Susan Frissell, Editor, Publisher

Introduced in the 2020 model year, the Mazda CX-30 small SUV has added a few things, including the turbo-charged engine, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (now standard), 12-speaker Bose stereo is available with the premium package. There are three models available: 2.5-L 4-cylinder 6A ($22,276), 2.5L 4-cylinder 6A Select ($24,429), and the one we drove, the Preferred 2.5-L, 4-cylinder 6A ($28,171).

The Mazda CX-30 is easy to handle, has poised handling and up-to-date standard safety features. Mileage is below average for small SUV’s, and we noticed blind spots when navigating backing up or highway driving.
The optional equipment on our test CX-30 included a cargo cover ($150), Floor mats, all-weather low-wall ($125), and rear bumper guard ($125). Fairly priced options for this upscale little crossover…emphasized ‘little.’
With all the available SUV’s on the market, one has to do some research to be able to place each entry. The CX-30 Turbo fits between Mazda’s smaller CX-3 and the larger CX-5, appealing to younger buyers. Rivaling the CX-30 would probably be the BMW X1 and X2, and the Audi Q3, and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Given that it’s a little more ‘upscale, ‘ the CX-3 is a cut above the Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V.

One is not probably going to gain a whole lot of usable space in the CX-30, and in fact, many sedans today, offer more space-passenger and storage. When loading some groceries into the back seat, the position of the driver’s seat was in the way of any use of floor space. And this writer, by no means, has the driver’s seat back far. The front seats fit the frame well, are comfortable and offer eight directions. The analogue gauges, gear selector and no touchscreen make the car seem ‘dated.’ As is always the case in Mazda products, this writer becomes easily frustrated when trying to tune in a radio station. Unlike other reviewers, this one wouldn’t call how the sound system operates “intuitive.”
The Mazda CX-30’s Connect Infotainment system comes standard and includes a 8.2-inch screen, and control knob on the console. It isn’t a touch-screen, and far from intuitive. It always takes this writer a few times driving the vehicle to even get close to finding the sound system where it’s desired, whether it be FM, AM or SiriusXM. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Embarrassed to say, but I miss the CD player!!

If you want NAV, you’ll be opting for the premium Package which includes leather seating surfaces, 12-speaker Bose sound system, and adaptive headlamps. There is also a Premium Plus Package which includes a high-definition 360-degree camera which can present different views while driving, as it scans around the vehicle. Also part of the top package is Traffic Jam Assist which works with the adaptive cruise control system to provide steering assistance when driving in crowded traffic over 40 mph.

Those wanting to stay in the affordable range of the CX-30 will enjoy blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry, automatic high beams and rear cross-traffic alert. The Premium Plus Package includes rear cross-traffic braking and provides automatic stopping to provide a collision.

What sets the Turbo CX-30 apart from the other CX-30 choices? Some not so visible things, unless you’re looking for them, include the grille which gets a gloss-black finish. The 18-inch wheels, exterior mirror housings in black, and larger exhaust outlets all come with Turbo CX-30, as do the turbo badge on the rear, and the top with aluminum roof rails. The blacked-out wheels are snazzy, making the Turbo CX-30 version a head turner.

The CX-30 rides quietly and smoothly. The turbo could use a tad more umph but suffices for most who will opt for this Mazda version. The new bells and whistles on all the vehicles take a little getting used to. I’m a two-footed driver at times, and the CX-30 kept dinging at me when I had a foot on the gas and a foot on the brake! Reminding me I’m doing both simultaneously!!


Pricing: $33,900 MSRP; $35,400 total; $1,100 delivery; $400 options
Engine: 2.5 L, inline 4, Turbo/with Premium Plus Package AWD.SKYACTIV-G, 227 hp., 310 lb-ft. torque
Transmission: Ski-active drive, 6 speed sport mode AT, AWD
Height: 61.7 in.
Weight: 3,234 lbs.
Length: 173.0 in.
Height: 61.7 in.
Wheelbase: 104.4 in.
Tires: 215/55R18-215/65R16
Wheels: 18-inch alloy
Fuel Tank: 12.7 gal.-13.5 gal.
Warranty: 3 yr./36,000-mile overall; 5 yr./60,000-mile powertrain protection
Assembly: Salamana, Mexico