2022 Mazda CX-30 Review

2022 Mazda CX-30 - Mazda CX-30 sleek, fun and practical


2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus

Price: $34,400

Pros—Curvaceous. Fairly roomy. Premium interior. Quick. Athletic. Supple ride. AWD. Safety features.

Cons—Average fuel economy. Tight behind tall driver. Rear blind spots.

Bottom Line—Upscale, fun-to-drive small SUV. Premium fuel needed for most power. Touchy infotainment system.

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.

Rivals of this small SUV include the Nissan Rogue and Subaru Crosstrek, 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.

Moreover, this Mazda has an especially lush interior for its class, especially with the optional 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!

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 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 was  $34,400. Options and freight brought it to $35,345.  

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.

The driver’s seat is extra supportive and has a power lumbar support. (The front passenger seat has manual 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.

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 fuel economy.

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.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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