Some cars can go years without making an appearance in the press fleet. Others show up like clockwork around the same time each year. The Mazda CX-30? I drove the 2021 model in late July and reviewed it here---so it's been about eight months between visits.
There's only been one major change this year---but it's a good one: ALL Mazda CX-30s are now all-wheel drive. Don't think that Mazda's just built you a budget off-roader---the CX-30 hasn't got the ground clearance for that. But there's a payoff in wet weather, light snow and even every day performance as the power now goes to the ground via all four wheels.
Mazda fixed one big shortcoming in the CX-30 last year, when it made the 2.5 turbo four available. There was nothing wrong with the CX-30 that 41 extra horsepower couldn't cure---and that's exactly what this did. 225 horsepower instead of 184. Mazda says if you feed it 93 octane gasoline, it will actually make 250. It's torquey, too---310 lb-ft on 87 octane regular, 320 on the hi-grade stuff. That knocks 0-60 runs in the CX-30 to less than six seconds. If I had one wish left, it would be for more gears. There's still a six-speed automatic in there, which makes the CX-30 less competitive in terms of fuel economy when compared to logical rivals like the Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota C-HR and Kia Seltos at 22 city/30 highway. Handling is terrific, though---which you'd expect from Mazda to begin with, but the CX-30 is equipped with Mazda's G-Vectoring Plus, which adjusts engine torque to steering inputs.
And Mazda continues to do the best interiors in Asian compact imports. This is Audi-level stuff. The infotainment system is still funky---not a touchscreen, but controlled by a knob on the console---but it's less balky than before and now has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The base price of the 2022 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD with the Premium Plus package is $34,400 and it's packed with standard equipment including 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed seats, a full suite of active safety features, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system and a moonroof.
And, Mazda, being one of the manufacturers that believes in very specific content per trim level, stops it there, apart from $125 for a stainless rear bumper guard. So the as-tested price of the 2022 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD with Premium Plus package, including delivery processing and handling fee, is $35,750.
Small crossovers are a hot market segment right now---and giving all CX-30s AWD is a smart move on Mazda's part, making an already desirable vehicle even more so.