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Mazda CX-30: Elevated, Hot Hatch?

The Mazda CX-30 is a compact crossover that smartly bridges the gap between mainstream and luxury offerings. It boasts a competitively priced base model, generously loaded with features. However, as you climb the trim ladder and opt for the turbocharged engine variant, the price nudges toward luxury models. Nonetheless, the CX-30’s exceptional value proposition makes it a compelling choice for those seeking a small SUV.

2023 Mazda CX-30 profile

Model Overview

Introduced in 2020, the CX-30 was initially offered with standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. This model seats five and is Mazda’s smallest utility Vehicle.

Beginning in 2022, all-wheel drive became standard. In its second year, a turbocharged engine option debuted, giving customers two engine choices that remain. Modest equipment changes since have kept this model near the top in a competitive segment.

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is available in seven grades: 2.5 S, 2.5 S Select, 2.5 S Preferred, 2.5 S Carbon Edition, 2.5 S Premium, 2.5 Turbo Premium, and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus. Prices for these models range from approximately $22,950 to $35,400, excluding a destination fee of $1,375.

Highlights of the 2023 Mazda CX-30

The Mazda CX-30 offers a sporty stance, sharing the design characteristics of a hatchback. Notably, this model comes equipped with LED headlights and a unique combination of LED taillights and daytime running lights, adding a touch of sophistication to its exterior. Enhancing visibility and convenience, it features rain-sensing windshield wipers that automatically adjust to precipitation levels. Further, the front of the vehicle boasts a matte finish grille, lending a stylish edge to the overall look. The back end is accentuated by a black rear roof spoiler that enhances its sporty appeal. Complementing its road presence are 16-inch alloy wheels, outfitted with P215/65 R16 tires, offering a smooth and stable drive.

Upgradeable features based on packages and trim levels include 18-inch alloy wheels. Also, dual-folding and heated side mirrors, an adaptive front lighting system, and signature exterior lighting are available.

Comfort and Convenience

Inside, the CX-30 prioritizes comfort and convenience. The seats are adorned with quality cloth, with synthetic leather and real hides available. Power windows and door locks with remote keyless entry streamline access to the vehicle. The dashboard features a clear 7-inch LCD meter display. The car also boasts a versatile 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback for extra cargo space and an electronic parking brake for secure parking.

Move up through the trim range and such features as powered front seats, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel become available. Ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, and a power-sliding glass moonroof are also attainable.

Performance Choices

This model comes with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It works with a 6-speed automatic transmission that features manual and sport modes. The standard all-wheel-drive system enhances stability across different terrains, and it also benefits from an off-road traction assist feature. Additional safety provisions include ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist, along with a handy hill launch assist. For added security, an engine-immobilizer anti-theft system is incorporated.

Turbo Delight

Also available is a turbocharged version of the same engine. In turbo form, output rises to 227/250 horsepower and 310/320 pound-feet of torque. The latter numbers represent when this vehicle is fueled with premium gasoline. The same transmission choice is offered.

Safety and Technology

The CX-30 is equipped with an extensive suite of safety features. Driver’s and front passenger’s knee airbags are standard. Both dual front airbags and front side-impact airbags are included, along with side-impact air curtains. The vehicle has smart brake support that aids in pedestrian detection. A driver attention alert system is in place. The vehicle also uses radar cruise control with a stop-and-go feature. There’s a lane departure warning system as well as lane-keep assist. The vehicle has a high-beam control system. Dynamic stability control and a traction control system enhance vehicle safety. An auto-hold function is included. A rear-view monitor aids in reversing. The vehicle is fitted with a tire pressure monitoring system. The CX-30 also provides LATCH rear child-seat anchors and upper tethers for child safety.

Generous Tech Features

On the tech front, the CX-30 offers a comprehensive suite of infotainment features for an immersive audio and tech experience. The vehicle comes with an 8-speaker audio system and provides Bluetooth functionality for hands-free phone and audio streaming. It’s equipped with an infotainment system that includes an 8.8-inch full-color display, voice command capabilities, HD radio, SMS text message integration, and automatic emergency notification. The car supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration. For added convenience, there are dual USB audio input ports and steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. A trial of Mazda Connected Services is also included. Navigation, satellite radio, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system are available.

On the Road

Mazda lent us a well-equipped model outfitted with a turbocharged engine. From the onset, we knew that over-the-top performance was waiting. And we were not disappointed.

This version offers excellent acceleration and strong passing power. Peak torque kicks in early – at just 2,000 RPM. We prefer operating this SUV in normal mode as sport mode slows down gear shifts appreciably. The ideal, though, with this vehicle would be a stick shift, but in the absence of one the automatic shifts clean.

Mazda offers one of the best steering and handling combinations of any maker of small vehicles. Indeed, precise inputs and wonderful handling set this model apart from the pack. Braking is good with a soft touch initially, then tightening as speed progresses.

If you marvel that a crossover can perform so well, keep this in mind: the CX-30 is nearly identical to the Mazda3 in all its attributes. Indeed, the duo share a common platform. Thus, consider the CX-30 more akin to a raised hatchback than an SUV.

Mazda CX-30: Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our week with the CX-30, finding it perhaps the sportiest of all utility vehicles in its class. With all-wheel drive standard, the base model is very competitive. We think, though, that paying a few thousand dollars more for the Select trim is a great place to start. On the other hand, opting for the turbo pushes this model well above $30,000, a hard-to-swallow price point for not a few consumers.

Addendum: Competitive Set

The following are the primary competitors for the Mazda CX-30: Volkswagen Taos, Subaru Crosstrek, Chevrolet Trax, and Kia Seltos. Also, the Dodge Hornet, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Corolla Cross, Nissan Kicks, and the Honda HR-V compete.

See Also — Mazda CX-30: Refined and Pricey

Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Mazda CX-30: Elevated, Hot Hatch?


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