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2021 Mazda CX-30 review highlights: 

  • 2021 Mazda CX-30 ($22,050 – $34,050) 
  • ALG Residual Value award for the best residual value in the subcompact utility category – J.D. Power. 
  • Pros: Engaging driving experience with responsive handling, upscale interior quality, and tons of standard tech and safety features are included. 
  • Cons: The non-turbo model is a little lackluster, below-average fuel economy, and the automatic transmission can be clumsy at times. 

Zoom Zoom becomes a personal mantra in the 2021 Mazda CX-30 as driving around curves quickly becomes addicting. The tiny but mighty CX-30 provides convenience and versatility as an agile subcompact SUV. 

It’s slightly larger than the Mazda CX-3, and it’s smaller than the Mazda CX-5. While some may find it a little too small, it’s just right for others. Plus, it checks off tons of boxes such as driver comfort, safety, tech, and a refined yet sporty attitude. 

The Mazda CX-30 rivals luxury crossovers like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, but its price is more closely aligned with less expensive popular subcompact SUVs like Hyundai Kona and Volkswagen Taos. 

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 parked in front of mountains
2021 Mazda CX-30 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

Which 2021 Mazda CX-30 trim is best? 

There are seven Mazda CX-30 trims to choose from: 

  • Mazda CX-30 Base model – $22,050 
  • Mazda CX-30 Select – $24,050 
  • Mazda CX-30 Preferred – $26,450
  • Mazda CX-30 Premium – $28,700
  • Mazda CX-30 Turbo – $30,050 
  • Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium – $32,450
  • Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus – $34,050

The Mazda CX-30 Select trim is one of the best options to consider because it adds plenty of features without adding much to the price. The extra convenience and comfort features include simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring, and a center armrest for rear passengers. You also get tinted rear windows and 18-inch wheels to enhance its look. 

We tested the Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus and enjoyed the standard all-wheel drive, which costs about $1,400 to add. Although, AWD is standard for each 2022 model. The Premium Plus also comes with roof rails, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, rear-cross traffic alert with automatic braking, a surround-view camera system, and traffic jam assist. 

How does the 2021 Mazda CX-30 drive? 

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 parked in a drive way
2021 Mazda CX-30 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

We recommend passing on the base engine, which is the 2.5-liter inline-four that provides 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about nine seconds, and that’s better than average for the class. 

By upgrading to the turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four engine, you get 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque with 93 octane fuel. It provides 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque with 87 octane fuel and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.4 seconds. It’s the fastest option in its class. 

The steering is sharp and responsive, and the CX-30 provides confident handling as it hugs corners. There isn’t body roll around curves. For a small SUV, the CX-30 is surprisingly composed in various conditions. 

If you leave the transmission in its default mode, it can be prone to upshifting early to help improve the fuel economy. It can also take a second to kick down when accelerating to pass people on the highway. 

Using the Sport mode eliminates this issue with faster responses. Take advantage of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to increase the fun. 

On that note, the Mazda CX-30 gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway. While driving from the flat country roads around Charlotte, NC, and up the mountain curves in Asheville, NC, we found these figures to be spot on. 

Can the Mazda CX-30 go off-roading? 

Yes, with the optional i-ACTIV AWD system, the Mazda CX-30 is well equipped to handle slippery conditions. But it only has an 8.0-inch ground clearance, so we don’t recommend straying far from the pavement. 

We took it down a few gravel roads to test the system. Once you engage AWD, you can feel the suspension tighten up to provide more control instantly. The i-ACTIV AWD is a fully autonomous AWD system that constantly monitors the road conditions to proactively control the distribution of torque and eliminate tire slippage.

It enables secure takeoffs, acceleration, cornering, and braking without slipping in any direction. We didn’t find any snow to play in, but we’re sure the Mazda CX-30 would handle winter conditions with ease. 

How comfortable is the Mazda CX-30? 

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is incredibly comfortable and supportive for long drives. The front seats are large and well-padded. The backseats offer plenty of cushion and aren’t set in a position that’s too upright. 

While the sport-tuned suspension is a bit taught, it does a pretty good job at absorbing bumps and impacts. Plus, the CX-30 has one of the quietest interiors in the class, which adds to its luxury feel. 

The dual-zone climate control effectively keeps you cool but may seem a little weak in warmer climates. At least it comes with vents in the rear to keep your passengers comfortable too. People over six feet tall may want more space, and the rear seat is more accommodating for two adults instead of three.

