Just as this new model from the Japanese brand came out, it has already received a major update. The Mazda CX-30 was introduced last year but it felt a little underpowered even with the larger 2.5L engine. Now, the 2021 Mazda CX-30 is available with a turbocharged engine as well.
Engine – This not-so-new 2.5L turbocharged engine was first seen in the Mazda CX-9. Eventually it found its way throughout a vast majority of Mazda vehicles. It has two power outputs depending on what type of fuel you put in the tank. On regular grade fuel, it produces 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (169 kW & 420 Nm). Pay a bit more for premium fuel and the engine will return 250 hp and 320 lb-ft (186 kW & 434 Nm).
In a crossover that weighs just under 1,600 kg (3,500 lbs), this much power really makes it go. Peak torque is achieved at 2,500 rpms when it’s being fueled by the higher grade explosive juice. The peak torque value is reached 500 rpms sooner if you use regular fuel. This turbocharged engine has exceptional throttle response thanks to the exhaust manifold which accelerates exhaust gasses through a tiny inlet to quickly spool up the turbocharger. At higher rpms, a secondary passage opens up to reduce restriction and provide power throughout the rpm range. It does run a bit out of puff near the redline but how often are you going to be revving the engine that high?
Due to the addition of a turbocharger, fuel economy is a bit worse than the naturally aspirated version of this 2.5L engine. That version can achieve fuel economy figures of 9.5 L/100km (24.8 mpg) in a city and 7.4 L/100km (31.8 mpg) on a highway. With the addition of a turbocharger, the fuel economy figures are now 7.9 L/100km (29.7 MPG) on a highway and 10.5 L/100km (22.4 MPG) in a city. Both of these figures are with AWD.
Transmission – The 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo is only available with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Actually, all engine options are paired with only this 6-speed automatic transmission. Yes, it is an old transmission especially considering that many of its competitors have moved to 7,8,9, or even 10-speed automatics. But while it’s an old transmission, it works beautifully. Shifts are very quick & smooth. Switch it to Sport mode and the computer holds onto the gears for longer, allowing for more spirited drives by keeping the engine in the sweet spot.
Braking – Stopping the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo takes little effort as the brakes provide a lot of stopping force. There is a bit of pitch in the body when braking really hard but the crossover stays straight & true. Automatic emergency braking is not standard on the CX-30 here in Canada – you have to go up a trim level – but it is standard if you’re reading this in the United States.
Handling – The CX-30 shines when it goes around corners. Mazda vehicles are known for being the more sporty options among mainstream auto manufacturers and this new CX-30 is no different. Steering weight and feel is well balanced for everyday commuting but it also feels communicative if that commute happens to go through a twisty mountain road.
Ride Comfort – Just like the handling, the suspension of the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo is well balanced to provide a smooth ride but to also provide a dynamic driving experience. Bumps don’t shake the car too much and you don’t have to play “Minesweeper” when driving over a rougher road.
The seats are supportive and have a generous amount of padding for longer journeys. The driver gets a power adjustable seat but unfortunately the passenger has to make due with a manually adjustable seat even on this top spec trim.
Interior Space – Because the CX-30 is basically a raised Mazda 3, the proportions on the inside are quite similar. Yes, the CX-30 is slightly larger but not in all areas. The Mazda CX-30 has a bit more head room and leg room in the rear seats but it has slightly less leg room in the front seats compared to the Mazda 3 Sport. It’s a similar story in the trunk. The CX-30 only gets 3 extra Liters of cargo volume at 572 L (20.2 cu-ft) compared to the Mazda 3’s 569 L (20.1 cu-ft). Fold the rear seats and the Mazda 3 hatchback has more cargo capacity at 1,334 L (47.1 cu-ft) vs 1,280 L (45.2 cu-ft) for the CX-30.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The cabin of the CX-30 is very well insulated from outside noises. Engine, wind, and tire noises are very well subdued whether you’re in city traffic or on a highway at 100 km/h. The isolated feeling that the CX-30 gives you makes the crossover feel like the premium product that Mazda is aiming for.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The CX-30 has Mazda’s new infotainment system which is much faster and prettier to look at. The 8.8-inch wide screen is not a touchscreen and has to be controlled via the rotary knob on the center console. For the most part, it’s quite intuitive to use however there are one or two instances that are not so intuitive, for example changing the radio station. You’d think it’s just a turn of the large knob but what that actually does is scroll through your favourites menu. The other issue with not having a touchscreen is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were designed to work better with a touchscreen. Other than those two little niggles, the new Mazda infotainment is a big improvement over the last.
Other features that can be found in the Mazda CX-30 include heated seats, power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, a heads-up display, and a full suite of advanced safety features. But as mentioned earlier, in Canada the advanced safety features are only available on the GS and GT trims apart from blind spot sensors which are standard across all trims.
Interior Design – The interior is pretty much the same in design as the Mazda 3. The wide screen at the top of the dashboard is the predominant feature with very simple to use climate controls below it. The center console is home to the infotainment controls along with a couple of cup holders and a sliding armrest. All of the controls are easy to understand as to what they do and they have a very satisfying/premium feeling “click” to them when you use them. The rest of the interior has soft leather almost everywhere you lay your hands on.
Exterior Design – The overall shape of the 2020 Mazda CX-30 is similar to that of the Mazda 3. It has a similar grille, headlights, taillights, and egg-like hatch shape. But to make it look more like a crossover, Mazda decided to put a lot of plastic cladding along the lower parts of the CX-30. This plastic cladding just looks cheap and doesn’t give the CX-30 that premium look that Mazda is going for with their vehicles. The ride height is fine because it makes getting in and out a bit easier than the Mazda 3 but they should have just left it at that without all the plastics.
Mazda also tried to address the poor blind zone visibility of the Mazda 3 hatchback by incorporating a small window in the C-pillar of the CX-30. I can tell you that this little window does nothing for side blind zone visibility. Thankfully blind spot sensors are a standard feature on all Mazda CX-30s.
Warranty – All Mazda vehicles in Canada have a 3 year / unlimited mileage new vehicle warranty. For the powertrain, the warranty is 5 years & unlimited mileage while the anti-perforation warranty is 7 years & unlimited warranty. In the United States, the unlimited mileage portion of the warranty is not applicable. The new vehicle warranty is 3 years / 36,000 miles and powertrain warranty is 5 years / 60,000 miles.
Overall the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo is an excellent small crossover. The 2021 Mazda CX-30 has a starting price of $24,500 CAD ($22,050 USD) which is quite a bit more than other competitors like the Kia Seltos or Chevrolet Trailblazer. However, at the other end of the spectrum, this Turbo engine is only available on the top GT trim which has a $33,850 CAD ($28,700 USD, Premium trim) cost. The Turbo engine itself is a $2,400 CAD premium which puts the CX-30 Turbo at $36,250 CAD ($34,050 USD). Quite a lot of money for a small crossover but in my opinion worth every penny in this class. It is still less expensive than the Lexus UX and while it is more expensive than the top spec Buick Encore GX, the Encore GX requires packages to be added in order to have similar features as the CX-30 Turbo which will put it at the same price. Between those two, the Mazda is the better bet.
Thank you to Mazda Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mazda.ca