The Tiny but Mighty 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Surpasses Expectations

The Mazda CX-30 Turbo is one tiny SUV that I wish I could keep. But I have to give the 2021 Mazda CX-30 back. I could get a tub of ice cream and fire up Netflix to manage my heartbreak of missing this turbo, but instead, I’ll share what I really enjoyed. 

2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Review: Tons of fun 

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo parked in front of a mountain view
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo | Allison Barfield

I’ve been spending the week with the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus. The base model starts at around $22,050, but the Premium Plus increases the price to about $34,050. It includes leather everything, a heated steering wheel, cargo cover, head-up display, and keyless entry. 

But the most exciting part is its increased power. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder option with 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. But the Turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder generates 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. 

It’s tons of fun to accelerate with. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.4 seconds, making it the fastest vehicle in its class. I loved going on the Blue Ridge Parkway to zoom zoom on mountain curves, especially with the way this little beast corners.

The paddle shifters on the steering wheel allow the CX-30 to be operated as a manual, which ups the excitement. It puts you into first gear pretty quickly, and the second gear can reach 60 mph. There isn’t noticeable body roll around curves, and the steering is very responsive. The CX-30 feels stable, sporty, and confident. 

The CX-30 is comfortable 

You don’t have to race around in 2021 Mazda CX-30 to enjoy it. It’s very relaxing to use for errands around town. It has a very smooth ride and a luxury-quiet interior. You don’t have to raise your voice to carry a conversation with passengers. 

The CX-30 is very agile and easy to navigate in tight city areas. It’s so easy to park and parallel park. Some critics point out the small windows and large pillars as a con because they create blind spots. However, the forward-facing camera and large side mirror create tons of visibility. 

The leather bucket seats are well-padded and supportive for long drives. The dual-zone climate control is very effective at quickly cooling you off on hot summer days. There are vents in the backseat too. 

I could fit in the backseat just fine. I’m 5’1” and had plenty of knee space. The rear seats are well-padded, but they have an upright angle that may become annoying on car trips. I wish they reclined. 

The Mazda CX-30 is capable and safe

2021 Mazda CX-30 Premium Plus interior
2021 Mazda CX-30 Premium Plus interior | Mazda

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 isn’t built like an off-roader, but I still needed to see how it handled off the pavement. It has an 8.0-inch ground clearance which is a little shorter than rivals like the Subaru Crosstrek, which has an 8.7-inch ground clearance. But the i-ACTIV all-wheel drive system is very impressive. 

On steep and slippery gravel roads, you could feel the difference when the Mazda CX-30 Turbo was in off-roading mode or not. It stiffened the suspension and added more traction and control in the blink of an eye. 

Plus, the CX-30 is an Insurance Institue Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+ award winner. It received a rating of Good in every single IIHS safety test. The Mazda CX-30 is incredibly dependable. It may be a little small. My dog, Bruce, took up over half the back seat. But it serves as a fun and capable option for daily driving. It can even handle snow and other challenging situations with confidence.

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