2022 Mazda CX-30 packs lots of class, power into small package Featured

Posted On Monday, 18 July 2022 00:01 Written by
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Mazda's interior in the 2022 CX-30 is class-leading and bordering on luxury quality. Mazda's interior in the 2022 CX-30 is class-leading and bordering on luxury quality. Photo courtesy of Mazda

The compact SUV class is one with limitless options for car buyers, but one key element that is usually missing from these vehicles is power. Many of them are well-designed but lack oomph when you’re behind the wheel.

But one brand that has never lacked oomph is Mazda, and they offer several options in the compact SUV class — including the CX-5, CX-30 and CX-50.

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is essentially a lifted version of the Mazda 3 hatchback. Slight changes have been made to the model lineup for 2022 (including a new Carbon Edition trim level), and all-wheel-drive is now standard on all CX-30 trims.

I recently spent some time driving a 2022 CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus edition, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up vs. the competition. 


The exterior of the 2022 Mazda CX-30 features a flowing and bold Mazda exterior design with the brand’s unique front overhang. This look stands out in the segment, and you won't confuse it with other SUVs.

Classy paint color options include Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Machine Grey Metallic, Polymetal Grey Metallic and Snowflake White Pearl Mica.

Other exterior features on the CX-30 include: 18-inch wheels, LED lighting, power rear liftgate, power sliding-glass moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, heated power side mirrors with turn lamps, and roof rails.

Moving inside the 2022 CX-30, and you’ll see where Mazda has truly delivered.

The level of upscale materials and design used in this vehicle — and all Mazda vehicles for that matter — is unmatched by the competition. The only fair comparisons for the interior are to compact luxury SUVs from brands including Audi and Lexus. This is especially impressive since the price of the CX-30 is much less than you’ll pay for any of these luxury options, and the competing vehicles within the CX-30’s price range are clearly outshined by Mazda’s interior design.

At first, the CX-30 looks to be quite small inside, both for passenger space and cargo space. But that can be deceiving, as I actually got quite a lot of utility out of the CX-30 during a road trip. With a driver and two passengers, I was able to put all the luggage in the trunk, and keep our bag of snacks and a few other items in the open space in the back seat. All cargo fit easily, and all passengers were comfortable.

The CX-30 can seat up to five comfortably, but fitting three adults in the rear may be a stretch (keep the little ones back there).

The leather-trimmed seats are comfy for all passengers, and all controls are well-placed. Other features included heated front seats, driver seat memory, lumbar support on driver seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat to boost cargo capacity, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated steering wheel, a rear armrest with cup holders, and paddle shifters.

Being realistic, for longer treks and when traveling with large families, you'll need a larger vehicle (In Mazda’s lineup, that would be the CX-9). But in the circumstances I had, I was very happy with the space provided. 


Two engine options are offered in the 2022 Mazda CX-30.

The better option, a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder option boasting 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, was featured in my test vehicle. For reference, this engine is also featured in larger Mazda SUVs, so it packs a serious punch in this smaller package.

Most trim levels of the CX-30 will feature a non-turbo four-cylinder engine that provides 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet.

Both engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and Mazda’s impressive i-Active AWD system is now standard across the CX-30 lineup.

Zero-to-60 numbers are impressive with the turbo engine, at just under 6 seconds, but the standard engine will take around 7.5 seconds to do the same.

Mazda knows how to make a vehicle that driving enthusiasts will love, and the CX-30 is no exception. The ride in the CX-30 is responsive, nimble and plenty of fun. Driver input is immediately recognized and responded to by the CX-30, whether on long highways, or twisty off-ramps and side roads. When cross-testing with other small SUVs, you will appreciate this vehicle’s capabilities very much vs. what its rivals can do. Compared to the more pedestrian efforts of its compact SUV rivals, power and performance in the CX-30 is unrivaled.

On long rides the driving experience is smooth and effective, and road noise is also kept out quite well. Engaging Sport mode allows for top performance, especially helpful on my road trip when I had to merge onto busy highways. 

To support drive quality, all CX-30 models are also equipped with G-Vectoring Control Plus and Off-Road Traction Assist as standard, increasing the vehicle’s capabilities.

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 features a strong infotainment system — centered on an 8.8-inch screen — that is easily controlled via a main dial control and buttons in the center console. The system makes it easy to toggle between specific menus (audio, navigation, etc.), offers simple commands to set favorite radio stations, and voice controls did not disappoint.

There is, however, no touchscreen capability, which may deter some buyers who prefer that option for infotainment controls.

The 12-speaker Bose Premium Audio system was impressive and belted out quality sounds throughout our road trip. (An 8-speaker system is standard, with the option to upgrade)

Beyond AM and FM radio, satellite radio is included with a three-month trial. And you can connect your phone via Bluetooth to the vehicle for streaming music and audio. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are also included for phone mirroring, and a Wi-Fi hotspot is available in the vehicle.

Navigation worked well and got me where I needed to go, both locally and on my road trip, including providing extra info about gas and food options available at each highway exit, and the vehicle keeps you updated on what the speed limit is along your travels. USB and 12-volt power ports are also included for devices.

Moving on to safety, the fact that the CX-30 boasts a ton of standard safety features helps alleviate any concerns people may have about buying a smaller vehicle. It also boasts 5-star safety ratings in all crash categories except one (4 stars for rollover).

The radar cruise control system is excellent on long highway trips and keeps you safe by slowing down when a vehicle ahead of you slows.

The vehicle also features a Driver Attention Alert which can alert you if it senses you are getting drowsy and not controlling the car properly.

Other features include a Lane Departure Warning System, Lane Keep Assist, Rearview Camera, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Tire Pressure Monitoring, and a bevy of air bags.

Optional safety features that come with the Turbo Premium Plus package include: Front and rear parking sensors, Traffic Jam Assist, a 360-degree monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Braking.


The official fuel mileage numbers on turbo versions of the CX-30 are 22 city/30 highway/25 combined. 

If you opt for the non-turbo motor, those numbers climb to 26 combined/24 city/31 highway. A tank in the CX-30 was enough for me to drive from Detroit to Chicago and still have a little left over in the tank. Specifically, I averaged 26 miles per gallon in my time driving the CX-30.

This is not the best vehicle in the compact SUV class in terms of fuel mileage, with many competitors eclipsing these numbers, but it’s decent enough that this won’t be a disqualifying factor for most people.


The 2022 Mazda CX-30 I tested was priced at $35,750, and its base price starts around $23K. The lower trim levels are well worth the price. Top trim levels may be a bit too high for some shoppers in this segment, but for others the experience the CX-30 offers may justify the price.

To meet differing buyer budgets, a wide variety of price points are offered between the Base mode and the Turbo Premium Plus option.

Warranties on the CX-30 are in line with some competitors, but behind some others.

They include:
— 3 years/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty
— 5 years/60,000 mile powertrain warranty
— 3 years/36,000 mile roadside assistance


The 2022 Mazda CX-30 features a sharp exterior design, class-leading interior, plus a thrilling ride and strong tech features. All things considered, it is one of the best options for buyers looking for a compact SUV that's more upscale that the competition but still affordable.

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Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2022 Mazda CX-30
  • Price as tested: $35,750 (starts around $23K)
  • Best feature: Powerful and smooth driving characteristics, upscale interior, strong tech
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact SUV buyers seeking a class leader in performance and design
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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