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2023 Mazda CX-30 review: Mazda added a little more zip to its subcompact crossover

A very affordable line for all-wheel drive, the 2023 Mazda CX-30 boasts a high-end interior and engaging driving dynamics. Prices start at $22,950.

Mazda MZDAY, -0.65% reinforces the stable crossover with the CX-30 subcompact. Yes, it’s small, but it’s average in size among competitors such as the Kia Seltos 000270, +1.37%, the Chevy Trailblazer and the slightly larger Honda HR-V HMC, +0.46%. Approximately the same price. However, the CX-30 comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD). We like it for its well-made cabin and fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine.

Mazda CX-30 2023 price

Mazda CX-30 Mazda 2023

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 starts at $22,950 for the base 2.5 S trim. For such a small vehicle, the CX-30 offers many trim levels—seven to be exact. We think the 2.5 S Select trim is the best value. Providing many of the standard features, it still costs around $25,000. However, more of you prefer the best-selling 2.5 S Premium class.

With the various trims available, they are decent compare side by side for the discerning SUV shopper.

The listed competitors all cost around $1,500 or more each other, with the more expensive HR-V ($23,650) at the top and the CX-30 at the bottom. If you have your heart set on a Mazda but want something a little bigger, the AWD CX-5 should do the trick at $26,700.

2023 Mazda CX-30 MSRP CX-30 2.5 S $22,950 CX-30 2.5 S Select $25,250 CX-30 2.5 S Preferred $28,220 CX-30 2.5 S Carbon Edition $29,290 CX-30 2.5 S Premium $31,500 CX-30 2.5 Turbo Premium $33,800 CX- 30 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus $35,400

This is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and does not include factory-to-dealer shipping costs of $1,275.

Before buying a CX-30, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Buying Price to see how much you should be paying. The CX-30’s resale value is typical for smaller SUVs. Of our listed competitors, the HR-V tends to hold its mark as the best, but not by much.

See also: The stylish 2023 Mazda3: one of the most fun cars in its class, and starts at just $22,550

What’s new?

Mazda added a bit more zip to the CX-30’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, as well as saving fuel, making it more efficient overall. We give Mazda a big nod for continuing to tinker with what is already a perfect machine. Otherwise, not much would have happened to this little crossover in the middle of its current generation’s life cycle.

Also read: In a tough car market, more and more Americans are turning to this Goldilocks option

Driving the 2023 Mazda CX-30

A small crossover is not the first, second or even third choice for people who really like to drive. Unless it’s a Mazda CX-30.

The same flow, feel, fun, and speed found in Mazda’s other vehicles are all in the CX-30. We believe something better than this might have a BMW BMW, -1.20% badge and a price to match. The steering is very responsive, and the suspension is tuned like a Stradivarius. We’re sure that Mazda had the snaking Dragon Tail roads of Tennessee in mind when engineering this feisty little crossover.

However, this is not a special vehicle. The 2023 CX-30 is easy to drive and use, capable of handling all day-to-day tasks with comfortable efficiency. If we had to think of complaints, we’d prefer Mazda to offer rear parking sensors in some other trims, not just the top version.

premium interiors

Many mainstream manufacturers are stepping up their interior design game, making their cabins look good enough for a premium brand. Mazda has long been ahead of this particular curve and consolidated its position with the CX-30.

High-quality materials are expertly crafted into a simple but pleasing layout, ending with an 8.8-inch infotainment screen which is one of the largest in its class. In the top Premium Plus trim, the quality of the interior rivals that of some luxury SUVs, and the S Carbon Edition comes with unique red leather seats.

It’s smaller than compact crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V, so it certainly doesn’t take up too much space. But adults will enjoy plenty of room up front, and rear legroom averages 36.3 inches, though the Kia Seltos and Honda HR-V have more.

Where the CX-30 falls slightly below average is in its cargo capacity. The Seltos, HR-V, and Trailblazer all have significantly more boot space when the rear seats are folded or attached.

Plus: The new 2023 Honda CR-V aims to excel in many ways. Mission accomplished.

Striking and familiar design

We like that the CX-30 follows the same exterior design approach as the company’s other SUVs/crossovers. That’s fine by us. When the core design works so well, why change classy lines, sleek surfaces, and elegant proportions just for the sake of it?

Replacing the 16-inch wheels on the 2.5 S with 18-inch wheels is another reason we recommend switching to the 2.5 S Select.

Our favorite features and technologies

This has to do with how all the controls relate to the driver, along with things like the seats designed to optimize correct posture and combat fatigue. Mazda has clearly put some of its best minds to work in this area. There are details such as how the navigation information is located, or an amber light indicating when the wipers are in the Auto setting. But they all merge into a general feeling that everything is right.

Driving dynamics
This is the super power of the CX-30, which makes it different from the usual competition. It’s responsive and fun, especially when the turbo engine is in the house. The fun is accessible, but the CX-30 remains a reasonable crossover.

All wheel drive
Every CX-30 comes with AWD. The transparent system transfers engine torque from axle to axle and wheel to wheel, optimizing traction and power delivery.

Driver aid package
Every CX-30 comes with a suite of safety and driver assistance technologies such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane maintenance assistance.

Rain sensing wipers
Standard across the board, this system senses moisture on the windshield and automatically engages the wipers. Wiper speed adjusts to the volume of rain.

Proximity Keyless Entry
One of our mandatory features, this is in Select and all upper trims. The door automatically opens if the key fob is on your person. Push button start is standard on all trim levels.

Engine and transmission

What makes most of the 2023 Mazda CX-30 models — which have the name 2.5 S — use a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. That gets 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque transmitted to all wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. These performance figures far outnumber those of the base Seltos, HR-V, or Trailblazer. For example, the Trailblazer’s 3-cylinder engine produces 137 horsepower.

In our time with the 2.5 S four-banger, we found it more than enough to get the CX-30 not just moving, but moving with enough oomph to make things fun. However, some of us always demand more, right?

To meet this need, Mazda also provides a 2.5-liter turbocharged version. It stocked two CX-30 models with “Turbo” in place of the “S” on their nameplates. It produces 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque on premium petrol. If you save a few cents per gallon at the pump by using regular fuel, the performance figures drop to 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It still makes for a wild ride on the little CX-30.

2.5 liter 4 cylinder (2.5 S)
191 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 186 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Fuel economy: 29 mpg (26 city, 33 highway)

2.5 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder (2.5 Turbo)
250/227 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm (93/87 octane)
320/310 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm (93/87 octane)
Fuel economy: 25 mpg (22 city, 30 highway)

More CX-30 fuel economy information is available at EPA website.

Good safety rating

Mazda CX-30 earns IIHS Top Safety Pick awards for its impeccable ratings in every crashworthiness category.

Be sure to read: How to test drive a car: Your complete checklist

3 year/36,000 mile warranty

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is covered by the automaker’s basic 3 years/36,000 mile warranty, plus 5 years/60,000 miles of powertrain coverage. During the basic warranty period, Mazda also provides 24/7 roadside assistance. This warranty coverage bundle is most common among the CX-30’s competitors; however, Kia and Hyundai provide significantly longer coverage.

KBB car review methodology.

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