It was with great delight that a Soul Red metallic Mazda CX-30 rolled up for a media review to the front of the house. This is one of Mazda’s signature colors that looks marvelous on all Mazda models. The CX-30 reminded me of the Mazda3 Hatchback I reviewed last fall, just more of a station wagon, small SUV/Crossover in design, with its strong wheel arch moldings and hefty appearance.
Mazda’s all have so much of the same DNA; it is refreshing not to have to relearn where the buttons and switchgear are in each model. Plus, there is a real gearshift lever for the six-speed automatic transmission, not a dial or knob to fumble with.
The Mazda CX-30 is right-sized for a city car and large enough for the utility needed to carry people and cargo at the same time. Design is flowing, timeless, and tasteful. The doors in the CX-30 were easy to get in and out of, unlike the rear doors in the Mazda3 Hatch. In the 3-hatch, I found myself twisting and bending to squeeze in and out of. The CX-30 is higher than you would expect an SUV to be and powerful as I have learned that the SKYACTIV 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that Mazda uses has shown itself to be. The 2.5-liter engine and the 2.5-liter Turbocharged engine are the only choices for this model here in the USA.
Mazda’s Kodo Design https://insidemazda.mazdausa.com/car-as-art/ shows through clearly, like the Mazda6 and Mazda3, and even the Mazda CX5, and MX5 Miata, I have reviewed, the interior is well designed and ergonomically pleasing. Everything is within the easy reach and view that you need. Visibility around the vehicle is excellent, and the heads-up display continues to be my favorite HUD out there.
Seating is comfortable, though; I would like a more supportive driver’s seat for longer trips. The backseat area is fine, but those passengers do not have much in the way of amenities other than a fold-down center armrest. There are no power ports in the rear, just two center console-mounted HVAC vents, one map pocket on the back of the right front passenger seat. And, of course, storage areas in the base of the rear passenger doors.
It is roomy enough, and with the 60/40 split rear seat, you have the option of still carrying a passenger or two, though tightly and longer cargo. Putting the rear seatbacks down gives you plenty of cargo space. You can head to the big box store or home center and bring home enough stuff to keep yourself busy with a project or restock the supplies without putting down both rear seats. For longer items, even a six-foot ladder fits into the cargo area of the CX-30 with the right front passenger seat forward.
Underneath the cargo area is where the doughnut spare tire is stored and the tools and the Bose Sub-Woofer that was part of this CX30’s entertainment system. No room for anything else due to the Styrofoam equipment holder, which keeps everything neatly in place.
The 2.5 Turbocharged SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine provides plenty of power with 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. I was pleased that this car did not appear to have an engine cutoff when at stoplights, as it never turned off, and I could not find a switch to turn that feature on or off. The CX-30 has SKYACTIV-Drive, six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and sport mode. I found it easy to drive and provided plenty of control over the all-wheel-drive system, which drivers in colder climates with harsh weather will find very reassuring.
Suspension is very stiff, which is odd, as Mazda’s other SUVs are not that way. So stiff it was jarring hitting some pothole and driving on rough pavement. However, driving on smooth pavement was not a problem. The handling of the CX-30 was terrific; it handled like a sports car, which is one of the things I like about all Mazda vehicles.
The CX-30 that I test drove was the top-of-the-line 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Package and had a sticker of $35,995, including delivery, processing, and handling fee. Lower trim levels like the 2.5 S start at $22,050; Select at $24,050; Preferred at $26,450; Premium at $28,700. When you put in the turbo engine, the price moves up to $30,050; Turbo Premium $32,450, and the Turbo Premium Plus like I drove is $34.050 before options and delivery.
Mazda makes excellent products, and this CX30 has a lot going for it. Overall, design and styling are wonderful and will stand the test of time. The Interior is pleasing. Where I found faults were the stiff ride and poor fuel economy. While I did not take it on long highway drives to increase the fuel efficiency, running around town with a few short trips on the local beltway never got us over 20 miles per gallon for the week I had it. And while this is the top-of-the-line Premium Plus Package, it is a little pricey considering the competition.
Would I buy this CX30? Yes, if I were looking for this type of small SUV or Crossover. Mazda has always done a great job with its vehicles, and while this one has a few flaws, they are not enough to cause me to say it is not worth considering. So if you are looking for a small urban or suburban sized vehicle that you can haul people and cargo in, this is a great option.
Words and imagery by William West Hopper
Mr. Hopper is a member of the International Motor Press Association, as well as the Washington Automotive Press Association, you can find his work in various enthusiast publications and on YouTube, as well as social media.
Mr. Hopper is also a VIP Guide at the annual Washington DC Auto Show and is often asked to judge at Concours events around the country. You can find him on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms.
Additional Images of the Mazda CX-30
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