Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 Just Beat Out Its Older Sibling for an Impressive Award

Smaller SUVs are popular today for their convenience and versatility. The Mazda CX-30 is a newcomer that’s smaller than the CX-5 and larger than the CX-3. The Mazda CX-30 ticks off most items on consumers’ SUV wishlists in that it’s stylish, comfortable, safe, and loaded with technology.

In fact, the Mazda CX-30 just won an impressive award from Consumer Reports. What’s the award, and how did this subcompact crossover SUV earn it

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 at a glance

Introduced in 2020, the Mazda CX-30 is an enticing newcomer in the subcompact crossover class. With its resemblance to the sharp-looking Mazda3, spirited performance, and interior refinement, the CX-30 is ready to take on the competition.

The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine brings just enough power, and it comes in either a front- or all-wheel-drive configuration. There’s a newly available 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in 2021 that gets 250 hp, making it one of the fastest in the segment, Edmunds reports. The turbo brings a lot more power and comes with AWD. 

And you get a six-speed automatic transmission that picks gears for you based on driving conditions, according to Car and Driver.

The interior is almost luxury-level. Its posh accommodations will give brands like BMW and Audi a run for their money. The 2021 Mazda CX-30 offers a nice selection of standard driver assists. It also comes with a standard 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, and two front USB ports. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration are standard too.

Mazda CX-30 tops this Consumer Reports list

RELATED: Improved Engine Beefs up the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo

Each year, Consumer Reports experts evaluate new vehicles the nonprofit consumer organization has purchased and evaluated. They use their performance tests and member surveys to determine “10 Top Picks of 2021: Best Cars of the Year.” The awards highlight their selections in each category.

For vehicles under $25,000, the folks at CR named the Mazda CX-30 the best in the subcompact SUV category. They believe the CX-30 offers more of an energetic driving experience than its primary competition. Its firm ride and responsive handling are bonuses.

However, the team noticed some engine noise. But the Mazda CX-30’s acceleration makes up for shortcoming and helps it beat most of its rivals. It stands out in a segment dominated by SUVs armed with continuously variable transmissions but no pep. The CX-30’s conventional six-speed transmission shifts nicely and performs well.

The CR team also appreciates the CX-30’s above-average predicted reliability and wealth of standard safety features.

It even won against the CX-5

Considering the Mazda CX-5’s popularity, you might be surprised the award went to the newer CX-30. But maybe you shouldn’t be.

Though Consumer Reports recommends both the CX-30 and CX-5, the latter model earned a better overall score of 83 out of 100. The CX-30 scored a 75 out of 100, and both SUVs received a 5 out of 5 for predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction.

But let’s look a little closer. The 2021 Mazda CX-30 offers better fuel economy, with an admirable 28 mpg overall. It’s not the roomiest SUV, but Consumer Reports appreciates the cabin’s refined finishes and clever storage spaces. 

CR explains that a decked-out CX-30 costs almost as much as a CX-5 with similar features and more room. However, the CX-30 outperforms the CX-5 in driving experience. The smaller Mazda crossover also performs as well as the CX-5 on all IIHS and NHTSA safety tests.

It’s hard to go wrong with the 2021 Mazda CX-30. If you’re looking for a smaller crossover instead of a hatchback or a sedan, the CX-30 should be at the top of your shopping list.