|✓ Premium interior (and stylish exterior)||☓ Average fuel economy|
|✓ Quick for its class (with the turbo engine)||☓ Tight rear legroom behind a tall driver|
|✓ Athletic handling and supple ride||☓ Rear blind-spot visibility|
|✓ Safety features|
Overview: 2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo (Premium Plus tested)
A premium interior helps set the 2022 Mazda CX-30 SUV apart, and one expects—and gets—Mazda’s fun-to-drive personality from it.
Moreover, this Mazda has an especially lush interior for its class, especially if you select the Premium Plus package with which my test car was equipped. It includes leather trimmed seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and a surround-view camera.
The quiet cabin helps allow comfortable long-distance driving. However, a driver’s over-the-shoulder rear vision is marginal—use those outside mirrors!
Rivals of this small SUV include the Nissan Rogue Sport, Subaru Crosstrek and Chevy Trailblazer, but the CX-30 has them beat on styling and athletic ability. Helping set apart the turbocharged CX-30 I drove were 18-inch black alloy wheels, a black front grille and chromed dual exhaust tips.
The price of a standard non-turbo CX-30 is $22,050, and all versions now have standard AWD. My test turbocharged CX-30’s list price with the Premium Plus package is $34,400. Options and freight brought it to $35,345, all-in.
Comfort and features
The CX-30 Turbo I drove had first-rate materials, excellent fit and finish, soft-touch surfaces, a nicely designed instrument panel and heated front seats. There also was a power glass sliding moonroof, Bose premium 12-speaker audio system and power window and outside mirror controls that allow quick driver operation. All side windows slide all the way down, which is a nice surprise with modern crossovers.
There’s room for four 6-footers in this 173-inch-long vehicle, but even an average-size rear passenger behind a tall driver with his (or her) seat shoved all the way back will want more legroom. The middle of the back seat isn’t comfortable for a fifth adult and is best left to the fold-down armrest with twin cupholders. Installing a child car seat isn’t difficult.
The cargo area is large, and fold-down rear seatbacks significantly enlarge that area. The power rear hatch has an inside release, besides one on the key fob.
There’s a fair amount of storage areas in the rather snug cabin, including long but slim door pockets and a covered center console bin.
The driver’s seat is extra supportive and has a power lumbar support. The front passenger seat has manual adjustments, with no power operation. There’s also a push-button start, dual climate control, illuminated vanity mirrors, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and paddle shifters for the transmission, which also can be shifted manually with the transmission lever.
The infotainment 8.8-inch color display screen is controlled by a console rotary knob and can be frustrating to use because too many steps are needed to complete simple tasks. A touch-screen would be preferred. However, there are manual dashboard controls for such things as the climate control system. A multi-information display tells of such things as the outside temperature and current and average fuel economy.
Performance, ride and handling are where the CX-30 Turbo shines
The standard non-turbo CX-30 has an adequate 2.5-liter, 186-horsepower four-cylinder, but I drove the turbocharged 2.5 four-cylinder version. It produces 227 horsepower with 87-octane fuel and 250 horsepower and more torque with 91 (or more) octane premium gasoline in its rather small 12.7-gallon tank.
Estimated fuel economy the CX-30 turbo is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on highways, which is average for a vehicle in its class.
Acceleration of the 3,294-pound CX-30 Turbo is strong, and a driver can select “Normal” or “Sport” driving modes with the flick of a console switch. The CX-30 turbo has livelier acceleration in “Sport” mode, but this mode lowers fuel economy because of increased engine revs. The engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission that upshifts quickly for the best MPG.
The electric power steering is quick and nicely weighted. It firms up on highways when the CX-30 turbo is in Sport mode. The ride is supple, and handling is athletic with G-Vector control, the AWD system and dynamic stability and traction controls. The all-disc brakes assure quick stops and are controlled by an easily modulated pedal with a firm, high engagement.
Safety features include radar cruise control, lane-departure warning system, lane-keep assist, driver attention alert, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic on/off headlights, traffic sign recognition, rear parking sensors, tire-pressure monitoring system, ”smart brake support” and LED headlights and taillights.
For some, the turbocharged Mazda CX-30 promises to fill the need for a not-too-big and not-too-small sporty SUV with lots of flair. See the video below for more on the CX-30: