2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo Premium Package AWD - Review By David Colman +VIDEO
Just a skosh away from greatness
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
A huge $12,000 price range covers all 7 models of the CX-30 offered by Mazda. The less expensive, normally aspirated 187hp models start with the 2.5S at $22,050, followed by the Select ($24,050), the Preferred ($26,450) and the Premium ($28,700). Moving up to the 250hp turbo will cost you a minimum of $30,050 for the 2.5 Turbo. The more fully optioned 2.5Turbo Premium runs $32,450. The subject of this test, the top of the line 2.5 Turbo with Premium Package and AWD, carries a base price of $33,900. The CX-30, with 8 inches of ground clearance, is an SUV-like conversion of the frisky Mazda3 sedan. The CX-30 bridges the SUV gap between the company's petite CX-3 and more sizeable CX-5. At an all-in price of $35,400 the top echelon CX-30 is a winner.
However, our first climb into the cabin of the CX-30 was marked by the unfortunate collision of our head with this Mazda's surprisingly low 62 inch roofline. As Ronald Reagan said, "I forgot to duck." Although the CX-30 wins a 5 Star Side Crash Rating from the government, that assessment does not extend to numb skull side crashes like mine. Once you're seated in the cabin, you also notice that the high exterior beltline makes for a tall interior door panel coupled to a short side window height. If you're in the habit of placing your elbow along the door top when the window is down you'll find you're sitting too low here to perform the maneuver. After a few miles, however, you become accustomed to these spatial disparities and come to grips with what a fine performer Mazda has crafted with the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged CX-30.
With 250hp and 310lb.-ft. of torque, the turbo Mazda is fast enough to make you a confident pilot in any circumstance that might arise. It will cut a 5.9 second 0-60mph time, as well as a 14.5 second standing start quarter mile. Top speed runs out at 125mph. This turbo version of the CX-30 is new for 2021, and far superior to the performance of the anemic 187hp non-turbo version. A 6-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddles controls shift duties, and Mazda fits their top model with piano black 18 inch alloys fitted with very competent Bridgestone Turanza EL 440 radials (215/55R18) that get a grip on things without a squeal of protest.
Mazda utilizes an intelligent all-wheel-drive system called i-Activ AWD that operates in concert with a traction apportioning system called G-Vectoring Plus. GVP makes precise adjustments to power delivery and braking in order to shift vehicle weight to the tire with the most traction at any given instant. On a very curvy backroad dampened by a recent rain, this system proved uncannily accurate and confidence-inspiring. No matter how hard we pressed our CX-30, it refused to lose grip in the very difficult conditions. It proved itself as stunningly stable as Mazda's yardstick MX-5 Miata for bad weather canyon bashing.
Yet unlike the tiny, storage-bereft Miata, the CX-30 makes the case for itself as a sensible form of everyday transport. With its automated tailgate, this Mazda facilitates loading and unloading up to 20 cubic feet of cargo with the press of a button, either on the fob remote, the dash or the tailgate itself. In addition to that handy power liftgate, the Premium Package endows the CX-30 with a raft of items you would never expect to find in this price range, such as rain sensing wipers, a Bose 12 speaker stereo system, a heated leather steering wheel, adaptive front lighting and heated front sport seats tastefully covered in two-tone leatherette.. Cruise control with a stop/go feature works well in rush hour traffic, and ABS with brake assist is particularly effective thanks to 11.6 inch ventilated front discs and 11.9 inch solid rear discs. A bevy of useful safety measures are standard here as well, including lane keep assist which thankfully can be easily engaged or deleted via a dash button. Rear cross traffic alert offers complete emergency brake application.
After many hours spent driving various Mazda vehicles, I am still not sold on the operation of this company's infotainment system control system. It demands way too much of your time and concentration to accomplish the simplest tasks, like changing radio stations and sources. But the rest of this package is so felicitous that you're willing to put up with a bumbling user interface to reap the many other rewards the CX-30 has to offer.
2021 MAZDA CX-30 2.5 TURBO PREMIUM PLUS PACKAGE AWD
- ENGINE: 2.5 liter inline 4 turbocharged and intercooled
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 22MPG City /30MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $35,400
HYPES: Sweet Backroad Burner
GRIPES: Confusing GUI
STAR RATING: 9 Stars out of 10