The CX-30 is something of a 'tweener; it's sandwiched between the pint-sized CX-3 and the compact CX-5 in Mazda's lineup of crossovers. Introduced for the 2020 model year, the CX-30 sees minor changes for 2021. Competition includes other subcompact SUVs including the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Hyundai Kona.
If the CX-30 looks to you like a Mazda 3 hatch with dark plastic body cladding, you're not far off. The SUV utilizes the same excellent design language and premium interior as the compact hatch with a little extra ground clearance. Even with the added ride height, the CX-30 handles well, but ride quality is on the stiffer side. The turbocharged model feels particularly quick when merging onto the highway or passing other cars, but you may not notice its extra power when driving in the city.
We don't love how often the steering requires adjustment to keep the CX-30 pointed straight, but the tiller is quick and nicely weighted. Plus, while all the standard driver assist tech is nice to have, its tuning leaves something to be desired with the lane keep assist sometimes not reacting until you've already drifted out of your lane.
The CX-30 placed second in our three-way cheap SUV comparison, besting the new Chevrolet Trailblazer but failing to top the Kia Seltos. Its jittery ride quality, disappointing base powertrain, and tight cabin held the CX-30 back from a win.
That said, the CX-30's flaws (including a small back seat) can be overlooked thanks to outstanding design and nice steering.
As standard, the CX-30 is motivated by Mazda's 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I-4 that develops 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The stylish little ute is rated at 24-25/31-33 mpg city/highway and buyers have the choice between front- and all-wheel drive, with a six-speed automatic transmission either way. In our First Test, an AWD CX-30 scooted up to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds.
Those who were holding out for more power will be pleased with the addition of Mazda's 2.5-liter turbo-four. It develops 250 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93 octane premium gas, or 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on regular grades, all sent through standard all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic. In MotorTrend testing, a CX-30 Turbo accelerated to 60 mph in a comparatively blistering 5.8 seconds. Fuel economy doesn't suffer much for that extra oomph, coming in at 22/30 mpg.
The CX-30 is an extremely safe vehicle, having earned 2021 Top Safety Pick+ designation in IIHS safety testing. It also receives a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, with five-star front and side crash scores and a four-star rollover rating.
Mazda equips every CX-30 with a slew of driver assist active safety features. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and driver attention warning are standard on all models. Every trim except the entry-level CX-30 includes blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well.
Like everything else in the segment, the CX-30 seats five. It offers 20.2 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seats and 45.2 with the seats folded down, compared to 30.9/59.6 cubes in the one-size-up CX-5 or 17.8/42.7 in the smaller CX-3.
Every CX-30 includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display that can also be operated with a center-mounted control knob. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are both standard, as is a six-speaker audio system, though a 12-speaker Bose setup is available on higher-end trims.
|$500||Mazda announces a Bonus Cash offer for active duty Military personnel.||09-30-2021|
|$360||Mazda announces a Lease Cash Support offer for a Special Lease through MCS on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$500||Mazda announces an APR Cash offer. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$0||0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 48, 63 Months - Mazda announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|
|$500||Mazda announces a Conquest Bonus Cash offer to owners of any 2010 or newer Honda, Toyota, or Subaru. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$0||0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 24, 36 Months - Mazda announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|
|$0||2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Mazda announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|
|$500||Mazda announces a Conquest Bonus Cash offer to owners of any 2010 or newer Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Chevrolet vehicles. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|
|$720||Mazda announces a Lease Bonus Cash offer for a Special Lease through MCS. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||06-30-2021|