2023 Mazda CX-30: Lots of high-class style in a small package Featured

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2023 00:30 Written by
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The interior of the 2023 Mazda CX-30 is high-class compared to other compact SUVs. The interior of the 2023 Mazda CX-30 is high-class compared to other compact SUVs. Photo courtesy of Mazda

Good things can come in small packages, and at the small end of Mazda’s SUV lineup is a vehicle that definitely fits that bill.

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 features a sharp design, high-quality interior, and a sporty turbo engine option. Its interior is especially impressive, giving off a nearly luxury-level vibe.

The CX-30 has many opponents to battle, as there are tons of competitors in the compact SUV segment — including the Volkswagen Taos, Chevy Trailblazer, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Buick Encore, Hyundai Venue, Honda HR-V, Toyota Corolla Cross, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Read on to learn more about how the CX-30 compares to this bevy of mini-utes, and who will want to take one home.

LOOKS

One way to look at the CX-30 is that it’s a crossover version of the Mazda3, offering a bit more practical design.

Mazda’s sharp and bold exterior design stands out in a segment known for vehicles that would rarely make a head turn. My test vehicle featured Polymetal Gray Metallic paint, 18-inch black alloy wheels, a black front grille, LED headlights and taillights, black rear roof spoiler, power sliding glass moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated side mirrors, and roof rails.

Other attractive paint colors offered include Soul Red Crystal Metallic and Snowflake White Pearl Mica.

Look inside the CX-30, and you’ll see where it really distinguishes itself in the segment. This is one of the most top-shelf designs you’ll find in a nonluxury ride. With a mix of chrome and soft surfaces, it  gives off a distinctly upscale vibe that most rivals could only dream of having.

The black and red design was a standout look, and the leather-trimmed seats delivered plenty of comfort.

Heated front seats are offered, and the rear seats fold down to increase cargo capacity. You also get a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear air vents.

Be aware though, the CX-30 is a small ride. That’s true of all vehicles in its segment, of course, and not unique to the CX-30, but make sure that you’re comfortable with the size before picking one up, and aren’t feeling too cramped. People who are taller or feel a bit claustrophobic should consider moving up to the CX-50 crossover offered by Mazda.

Riding in the back seat can feel tight for taller adults, and is best left for the kids or shorter adults. Cargo space is not a standout area, but is decent for the segment with the rear seats down. Official numbers are 20.2 cubic feet with all seats up, 45.2 cubic feet with rear seats down.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The standard engine in the 2023 Mazda CX-30 is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power plant with output of 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This is a slight increase of five horsepower for the 2023 model.

Those who opt for the turbocharged engine will get a boost to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet.

Both are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on all CX-30 models, which is good news for drivers in regions that regularly get bad weather.

I tested the non-turbo engine, and it was not up to the standards of the ride quality I am used to experiencing with Mazda vehicles. So while the price is higher for turbo models, I would recommend making the leap to the better engine.

Getting from 0 to 60 in the non-turbo engine will take about 8 seconds, while the turbo will get there in roughly 6 seconds.

Whichever engine you choose, the CX-30 is always a smooth and agile vehicle, handles well, and is responsive to driver input — all trademarks of a Mazda brand which focuses on a quality driver experience.

Curvy roads will not be an issue for the CX-30, which can handle such challenges with ease. Bumps in the road are also handled quite well by the CX-30, with minimal impact on ride quality, and very little road noise makes its way into the vehicle.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

One unique aspect of the tech setup on the CX-30 is that there is no touchscreen, as the 8.8-inch infotainment display is too far from the driver to be reached comfortably. However, the system is easy to control via a center dial.

The optional navigation system works effectively, and voice controls are easily used to get you on your way to your destination. 

Other tech highlights include Bluetooth, satellite radio, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility, Mazda Connected Services and two USB inputs. The Connected Services app allows drivers to remotely lock and unlock the vehicle, remote start the vehicle, and monitor vehicle systems.

An 8-speaker audio system is standard, but a 12-speaker Bose sound system can be found on higher trims. And an in-vehicle mobile Wi-Fi hotspot is offered (for a fee).

The CX-30 is also loaded with strong safety systems that work reliably.

It earned top ratings in government safety tests, and among the features included standard on all CX-30 models are:
— Forward collision mitigation (warns of impending collision, applies brakes)
— Lane keeping assistance (makes steering corrections, keeps vehicle in lane)
— Adaptive cruise control (Maintain a constant distance to the car in front of you)
— Drowsy driver monitor (warns driver if they appear to be fatigued)
— Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection

Other optional features include blind spot monitoring and head-up display.

There’s also a helpful rearview camera for parking situations, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, a bevy of air bags (dual front air bags, driver and passenger knee airbags, front and rear side air curtains), and a tire pressure monitoring system.

MPG

Official fuel mileage numbers on the 2023 Mazda CX-30 are 26 city/33 highway/29 combined. Moving to the turbo engine gets you 22 city/30 highway/25 combined.

In my real-world testing with the non-turbo engine, I averaged 26 mpg.

These numbers are respectable, but a bit less than than the fuel mileage numbers of key rivals from Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia and others. However, the difference isn’t large enough for this to be a deciding factor for most buyers.
 

PRICE

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 I tested was priced at just over $31,000, and its base price starts around $24K.

Trim levels include S (base model), Select, Preferred, Carbon Edition, Premium, Turbo Premium and Turbo Premium Plus. Choosing the top trim levels can move your price north of $35K.

Compared to rival crossovers, pricing on lower trim levels competes well in the segment. But if you opt for the turbo engine, prices are higher than some competitors — as you’ll be paying for the better driving experience. In my view, the turbo is the only way to go on the CX-30, but it will cost you more.

The warranties included with the CX-30 are about average in this class. They include a 60 month/60K mile powertrain warranty, 36 month/36K mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance. These are solid numbers, but some rivals go farther with powertrain coverage.

BOTTOM LINE 

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is an affordable small SUV with a sharp design and solid tech and safety features. But it will lack the driving oomph of Mazda’s usual offerings, unless you opt for the turbo engine.

It’s a solid option for budget shoppers who don’t need a powerhouse engine or tons of space, but still want an overall solid entry-level crossover starting under $25K.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2023 Mazda CX-30
  • Price as tested: $31,150 (starts around $24K)  
  • Best feature: High-end design, tech-savvy
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact SUV buyers who seek a classy ride with a sharp interior and strong turbo engine option
Matt M. Myftiu

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

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