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Quick Drive: 2021 Mazda CX-30 Premium AWD


William Maley

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  • The CX-30 certainly takes the cake for being visually distinctive. The flowing lines, taut proportions, and certain design traits like the narrow headlights make for an expressive model.
  • There is a major downside to the CX-30's design; outward visibility. Due to the low roofline and thick c-pillars, rear visibility can be best described as looking out of a mailbox slot. Thankfully, all CX-30s  get a backup camera, and Premium models and above get blind-spot monitoring.
  • Inside, Mazda may have crafted the best interior for the subcompact crossover class. It is a simple design, but the use of premium materials helps elevate it. The positioning of the various controls also deserves praise as they are within easy reach.
  • An 8.8-inch screen running Mazda's new infotainment system is standard on all models. Unlike the previous system where you had the choice of using either a touchscreen or control knob, Mazda has decided to only use the knob. This decision does mean doing various tasks will take a few extra steps. But I didn't mind so much as the interface is easy to navigate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.
  • While those sitting in the front will find plenty of space to find that comfortable position, those in the back will not be so lucky. Head and legroom is tight for most people.
  • Cargo space is about average for the class, measuring 20.2 cubic feet. 
  • Most CX-30s will come equipped with 2.5L four-cylinder producing 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and in my tester, all-wheel drive. Those looking for more power can step up to the turbocharged version with 250 hp.
  • The base engine is perfectly suited for most driving situations with power being available when needed. The six-speed automatic is very smart and knows when to up or downshift depending on the situation.
  • My only issue is that I wished Mazda did a little bit more work on the engine's NVH levels. Found it to be somewhat high during moderate to hard acceleration.
  • Fuel economy for the CX-30 AWD is rated at 24 City/31 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the landed at just over 28 MPG.
  • For driving enjoyment, the CX-30 cannot be beaten. Minimal body roll and sharp steering will make anyone grin on a winding road.
  • The downside to the fun driving is a stiff ride. Over various bumps and potholes, the CX-30's suspension isn't fully able to cope with minimizing the impacts.
  • The CX-30 is slightly more expensive than other models in the class with a starting price of $23,225 for a base front-wheel drive model. But you do a lot of standard equipment such as LED lighting, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and rain-sensing wipers. My Premium AWD tester comes in at $31,700 with the destination charge. Again, a bit expensive, but Mazda does include a lot of features for the money. The Premium gets a heads-up display, adaptive front lights, leather seats, 12-speaker Bose audio system, and a power liftgate.
  • When my week with the CX-30 was coming to a close, I found myself feeling very split. On one hand, the CX-30 has a design that stands out, impressive handling, and an interior that makes it feel more expensive than it is. But the poor rear visibility, firm ride, and high price put it right in the mid-pack of a growing and competitive segment.

Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the CX-30, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2021
Make: Mazda
Model: CX-30
Trim: Premium AWD
Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-valve Skyactiv-G four-cylinder
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 186 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 186 @ 4,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/31/26
Curb Weight: 3,388 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
Base Price: $29,950
As Tested Price: $31,700 (Includes $1,100.00 Destination Charge)

Options:
Frameless Auto-dim Mirror w/Homelink - $375.00
Cargo Cover - $150.00
Floor Mats, All-Weather - $125.00


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15 hours ago, balthazar said:

Curious; what specifically do you find "take's the cake, visually unique" about it?

He kind of said exactly why immediately after saying it was "visually distinctive".

" The CX-30 certainly takes the cake for being visually distinctive. The flowing lines, taut proportions, and certain design traits like the narrow headlights make for an expressive model. "

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Coworker has one.  Looks nice, but i hear its tight inside.

It's nice at first, but I don't tend to dig Mazdas like others do.

Encore GX is a competitor except the Encore GX is sporting a 3 cylinder Mary special for similar prices.  Mazda has the turbo available?  Encore GX should at least have the 1.5 cylinder turbo four available as an option; to even have a chance of matching the powertrains of the CX-30.

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As one that like CUV/SUV/Trucks, this is a big MEH to me and the interior is way to blah minimalist for me, some will like it though I am sure.

Mazda like Toyota has a design style that does nothing for me and for sure does not make me want to own one.

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30 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

Both the Encore GX and this CX-30 need a turbo 4cyl engine.  The current engine seems too weak. 

They both have turbo 4-cylinder engines as options. The GS get their 1.3 turbo and the CX-30 has their 2.5 turbo as an option

EDIT: I didn't know both 1.2T and 1.3T engines in the Encore GX are 3-cylinders so I guess the Buick does not get a turbo-4. 

CX-30.JPG

Buick GX.JPG

Edited by ccap41
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On 11/20/2021 at 5:09 PM, David said:

As one that like CUV/SUV/Trucks, this is a big MEH to me and the interior is way to blah minimalist for me, some will like it though I am sure.

Mazda like Toyota has a design style that does nothing for me and for sure does not make me want to own one.

For somebody who rants and raves about Rivan and loves this interior. 

1501453490_RivianInterior.thumb.jpg.cf4c93dddc6a1a1702cca296df532c99.jpg

But then says this is too minimalist... 

1341608298_2021MazdaCX-30PremiumAWD7.thumb.jpg.740ebf2d1a55d4b27754404b8b737c7b.jpg

...just doesn't really make any sense to me. 

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5 hours ago, ccap41 said:

For somebody who rants and raves about Rivan and loves this interior. 

1501453490_RivianInterior.thumb.jpg.cf4c93dddc6a1a1702cca296df532c99.jpg

But then says this is too minimalist... 

1341608298_2021MazdaCX-30PremiumAWD7.thumb.jpg.740ebf2d1a55d4b27754404b8b737c7b.jpg

...just doesn't really make any sense to me. 

Big difference to me that I visually see as the Rivian at least truly say it is a mid to upper level trim, the Mazda says I have a cheap interior of plastic and give you this big piece of plastic dash.

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20 hours ago, David said:

Big difference to me that I visually see as the Rivian at least truly say it is a mid to upper level trim, the Mazda says I have a cheap interior of plastic and give you this big piece of plastic dash.

Apples and oranges, though...the Rivian costs more than twice what the Mazda does.  The Mazda is quite nice for a cheap CUV. 

Edited by Robert Hall
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3 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

Apples and oranges, though...the Rivian costs more than twice what the Mazda does.  The Mazda is quite nice for a cheap CUV. 

And there is the FAILURE of Mazda, they call it a Premium CUV and that Mazda is about Luxury, not Toyota, Chevrolet or Honda level. This is a failure of Mazda to have a cheap interior with a premium label on it. Deceptive IMHO.

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6 minutes ago, David said:

And there is the FAILURE of Mazda, they call it a Premium CUV and that Mazda is about Luxury, not Toyota, Chevrolet or Honda level. This is a failure of Mazda to have a cheap interior with a premium label on it. Deceptive IMHO.

Looks a lot better than the gray plastic in Chevys, Toyotas, etc.. it's sort of at Acura or Buick level...

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