2024 Mazda CX-30 review: A subcompact SUV with style and performance

Mazda CX-30 (autoblog.com)

Mazda CX-30 (autoblog.com)

Mazda’s 2024 CX-30 offers sleek styling and lively performance, albeit at a premium

Subcompact SUVs have gained popularity due to their combination of a sedan’s practical size with the added utility and height of an SUV. Among these small crossovers, the 2024 Mazda CX-30 stands out as a favorite. Known for its sleek styling, a refined interior that competes with entry-level luxury cars, and lively performance, the CX-30 offers a unique package that sets it apart from its competitors. However, it also comes with some trade-offs, including average fuel efficiency, no hybrid options, a premium price tag compared to rivals, and relatively smaller cargo space.

What’s new for 2024:
The 2024 Mazda CX-30 introduces a new Carbon Turbo trim that offers a more accessible way to get the more powerful engine. This trim also includes a larger 10.25-inch infotainment display with touchscreen functionality for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Additionally, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is now standard across all CX-30 models, along with a new rear-seat passenger reminder feature.

Interior and in-car technology:
The CX-30’s interior stands out in its price range, offering a high-quality, minimalist design. Mazda has reduced visual clutter with fewer switchgear and concealed air vents and door handles. The top trims can be equipped with attractive two-tone color treatments. The interior design, quality, and functionality are impressive for a vehicle in the $20,000-$35,000 price range. The steering wheel is not only aesthetically pleasing but also comfortable to hold and includes intelligently designed buttons for infotainment and cruise control.

Mazda’s infotainment system is controlled via a large dash-top screen and a knob on the center console. It’s not always a touchscreen, as Mazda believes that hunting for touch-operating icons can be distracting. While it may not suit everyone’s preference, the system is designed for ease of use. For 2024, touchscreen functionality is added, but it is available only when using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Passenger and cargo space:
In the subcompact SUV segment, the CX-30 has been overshadowed by slightly larger competitors. It is one of the smallest in this grown-up subcompact category and offers limited space for passengers. While two tall passengers can sit front-to-back on the passenger side, this isn’t feasible on the driver’s side. Fitting a rear-facing child seat in the middle can be challenging.

The CX-30’s cargo space with the rear seats up is 20.2 cubic feet, which is below the segment’s average. However, its height provides the advantage of accommodating an additional suitcase compared to the Mazda3 hatchback. While it has less luggage space compared to mainstream rivals, it outperforms luxury subcompacts like the BMW X2 and Audi Q3.

Performance and fuel economy:
All CX-30 models feature all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, offering a choice of two engines:

CX-30 2.5 S: Equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four engine producing 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. This engine offers more power than most competitors but results in average fuel efficiency. The estimated fuel economy for 2024 is 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.
Turbo Engine: Available for the CX-30, a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four engine generates impressive power. It produces 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on regular gas, and even more—250 hp and 320 lb-ft—with 93 octane fuel. The fuel economy is similar to the base engine at 22/30/25 mpg.
Driving Experience:
The Mazda CX-30 offers an engaging driving experience that sets it apart from its competitors. It provides excellent feedback through the steering wheel, throttle pedal, and the seat. While it may have lost some agility due to its taller stature compared to the Mazda3, the CX-30 delivers a highly engaging driving experience that surpasses all SUVs in its price range. The available turbo engine enhances the luxury and performance of the CX-30, making it the engine of choice for enthusiasts. The base engine is also a strong performer, offering power, responsive throttle, and a smart transmission.

The 2024 Mazda CX-30 offers a unique blend of sleek styling, a refined interior, and spirited performance that makes it stand out in the subcompact SUV class. However, it comes with some compromises, including average fuel efficiency, limited cargo space, and a higher price compared to its competitors. For those who value driving excitement and distinctive style, the CX-30 remains a top choice, but buyers seeking more utility and fuel efficiency may find better alternatives in the segment.