The Mazda CX-30 is a highly compelling small crossover SUV, inviting comparisons with counterparts such as the Subaru Crosstrek and Hyundai Tucson.
Its sleek design and excellent control make it a top pick; however, its outdated infotainment system urgently requires a modern overhaul to match today’s technology standards.
With its sleek profile and dynamic lines, the CX-30 test car, dressed in Platinum Quartz Metallic, features 18-inch black alloy wheels, a glossy black front grille, a rear roof spoiler, roof rails, and distinctive Turbo & AWD badging.
The CX-30 subtly nods to traditional SUV features, such as its unpainted fender flares and lower trim, yet it forgoes the typical rugged look. This departure from the norm sits well with us, embracing a different, more refined approach without losing its appeal.
Embodying Mazda’s signature design, the sleek aesthetic boasts a prominent shield-style grille at the front and slender LED headlights. From a profile perspective, it leans towards a hatchback silhouette rather than the typical raised stance of an SUV, characterized by its streamlined roof and narrowing rear roof pillar.
Inside the car, the straightforward dashboard is punctuated by a generously sized screen, seamlessly blending a simple climate control setup with Mazda’s classic infotainment control knob at the console’s heart. The choice of materials adds a touch of sophistication, elevating the visual appeal without stretching beyond the expected price range.
The 2024 Mazda CX-30 is equipped with a potent 2.5-liter turbo-4 engine that produces up to 250 horsepower on premium fuel; however, when running on regular unleaded, Mazda adjusts the power output to a still respectable 227 horsepower.
Opting for the more powerful engine does come at a cost, but it’s worthwhile as it transforms the CX-30 into a vehicle that resembles more of a hot hatch than a conventional small SUV, showcasing its dynamic potential, particularly on winding roads.
Regardless of the chosen engine option, the CX-30 displays a balanced and predictable performance, featuring a thick-rimmed steering wheel with heft, providing a precise driving experience unmatched by most competitors in its class.
The intentional firmness of the CX-30’s ride serves as a clear indication of Mazda’s design objectives. While not overly stiff, even with the optional 18-inch wheels, it can become slightly uneven when navigating bumpy road surfaces.
For potential buyers, it’s essential to factor in the type of road conditions encountered during regular commutes, as the turbocharged models, while delivering enhanced performance, come with a notable fuel efficiency trade-off, with ratings of 22/30/25 mpg, particularly noteworthy since they mandate the use of premium fuel.
The 2024 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD, equipped with the Premium Plus package, has an MSRP of $36,800. With minimal add-ons, along with delivery and fees factored in, the grand total reaches $38,310.
The Hyundai Kona challenges the CX-30 with innovative design, both vying for attention in the styling department. The CX-30, priced at $32,000, offers a 190-hp option, but its standard powerplants may seem subdued.
Ample turbo power and a uniquely styled exterior distinguish the Kia Seltos. Contrasting this, the VW Taos, while visually less engaging, impresses with its spacious cabin and commendable cargo space.
A rugged favorite, the Subaru Crosstrek lacks pep but compensates with genuine four-wheeling capability. Exploring higher-end options, the premium CX-30, at a higher price, offers a taste of luxury.
Stepping into a larger, upscale territory, the Volvo XC40, priced just above $40,000, emerges as a compelling choice for a touch of luxury in the crossover experience.