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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Mazda CX-30 Turbo review: The almost hot hatch

The compact CX-30 is one of the finest driving crossovers ever

2024 Mazda cx-30 turbo review | The Road Beat

2024 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus review by The Road Beat

Words and pictures: Mitchell Weitzman

Nearing perfection is what makes the Mazda CX-30 Turbo almost annoying. All of the surface level strengths that make this crossover so splendid also can frustrate, not out of demerit, but because of how tantalizingly close Mazda has come to sublimity in this ultra-competitive space. Where it matters, though, CX-30 overdelivers: the looks are there, it's surprisingly luxurious, powerful, and handling prowess all prove this is the compact to beat.

Starting with the positives, Mazda's design language might be familiar, but it is in no way, shape, or form even remotely dated, as the CX-30 still looks sharp and fresh like it was carved by a shogun. But, this is more than just a pretty face, as my fully-loaded test example has a bona fide luxurious interior that trounces contemporary competitors from all corners of the world. In many aspects, this cabin is closer to a Lexus in quality than a Toyota; it's that nice. Being a compact crossover, space isn't exactly abundant in the rear seats, but it's enough for kids or adults on a short drive, and with decent enough space in the cargo hold for light luggage or a small husky even.

2024 Mazda CX-30 Turbo premium plus

What really separates the not-so-modest Mazda is how it goes down a road. With responsive steering and eagerly athletic handling paired to a punchy, turbocharged engine, there are no peers in this price range that drive as good nor are as fun as the CX-30 Turbo. Though it's an upright crossover, the characteristics are not far off from calling it a hot hatch, and has the perfect base groundwork as a foundation to make it a real weapon on backroads. Even as it is, this is an everyday crossover that crosses over into genres that competitors are not capable of. With all the controls being perceived so naturally, this is just how a car ought to drive and behave, and it is shy of amazing how detectable the Mazda difference is. AWD on this model ensures optimal traction, giving a nice turbocharged wallop out of corners without running the risk of understeer. To top it off, the ride quality is still highly acceptable given its relative prowess for cornering.

Powering the CX-30 Turbo is a 2.5-liter inline-four combustion engine that boasts a motivational turbocharger. With 227 horsepower and 310 pounds of torque on regular 87 gas (250 and 320 when filled with premium, as per Mazda), this undercover pocket rocket scoots to 60 MPH from rest in a hair over six seconds. As far as four-bangers go, which are typically errant rackets of reckless vibrations, this SkyActiv unit is reasonably smooth and makes a grunty noise that sounds performance-oriented at least. Throttle response impresses for a turbo engine, but the six-speed automatic is feeling its age a little these days, with slower shifts than the most recent eight-speed automatics found in other cars. However, the transmission is at least very smooth and transparent when doing its daily business. Another knock is when it comes to fuel mileage, as this turbo-four drinks gasoline to the tune of 25 MPG, not blatantly terrible, but also not impressive for a vehicle this compact.

2024 mazda cx-30 interior

Some literal knocks? The exterior door handles make a hollow and loud sound with each use, which makes them feel fragile and cheap in a way. Inside the Mazda, with the transmission in drive, the shift boot crinkles and folds over, nearly touching the rotary knob that controls the infotainment. In turn, when you rotate the large dial, your fingers will graze the shift boot. The infotainment itself is not a touchscreen and some of the pages can be cumbersome to navigate through with the given method of use. Apple CarPlay is available, but again must be used via the main dial, which CarPlay is definitely meant to be used as a touchscreen. There's also the annoying, blaring alarm that goes off seemingly endlessly if you start the CX-30 without either your seatbelt fastened and your door closed. Are these complaints trivial? For the most part yes, but they do stop the Mazda from being impossibly perfect.

What is harder to hide is the premium price attached to this Premium Plus trim: $38,175. If you're thinking that that sounds like a lot, it is. You do get what you pay for at least in this instance, as this particular CX-30 is miles ahead of contemporary rivals when it comes to interior finishing and the lush materials used; You won't ever mistake a Honda HR-V for a luxury car, but you can easily believe the CX-30 to be.

No matter which way you spin it, the CX-30 Turbo remains a phenomenal crossover. More luxurious and with higher-performance than any of its rivals from Honda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, and more, it's also more expensive given its merits and adornments. You can easily just about call it a luxury car based on the fine furnishings inside. In fact, perhaps the closest real comparison is to BMW's X1, and then it seems like a bargain while doing lots of things so similarly. If you can make the compact nature of the CX-30 work for you, it is a car you can drive every day, in any environment, and enjoy doing so.

2024 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus AWD

Price as-tested: $38,175

Pros: Performance and fun to drive; Luxurious interior

Cons: You have to pay for the best


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