Over the years, executives involved in selling vehicles have often stressed a car’s exterior design must capture the attention of the customers, awakening desires they may never know they had.
But with utility vehicles and pickup trucks capturing 75% of the sales volume in the automotive business, it appears the “love at first glance” kind of charisma touted by the industry’s designers has taken a serious and perhaps even fatal hit.
In the compact utility segment, where the 2023 Mazda CX-30 resides, versatility has become the watchword. The excitement around the exterior sheet metal seems to have slipped to second in the importance for practical-minded consumers looking for efficiency, a broad range of features and room for passengers and their packages or gear.
But the Mazda CX-30 more than holds its own against some very tough competition from vehicles such as the popular Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue and Chevrolet Equinox in what has become the auto industry’s most competitive segment.
The CX-30 comes with ample power, with excellent driver assistance features and with a modicum of style, including exterior styling, to help boost its appeal to consumers, who are faced with lots of different choices.
One of the strengths of CX-30 is that it comes with an impressive front face — or fascia — that enhances its overall exterior design. The bold front grille with the Mazda badge is complemented by the sleek sheet metal, curved roof line, which is amplified by the roof rails, and the distinctive rear liftgate that bulges out, breaking up the vehicles basic two-box shape. The design is re-enforced by 18-inch wheels and the LED light fixtures that fit into the vehicles four corners.
I found the CX-30 cabin quite elegant in its simplicity. But it is also designed around the driver so the controls are within easy reach or, in the case of the volume control for the entertainment system, on the steering wheel.
The cabin is also neatly furnished and soft material is used both on the dashboard and on the inner door, which I think enhances the overall comfort of the interior. There also is a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. The only feature out place is the cupholders, which are placed in front of the gear shift lever. The visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent and the quality of the Bose sound system is excellent even on a gravel road.
The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission and an active all-wheel-drive system. The powertrain is capable of 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the CX-30 has a combined fuel economy rating of 25 mpg, including 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. In keeping with Mazda’s intentions to make all of vehicles for “drivers,” the CX-30 also is equipped with multiple drive modes and paddle shifters if the driver wants to override the automatic transmission.
Safety and Technology
The safety features include multiple airbags for protection in front- and side-impact crashes. The 2023 Mazda CX-30 also is equipped with driver assistance features such as blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
It also comes with Bluetooth, Sirius XM radio connection, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, automatic high-beam controls for the LED lights and rain-sensing windshield wipers are part of the package, wireless phone charging, a driver-attention alert, traffic sign recognition and rear-view camera.
The first thing you notice while behind the wheel of the CX-30 is the power of the turbocharged engine. It comes on instantly, builds nicely on the open road, and gives the vehicle an edge in all kinds of traffic.
Mazda has a knack for building solid chassis and suspensions and it is evident in CX-30. The steering of the CX-30 was excellent, I thought, and so were the brakes. The combination of turbocharged power, solid ride and handling and driving dynamics make it practical and fun to drive.
2023 Mazda CX-30 Turbo AWD Premium Specifications
|L: 173 inches/W: 70.7 inches/H: 62.2 inches/Wheelbase: 104.4 inches
|2.5-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic transmission and AWD
|22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined
|227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $22,950; As tested: $36,810 including $1,275 destination charge
Consumers of have a lot of first-rate choices when they are shopping for a compact utility vehicle. The Mazda CX-30, however, offers plenty of power and features while being comfortable for both driver and passengers.
Overall, compact utilities also are a good size for young families, and they fit nicely into both suburban and urban environments where parking can be at premium. Prices of all kinds of vehicles have gone up substantially in the past couple of years and the 2023 Mazda costs more than $36,000, underscoring the price increases, which have forced many potential buyers into the used vehicle market.
2023 Mazda CX-30 Turbo AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 0-to-60 time for a 2023 Mazda CX-30?
The 2023 Mazda CX-30 takes 7.6 seconds with its 2.5-liter I-4 engine under the hood to make the sprint from stop to 60 mph. This engine pumps 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque at your wheel. It is mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission in AWD configuration.
How many miles will a Mazda CX-30 last?
Known for lightweight, fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient cars, Mazdas are reliable and can last up to 200,000 miles.
Does Mazda CX-30 have a touchscreen?
The CX-30 features Mazda’s signature Commander Control knob just below the infotainment touch screen. With just a few clicks, this intuitive knob gives you access to various settings, including audio, navigation, and other vehicle functions.