2021 Mazda CX-30

Attractive sporty crossover possesses engaging driving experience

Roseville, CA- There’s no doubt that Mazda gambled a bit with the CX-30, a compact sport utility vehicle that made its debut a year ago.

The perplexing part from our vantage point is this: will the new SUV hinder sales of two other well-known Mazda vehicles – the highly-acclaimed Mazda 3 and the CX-3, a subcompact SUV?

Mazda officials slot the 2021 CX-30 in between the smaller CX-3 and the CX-5, another compact SUV. However, the CX-30 shares more similarities to the once popular Mazda 3 hatchback than either of the aforementioned SUVs.

The CX30 and the Mazda 3 share many things, including the engine. The taller CX-30 – some refer to it as a lifted Mazda 3 – has a little more overall interior room, but the cargo space is the same as the 3 hatchback.

Even though the Mazda 3 is still considered a capable compact sedan/hatchback, its sales are in dramatic decline.

Sales of the Mazda 3 reached a high of 123,361 in 2012. Last year those numbers dipped to 33,608, by far its worst performance since its 2004 debut.

And one might assume the CX-30 could also impact sales of the CX-3, which sold a meager total of 8,335 last year, its worst showing since its introduction four years ago.

What most likely will not be impacted from a sales perspective is the CX-5. The highly-competent CX-5 had record sales of 146,420 in 2020.

The CX-30 is an attractive sporty crossover that seats five people, possesses an engaging driving experience, and delivers solid performance. It arrives this year with a new turbo engine that should make it even more appealing.

Offered in four trim models (base, Select, Premium, Preferred), the CX-30 has an upscale interior design and some nice standard safety features.

AT A GLANCE – 2021 MAZDA CX-30

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 186 horsepower; turbocharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 227 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 25-32 mpg; 24-31 mpg
  • Price estimate: $22,200 to $34,200
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles;
    roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

The standard CX-30 engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission produces solid acceleration at highway speeds and around town. It goes 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, a good time for the class. Fuel economy is 25-32 mpg.

The optional turbo engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It comes with standard all-wheel drive and is more than a second faster than the standard engine, going 0-60 mph at 6.4 seconds.

For a compact SUV, the CX-30 provides a fun ride, one that isn’t impacted a lot by bumps and does its business quietly. Handling, steering and braking are above average for the class.

Safety & Interior

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning with automatic braking and lane keeping assist. All-wheel drive is available on every trim.

Interior of Mazda CX-30

The CX-30 interior has a simplistic design that also has an elegant quality. The surfaces are generally soft touch, while buttons and knobs are located in smart places that make it easy for someone to get quickly acquainted. An 8.8-inch infotainment screen comes standard and so does Apple CarPlay and Android Auto function.

Seating is comfortable up front, but will get cramped with three people in the back. Cargo space is 20 cubic feet and expands to 47.1 cubes with the back seat folded down.

It remains to be seen how the CX-30 impacts sales in the Mazda lineup. What we do know is the 2021 Mazda CX-30 is a well-made compact SUV that will likely enjoy a long shelf life.