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There for a while we were starting to wonder if Mazda would ever catch on to the turbo exultant ways of the modern era. While we all enjoy basking in high MPG ratings, we also like to have our cars with a little oomph in its get along. Luckily Mazda’s latest turbo mojo is making its way through their lineup and the CX-30 is next on the transplant list.

First introduced in the large three-row CX-9 family hauler, the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine has been trickling down the line finding its way in into the heart and soul of nearly every Mazda including the Mazda6, Mazda3, CX-5 and now we see it here, in their sub-compact CX-30 crossover. Putting it nearly in a league of its own competing against crossovers like the Kia Seltos, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Toyota C-HR and Volkswagen Toas, the CX-30 starts to tear down a road that may just make it too good for its own britches.

The CX-30 comes standard with a 2.5-liter natural aspirated four-cylinder rated for 186-horsepower with front-wheel or all-wheel drive form. We sampled an all-wheel drive version in the early part of 2020 that had the CX-30 feeling more expensive than what it was. So you can imagine how different we felt after getting behind the wheel of a gleeful 250-horsepower, 320 lbs-ft of torque rascal.

Pulling in a near 6-seconds to 60-mph, its impressive how many smiles this little machine can generate. Utilizing a six-speed automatic is starting to seem a bit old fashion compared to some of the 7, 8, and 9-speeds out there, but it handles the performance with an eager-to-please fashion. The shift points aren’t exactly the quickest, but it’s also not like we’re on a race track – the gearing is smooth and quick enough for the day-to-day run of the mill.

The problem with the CX-30 isn’t that it’s just quick, its hot hatch quick, putting shame to those crossovers it rivals with. And the problem with laying down that much power falls to having all-wheel drive. Luckily the CX-30 has all of that covered with its fantastically engineered torque-vectoring Skyativ-G all-wheel drive system that mitigates all of that power flow efficiently, maximizing its performance output. It makes handling the CX-30 in out of traffic junctions like it’s a low-slung sports car darting around hairpin turns.

Stepping into the turbo variant isn’t exactly for the cost conscious consumer. The entry level 2.5 Turbo starts at $30,200 while our top trimmed sampler Premium Plus carries a starting sticker of $34,400. Plus, all turbo models come standard with that aforementioned Skyactiv-G all-wheel drive.

Moving into the turbo reigns of the CX-30 doesn’t change much of the exterior presence apart from the Turbo badge on the trunk lid. It continues to carry a handsome, yet rugged approach with its lower profile black cladding with a premium esthetics with its chrome grille and LED headlights. 

The same suit follows into the interior where we find a nice premium setting. This top tier Premium Plus has all the right tricks of a mid-30-grand crossover with comfortable leather, heated seats, power adjustable driver seat with two memory settings, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and all the new advance safety equipment like adaptive cruise control with emergency braking assist, lane departure warning with assist, and 360-degree camera with rear cross traffic detection. Space on the other hand is not the CX-30’s forte as the back seat can be a little more snug with sub-compact roots but cargo capacity is adequately sized and even more so with the rear seats folded.

With our sampled CX-30’s MSRP rolling out the door at $35,750, it starts to enter a new field of competitors, leaving behind the below $30,000 Chevrolet, Kia and Toyota crowd and into the world of the BMW X1, Mini Cooper S Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA that all start around $35,000, granted, they don’t come standard with all-wheel drive and their pricing starts where the Mazda tops out at. While we do like that Mazda is bringing its zoomin’ nature back, it sure does come with at price, but sometimes that price is worth paying when it brings you this many cheerful delights wrapped in a premium setting.  


Vehicle: 2022 Mazda CX-30 Premium Plus AWD Turbo
Base Price: $30,200
As-Tested Price: $34,400


Engine: 2.5-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder
Horsepower | Torque: 250-Horsepower | 320 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 22 | 30 | 25 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 13.4-MPG Combined
Fuel Range: 250 miles
0-60 MPH: ±6.0-seconds

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