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2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo Review By Larry Nutson

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2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo
A hot-hatch utility

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

I drove the new 2020 Mazda CX-30 about a year ago and explained to readers how it fit in between Mazda’s CX-3 and CX-5 in both size and price. The CX-30 is based on the same platform that also underpins the Mazda3 hatchback and sedan. And, it’s powered by the same “Skyactiv-G” 186-horsepower 2.5-L engine and 6-speed automatic as used in both the Mazda3 and the CX-5.

I also wrote that the CX-30 seems like a much better way to go for most any small and growing family rather than choosing the CX-3. Not to say the CX-3 doesn’t have its merits and place in the world. The CX-3 certainly would serve a young and single, recent college graduate very well. Whereas, the CX-30 offers a bit more space and performance that might suite a young couple or some urban-dwelling active lifestyle empty nesters.

As I began to write this review Mazda announced that the CX-3 will be discontinued for the 2022 model year. Shifting consumer needs and an ever-changing industry drive this change in the Mazda product lineup.

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Mazda has upped its game for 2021 and added a new turbo engine to the CX-30. The Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo engine will deliver 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque with premium (93 octane) fuel or 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque with regular (87 octane) fuel. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic and standard is the i- Activ all-wheel drive system.

EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2.5L turbo are 25 mpg combined with 22 city mpg and 30 highway mpg. Note here that fuel octane will not affect fuel economy.

The 186-hp 2.5L continues to also be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive models. The subcompact-size CX-30 seats five, is 173 inches long…6 inches shorter than the CX- 5, and has 20.2 cu.ft. of cargo space. It’s a Mazda3 with increased ground clearance!

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The CX-30 Turbo has minor visual changes to identify it. A turbo badge, black-finished mirror housings, unique alloy wheels and a larger exhaust pipe are the only clues.

The CX-30 Turbo in its base trim is priced at $29,900. Adding the Premium Package brings it up to $32,300 and a Premium Plus Package is priced $33,900. Delivery fee is $1,100.

Prior to my driving the CX-30 turbo Mazda made a digital Zoom presentation to members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). According to Mazda, this upscale powertrain brings more peak power while delivering a direct and connected driving experience. Additionally, the new turbo-charged engine delivers better traction capabilities with its all-wheel drive system improving the driver’s handling and confidence

I then had a week’s time to drive a Premium Plus CX-30 Turbo fitted with optional cargo cover ($150), all-weather floor mats ($125) and a stainless rear bumper guard ($125) bringing the total to $35,400.

A 360-degree surround-view camera, reverse automatic braking and traffic jam assist are new to the CX-30 and equipped on the Premium Plus. Mazda is all about driving fun and enjoyment. The added performance from the turbo engine, new gearing on the automatic, retuned chassis and higher level of equipment deliver on that. Like all Mazda’s the CX-30 Turbo has a very confident feel on the road, especially when pushed. The CX-30 is very athletic.

The turbo makes the CX-30 very quick with good acceleration and passing power. But you’ll be looking for a windy road to enjoy the top-notch vehicle dynamics. There’s good steering effort with a connected feedback, and a compliant suspension which delivers confident handling and yet, good comfort. Braking is nicely linear when you do need to slow things down.

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The interior of the turbo is very much like the non-turbo CX-30 with its premium look and feel. Overall, the CX-30 is one of the most visually appealing in the segment.

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More facts and figures on the 2020 Mazda CX-30 can be found at

My write-up on the 2020 CX-30 with the 186-hp engine is here which gives you more overall details.

Mazda Connected Services is a standard feature on all CX-30 models. Features are accessed by logging into the MyMazda app. The app allows control the state of CX-30 remotely. This includes being able to remotely lock the doors or remotely start the engine. In the app, CX-30’s status can also be monitored, such as oil information or tire pressure.

© 202 1 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy