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A Reminder that the "S" in "SUV" Stands for "Sport": The 2024 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD

2024 Mazda CX-30 front 3/4 view

The small crossover SUV is a crowded segment, bursting with solid choices. But---and I've said this before---among the best picks is the Mazda CX-30.

2024 Mazda CX-30 rear 3/4 view

This is not just a full size class below the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V---the CX-30 is a few inches shorter than the Toyota Corolla Cross and the Honda HR-V. The real competitors here are the Kia Niro, the Hyundai Kona, the Nissan Kicks and the Buick Encore GX.

What does the CX-30 have that those others don't? A 2.5 Turbo model.

2024 Mazda CX-30 hood up

2024 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo engine

Even the non-turbo CX-30 has 191 horsepower---a chunk more than the others. Pick the 2.5 turbo and that number goes to 227, with 310 lb-ft of torque. That's on regular gasoline. Pump in 91 octane or higher and output jumps to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft. Where the Mazda can't compete is fuel economy. The EPA combined city/highway average is 25. The others break 30.

But Mazdas have traditionally been the driver's car---remember "zoom-zoom"? This car zooms. Zero to 60 happens in 6.4 seconds.

Wanna fall in love? Do what I did---find 60-ish miles of two-lane roads with plenty of twists and turns. Set the adaptive drive mode to "Sport", put the six-speed automatic transmission in manual and shift with the paddles when the tach hits 5,000 rpm. Mazda's i-ACTIV all-wheel drive and G-Vectoring Control Plus put the power to good use and the handling is nothing less than stellar. It becomes clear quickly that this tiny crossover is built by the same people who build the MX-5 Miata.

2024 Mazda CX-30 rear liftgate open

2024 Mazda CX-30 rear cargo area

As for the practicalities, there's 20.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats---45.2 with them folded down.

2024 Mazda CX-30 rear seat

Mazda says there's 36.3 inches of rear seat legroom. I should note that the front passenger seat is all the way back and slightly reclined.

2024 Mazda CX-30 front seats

2024 Mazda CX-30 front seat detail

2024 Mazda CX-30 instrument panel

And, especially in Premium Plus trim like our tester, the interior is just gorgeous. High-quality materials and workmanship.

The base price of the 2024 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD Premium Plus is $38,175. Yeah, that's a big price tag for a little vehicle. But remember the performance and the interior and then add...

18-inch black alloy wheels, LED headlights, taillights, daytime running lights, adaptive front lighting, a rear roof spoiler, roof rails, power moonroof, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icers, a power rear liftgate, heated side mirrors with tilt in reverse and memory, dual exhaust, leather-trimmed heated front seats (the driver's is power with lumbar and two-position memory), keyless entry, pushbutton start, heated leather steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, paddle shifters, auto-dimming frameless interior mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, overhead console sunglass holder, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, a 10.25 inch center screen, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, navigation, and a comprehensive active safety suite.

2024 Mazda CX-30 steering wheel and instrument cluster

2024 Mazda CX-30 center console

2024 Mazda CX-30 center stack

If you're thinking there can't be much more to put on the car, you're right. The only extra-cost option our test vehicle had was a stainless rear-bumper guard for $135. And that puts the bottom line of the window sticker at $38,310.

2024 Mazda CX-30 front view

2024 Mazda CX-30 side view

2024 Mazda CX-30 rear view

Okay, the price tag is uncomfortably close to $40K. But Mazda isn't about selling cars by the foot or the pound. It's about driving dynamics and, increasingly, premium interiors. And it's hard to fault the CX-30 once you spend some time putting it through its paces.


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