
The Mazda Connect Infotainment system doesn’t have a touchscreen but is controlled by a large rotary knob and buttons between the two front seats. It takes some time to get the hang of the system. It can be distracting at first as you look down at the controls. The system does respond quickly to inputs and voice commands.
Cargo space is average for the c lass. There are 20.2 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 45.2 cubes with the rear seats folded. The hatch opening is wide and the liftover height is low, so it’s easy to load large and/or bulky items.
Lots of standard features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Infotainment system takes time to learn and can be distracting
My tester starts at $34,400. Machine Gray Metallic paint is $595. Stainless rear bumper guard is $125. Delivery fee is $1,225 bringing the grand total to $36,345.
The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is fun to drive and comes well-equipped, with lots of standard and available features and tech. There’s a decent amount of space for passengers and cargo. Anyone wanting a subcompact SUV should check it out.