Does the 2021 CX-30 have a nice interior? 

2021 Mazda CX-30 interior
2021 Mazda CX-30 interior | Mazda

Yes, the 2021 Mazda CX-30 has a near-luxury crafted interior. An upscale feeling is provided by leather upholstery soft-touch covered surfaces. The design is simple and contrast stitching adds a bit of flair. 

The controls are easy to reach and pretty intuitive to use. But the lack of touchscreen controls can make Apple CarPlay and Android Auto a little frustrating. Perhaps adding wireless connectivity for these systems would help. 

Large door openings and a low seating height allow passengers to enter and exit the vehicle quickly. Large windows in the front provide tons of visibility as natural light enters the cabin. Rear visibility is limited due to a thick rear pillar and small back window. 

Does the 2021 Mazda CX-30 have good tech? 

Yes, the 2021 Mazda CX-30 is loaded with advanced features, including an 8.8-inch touchscreen. However, instead of being a touchscreen, the system is controlled with a rotary dial system. It’s a little daunting to use initially, but it only takes a few minutes to learn. 

The graphics are attractive, and the software works quickly. Mazda Connected Services allows owners to lock, unlock, remote start, and monitor their vehicle with the MyMazda App. Also, the optional head-up display provides crucial information without being in the way. 

There are two USB ports in the front for connecting phones, and you can access wireless Bluetooth connectivity. The optional 12-speaker Bose premium audio system delivers crisp and immersive audio quality. 

How much space does the Mazda CX-30 have? 

2021 Mazda CX-30 rear opening
2021 Mazda CX-30 rear opening | Mazda

The Mazda CX-30 provides an adequate amount of space. It’s average in terms of storage compared to class rivals. The power liftgate opens with the tap of a button, and the wide and tall hatch opening is convenient for loading heavier items.  

You can access up to 20.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and up to 45.2 cubes total. When properly equipped, the Mazda CX-30 can tow up to 2,000 lbs. However, the rear seats don’t fold flat, which could make loading some items a little inconvenient. 

Storage for smaller items is slightly better, but the door pockets and cupholders are small. The cubby in front of the gear shifter, glove box, and center armrest bin is available for storing personal items. Thanks to the wide door openings, installing car seats is simple.

How safe is the 2021 Mazda CX-30? 

The Mazda CX-30 is one of the safest vehicles in its segment and earned the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). It received a ‘Good’ rating in each crash testing category, which is the highest score possible. IIHS found that child seats are quick and easy to properly install as well. 

Standard safety features include: 

  • Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking 
  • Lane-keeping assist 
  • Adaptive cruise control 
  • Automatic high beams 
  • Drowsy driver monitoring 

How reliable is the Mazda CX-30? 

2021 Mazda CX-30 driving down the road
2021 Mazda CX-30 | Mazda

Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Mazda CX-30 a reliability rating of three out of five, which is average. This ranking is based on issues that owners reported with previous model years. The most common problems include issues with the climate system and body integrity. 

There have been two recalls for this vehicle: 

  1. The tires were at risk of a sudden air leak from the tire air valve. This increased the risk for the sudden loss of control while driving. 
  2. The power liftgate could suddenly lower while a person accessed the rear storage area of the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury. 

These problems have been resolved and may be responsible for the reported body integrity issues. 

Based on an average annual mileage of about 15,000 miles, the CX-30 can provide between 13 to 17 years of service before needing a major repair or breaking down. The Mazda CX-30 is expected to last between 200 – 250,000 miles if properly maintained. 

MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Mazda CX-30 an expert rating of 8.7 out of 10 

The MotorBiscuit experts provided the 2021 Mazda CX-30 with an expert rating of 8.7 out of 10. While the Mazda CX-30 exhibits an engaging ride luxurious interior, the base engine is a little underpowered. 

The CX-30 is larger than expected, but it has less cargo space than rivals, and the rear seats don’t fold completely flat. Those over six feet tall may want a little more knee room or headspace. 

Tons of standard tech and safety features are included, but the lack of touchscreen controls can make using apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto a little inconvenient. However, the software is fast and intuitive. 

We’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the 2022 Mazda CX-30 as AWD is now standard across each trim. Plus, the Carbon Edition is a new trim level that includes more premium features and unique styling. 


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