The Mazda CX-30 debuted in 2020 as a stereo on wheels (by our estimation). It’s one of the best Mazdas on the road and definitely one of the best in the compact crossover category. The CX-30 epitomizes what “Zoom-Zoom” is all about.
The 2023 model year sees a couple of changes for the CX-30. Namely it gets a power boost to its base engine and the Turbo model (but not the engine) is discontinued. Fuel economy also improves a little too.
Engine changes are mostly to tuning, but result in about five more horsepower and a couple of MPG in improvements (3 mpg to the combined rating), mostly to highway results. These changes mean the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the 2.5 S, Select, Preferred, Carbon Edition, and Premium models now produces 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. That goes to a six-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. Yes, AWD is standard. So is an 8.8-inch infotainment display, LED headlamps, an eight-speaker audio system, and a host of advanced safety systems. Plus adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.
For the two top trim levels, the 2.5 Turbo Premium and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus, the 2.5L engine is upgraded with a turbo to produce 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on standard fuel and 250 hp on 93 octane fuel. The turbocharged models, however, lose about 4 mpg overall to gain those added horses.
The 2023 Mazda CX-30 sports one of the best interiors from the brand. With much in common to the larger, award-winning CX-5, the CX-30 includes comfortable front-row seating and a nicely-done, spacious back seat. Cargo space is also roomy, though the inherent drawbacks of a sporty design is a lack of height for the load area. That’s true of most compacts in this size category, though, so it’s not a serious knock.
What is a knock is the infotainment system. While it works well and is easy to understand, the CX-30’s standard screen is not a touchscreen, but is commanded by a rotary knob by the shifter. This can get clunky and annoying fast, as touching the screen is far more intuitive. It’s not a terrible setup, just not as good as it could be. And it’s the only major knock we could really give to the CX-30. This is an extremely well designed SUV.
On the road, the little 2023 CX-30 is fun to drive. It incorporates the engaging drivability that Mazda is known for and responds nicely to steering and throttle inputs. The CX-30 is maneuverable and capable.
The 2023 Mazda CX-30 is attractive, fun to drive, and right-sized for economy. It’s a unicorn among small crossovers today and one of our favorites.
This review originally published on DriveModeShow.com.