2023 Mazda CX-30

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2023 Mazda CX-30 Review: Improving On Perfection

Among its peers in the compact crossover SUV market segment, the Mazda CX-30 stands out for its fun-to-drive nature and upmarket interior. This should be even more true for the 2023 model, as the base engine receives a slight output boost and brings a notable efficiency improvement as a bonus. This takes the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter unit to 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, an increase of five hp over last year's model. There is a turbocharged engine on offer, however, that makes up to 250 hp. Built on the same platform as the Mazda 3, the CX-30 is a hoot to drive.

But the segment isn't a quiet one, and competitors to the Mazda CX-30 include the Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen Taos, and Kia Seltos, all highly-rated too. But the CX-30 makes a very strong case for itself, even in the company of such accomplished opponents. While the Mazda's rear seating area is on the smaller side and its trunk isn't overly large in comparison to these opponents, it compensates with excellent driving dynamics, a really nice cabin, and a good value proposition.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 9 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2023 Mazda CX-30 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 CX-30?

The Mazda CX-30 range is slimmed down to seven trim levels for 2023, and the most-important news involves the addition of rear side airbags, rear seat belt pretensioners, reinforced B- and C-pillars, and fitment of a shin pad to all door trims. These improvements are intended to maintain its Top Safety Pick+ status in the latest IIHS crash test protocols.

The other noteworthy change for 2023 is an upgrade to the non-turbo engine, which gives it a smidge more power as well as improved fuel economy. Its output is only up by five horsepower, but its EPA figures have increased by two miles per gallon in all three test scenarios, now registering 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. Buyers in the USA can still expect reasonable pricing for the 2023 CX-30.

Pros and Cons

  • Interior design and build quality is excellent for its market segment
  • Potent turbo engine gives lively performance
  • Lots of standard safety equipment
  • Enjoyable driving dynamics
  • Rear-seat space is limited and the cargo volume is on the small side
  • Standard engine has good power on paper, but is gives lethargic performance
  • Poor outward visibility to the rear and rear three-quarter areas

What's the Price of the 2022 Mazda CX-30?

The entry-level 2.5 S carries a base price of $22,950 while the 2.5 S Select costs $25,250. The mid-tier 2.5 S Preferred goes on sale for $28,220, and the new Carbon Edition begins at $29,290. The final model with the naturally-aspirated engine is the 2.5 S Premium at $31,500.

The 2.5 Turbo Premium starts at $33,800. It can be upgraded to the Turbo Premium Plus, which has the highest base price of $35,400. These are MSRP figures and do not include tax, registration, licensing, or Mazda's $1,275 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2023 Mazda CX-30

2023 Mazda CX-30 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5 S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Select Package
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Preferred Package
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Carbon Edition
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.5 S Premium Package
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Mazda CX-30 Trims and Specs

2023 Mazda CX-30 Handling and Driving Impressions

Regardless of the engine under the hood, the Mazda CX-30 is very enjoyable to drive. This may be one of the best-handling compact crossover SUVs out there, with immediate responses to steering inputs, well-balanced behavior at its high grip limits, and controlled body motions in sudden direction changes. It drives more like a hot hatch than a small SUV but doesn't incur severe ride comfort compromises in doing so. A minor point of criticism is that the suspension may be too firm for buyers of the non-turbo variants, but not quite firm enough to fully contain all the performance on tap from the turbo engine.

The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is a bit limp at low engine speeds, and needs to be wound up tightly to deliver its outputs. This is emphasized by a transmission that's programmed for efficiency rather than performance, resulting in rather gentle progress in normal driving. The turbocharged version has up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft on tap (a little less if you don't use premium fuel), so it is substantially quicker, and its useful bump in torque output overcomes the languid transmission programming.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Mazda CX-30 A Good SUV?

The new Mazda CX-30 is one of the best compact crossover SUVs currently available, and strongly contends for class honors in a number of areas. It has arguably the nicest interior in its segment, looks more upmarket on the outside than it really is, offers a good balance between ride comfort and great handling, is good fun to drive even in its lower-powered trims, delivers plenty of power when fitted with the turbo engine, and has a very comprehensive standard safety specification and plenty of standard comfort and convenience features for the money. The IIHS's safety review of the 2023 Mazda CX-30 is a feather in its cap.

The CX-30's only downsides are that its rear seat is not as spacious as those of many competitors, and its cargo volume also lags behind the class leaders. But, if your planning doesn't include carting around a full load of large people and all their luggage, you'd do well to take the Mazda CX-30 for a test drive.

What 2022 Mazda CX-30 Model Should I Buy?

The CX-30 is a great deal, no matter which trim you opt for. Even the base model is well-equipped, especially with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the range. However, the turbocharged engine on the 2.5 Turbo models is an extremely tempting proposition. Unfortunately, these models are significantly more expensive, starting at around $33k, so they may not suit every wallet.

If you are on a tighter budget, the mid-tier 2.5 S Preferred would be a great place to start, and you can build on it with navigation and the wireless charging pad while still having some cash left over for one of the premium paint options without the cost of your Mazda CX-30 breaking the $30k mark.

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