Mazda Made a Bold Change to the 2021 CX-30

If you need a small SUV that’s both comfortable and fun to drive, Mazda’s got you covered. The automaker released the Mazda CX-30 SUV for the 2020 model year, and it’s already received plenty of praise. The 2021 model is also a big hit, according to Autotrader.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 has an excellent, high-end interior and some say its performance can even rival the Porsche Macan. However, one feature is missing from the 2021 model: the Skyactiv-X engine that was supposed to be released this year. Is this powertrain’s absence enough to deter potential Mazda CX-30 owners from buying the vehicle?

About the Skyactiv-X engine

The Skyactiv-X engine uses an ignition compression function while running on regular gasoline. It also has a built-in supercharger that makes the car both faster and more fuel-efficient. However, because of its advanced technology, it usually retails for 30 percent more than other engine options. 

So far, this engine has only been equipped to Mazda models overseas. According to Road and Track, 60 percent of Mazda models in Japan and Europe are equipped with the Skyactiv-X engine. The engine was supposed to be offered for the 2021 Mazda CX-30, but production seems to be delayed. Mazda hasn’t given an estimated time for when this engine will be introduced to the U.S. market.

What’s the standard engine in the 2021 Mazda CX-30?

While the delay of the Skyactiv-X is a letdown, the Mazda CX-30’s Skyactiv-G is still a fine motor. It’s a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and can be purchased with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

This SUV’s fuel economy estimates won’t be blowing the competition out of the water, but it still gets decent mileage. The Mazda CX-30 with front-wheel drive is the most efficient with 28 mpg combined city/highway. The top-of-the-line Premium trim comes equipped with variable displacement, which brings its fuel economy to 27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

Newly standard technology

RELATED: The 2020 Mazda CX-30 Is Missing a Key Piece of Technology

The only major change for 2021 is that the Mazda CX-30 now has standard smartphone integration. However, you have to manage the sync function using a rotary knob instead of the 8.8-inch touchscreen. All the CX-30’s other standard features return, including Bluetooth, voice recognition, and a few USB ports for charging your electronics.

The Mazda CX-30 also comes with plenty of standard safety functions like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assistance. It was also awarded a Top Safety Pick title from the IIHS.

Driving inside the 2021 Mazda CX-30

Mazda cars are known for their impressive performance, and the CX-30 is no exception. It may take a few extra seconds to accelerate, but the CX-30’s peppiness is very apparent at higher speeds. It has smooth power delivery and can handle corners with ease.

The Mazda CX-30’s ride quality is smooth overall, with a suspension that absorbs most harsh bumps. The transmission also provides accurate shifts, but Consumer Reports notes that hard acceleration produces a slight jolt while changing gears. Testers also reported that there was some buzzing from the engine in an otherwise quiet cabin. 

Riders will also feel quite comfortable in the Mazda CX-30 thanks to its high-quality seats. Even the base trim feels fancy, with many padded surfaces and cloth or synthetic leather upholstery. The pricier models come with heated leather seats available in multiple colors, with contrasting stitching for a unique flair.

The cargo hold is also roomier than similar Mazda SUVs, like the CX-3. Since the 2021 Mazda CX-30 is a great SUV overall, we don’t think the missing Skyactiv-X engine should be a dealbreaker.