2020 Mazda CX-30: What's It Like to Live With?
After a year, the CX-30 confirmed our initial impressions. This was one of our favorite pint-sized SUVs.
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Latest Highlights (updated 10/27/21)
- One of the most fun-to-drive small SUVs out there
- Not to mention practical and affordable
- We'd recommend the CX-30 without reservation
- Specify the turbocharged engine to maximize your smiles per mile
"What a difference an engine makes. It wasn't an option for our 2020 model, but the 2021 Mazda CX-30 is available with the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that you can find in just about every other Mazda product. What feels good in the three-row CX-9 is absolutely dynamite in the pint-sized CX-30.
In Edmunds' testing, a CX-30 with the standard engine and all-wheel drive accelerated from 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is a full second quicker than class-average. But the turbocharged version sprints to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds. That makes it far and away the quickest subcompact SUV we've tested — the turbocharged Hyundai Kona comes closest at 7.2 seconds.
If you're looking for a small crossover with a bit more pep than others, or are considering a wallet-friendly alternative to a luxury subcompact SUV, the Mazda CX-30 Turbo is undoubtedly the way to go." — Cameron Rogers, news and reviews editor
"I usually don't like small crossovers, but I'm cool with the CX-30, and the standard 186-horsepower 2.5-liter engine is a big reason why. Just look around this segment and try to find a better base engine. Hyundai Kona? Most models come with a 2.0-liter unit that makes a meager 147 hp. Honda HR-V? You're looking at 1.8 liters and 141 hp. Driving around in those little runabouts, the performance deficit is palpable — you feel it every time you prod the accelerator for more oomph and realize it's already floored. But the CX-30 doesn't have that problem. It gets off the line smartly and doesn't let up, holding passing power in reserve even at highway speeds. That's no great surprise, of course, since the CX-30's engine is borrowed from the larger CX-5. But it really helps set this Mazda apart from its generally underpowered peers." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy
"I'm in the market for a new car, and the CX-30 has been on my short list ever since I took it on a long road trip last December. Here's my inner debate: Sometimes I feel cramped inside this small crossover, and sometimes not. Maybe it's the mood I'm in or how I slept the night before, but it seems like it's 50/50 on my daily commute of an hour each way. I'm 6-foot-1 with a freakishly long torso. My hair brushes the roof with the seat all the way down. If I wear a baseball hat I don't notice it as much, but I'm still only a quarter-inch away from the headliner. Mind you, our CX-30 Premium has a sunroof that cuts into headroom just a bit. I love a sunroof in concept, but I also hate bonking my head. Sadly, the moonroof comes with the Preferred and Premium packages, as well as the Turbo trim. Since my ideal CX-30 is one of the better-equipped models, I'd have to choose between missing out on some desirable features or wearing head protection." — John Adolph, supervising producer
"For the most part, our CX-30 has an agreeable ride quality. The suspension tuning is firm, so you'll definitely notice bumps and ruts. But that firm tuning also provides the CX-30 with sharp handling manners, and that's a trade-off I'm perfectly fine with. As extra-small SUVs go, the CX-30 is certainly comfortable enough on long drives. I've put in a few multi-hour stints behind the wheel and found the driver's seat to be comfortable, too." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"Navigating through Apple CarPlay with the CX-30's dial controller is definitely an inferior experience compared to using a touchscreen. I thought I would get used to it, but I found the operation much less user-friendly than in touchscreen-equipped rivals. I hope Mazda goes back to a touchscreen at some point. This latest infotainment interface is a step backwards." — Jonathan Elfalan, senior manager, test team
"The infotainment dial is the defining feature of the CX-30's interior. It's the only way to control the 8.8-inch display screen, as Mazda declined to include a touchscreen function. Personally? I love a good dial. This one is perfectly placed, it fits right within my natural grip, and moving it around delivers satisfying clicks with quick response on the screen. Best of all, I don't have to interrupt my sitting position. To me, that's an underrated luxury feature — the ability to sit comfortably, undisturbed, and still use the screen. Instead of leaning and twisting to reach a touchscreen, it's almost like having the screen come to you. Big plus." — Ryan ZumMallen, reviews editor