Consumers looking for a subcompact crossover have a few good choices to consider.
As Mazda marches moving their entire lineup upscale, they are doing so while retaining the sporty driving dynamics and cohesive interior design that have won over consumers and journalists alike. During this period, they have also expanded their crossover lineup and in doing so, moving beyond the CX-3 that is just too small to be any real threat in the segment. This is the 2022 Mazda CX-30 GT AWD, which brings the battle directly to the competition.
Depending on your CX-30 trim, there are three different engines available for consumers to choose. While subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V make do with just one engine choice, Mazda has decided they can do better with three. Base CX-30s come with a 2.0-liter 155-horse mill under the hood, but jumping to the GS or GT like our tester bumps this to a 2.5-liter 186-horsepower engine, with 186 lb-ft. Those looking for even more power can jump into the CX-30 Turbo, with 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft. under its belt.
Our CX-30 GT tester with its 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four is just perfect for the majority of buyers, and we consider it sufficient. There’s enough power to get in and out of city traffic, but on the highway the six-speed automatic does feel a bit strained. The CX-30 needs to be revved up higher into the power band unlike some of its competition. The six-speed unit is adequate, however Mazda really does need to get an eight or nine-speed unit to remain competitive.
Thankfully, handling and ride are both trademark Mazda. This is where the CX30 separates itself from other subcompact sport utility vehicles. Yes, the Hyundai Kona is sporty and fun but can be considered too stiff and frankly, too small for some buyers. The Mazda CX-30 is completely tossable yet composed regardless of the setting. Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control is quite evident when called upon, maintaining excellent balance as it goes along the road.
Inside our GT trim, we are treated to a rich looking interior with a mix of black and brown leather surfaces. As with all Mazdas, the interior is primarily focused on the driver with everything easily within touch. Analog gauges are standard fare while digital setups seem to be all the rage at this point. Luckily, the instrument cluster are crisp and clean to help elevate the look. Even though the CX-30’s underpinnings are derived from the Mazda3, there is slightly more interior space for occupants.
Sadly, the infotainment setup here remains fairly frustrating. The rotary controller requires drivers to take their focus off the road, and certain functions require multiple steps as frustrating as they are in other Mazda’s. The rotary controller requires you to take your focus off the drive and certain functions require several steps when it takes two at most in some of the best user interfaces from Stellantis or Kia. Standard Android Auto and Apple Carplay do help and the 12 speaker Bose sound system standard on our GT model does sound great.
Cargo space behind the rear seats is an impressive 572 litres and with the second row seats down, this expands to 1280 litres. This trails the very usable Subaru Crosstrek in both figures. Rear seat accommodations are tight due to the raked roofline, but reasonable for two passengers or kids. It’s right about average for the subcompact crossover segment.
Every Mazda should have the Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint optioned and it’s easy to see why. The red is deep, rich and simply pops under any sort of lighting. The CX-30’s front and rear fenders are covered by more plastic than its other siblings for a more rugged look. To be honest, it does look like a slightly lifted Mazda3 and that should not be considered a bad thing, since the Mazda3 is considered one of the best looking compact cars currently on the market.
Mazda has the CX-30 rated at 9.9L/100km in the city and 7.7L/100km on the highway. I was able to get a solid 8.4 L/100km during the week in an even mix of city and highway travel. The fuel capacity on our CX-30 GT AWD is 48 litres versus 51 litres on front-wheel-drive models. While turbocharged models run optimally on premium fuel, this GT model runs just fine on 87-octane regular.
The base CX-30 GX in front-drive trim starts at $26,931, and stepping up to all-wheel-drive will set buyers back $28,431. Our GT tester starts at $36,231, and brings with it all of the premium options expected at this price point. All-wheel-drive is standard, and the only option on this trim level (not equipped here) is the turbocharged engine. Mazda’s unlimited mileage warranty is also a standard feature here.
Consumers looking for a subcompact crossover have a few good choices to consider. The Subaru Crosstrek is a great choice, and up there with this 2021 Mazda CX-30 GT AWD as our top picks in the segment. The Mazda takes the lead with its exterior design and substantially more upscale interior. On top of this, it gets the brand’s reputation for quality, resale value and strong warranty. For most people, this is enough.