Back in December 2019, we had the opportunity to travel, something that has become somewhat foreign to us all now after over a year of the pandemic. We went to beautiful San Diego and were some of the first introduced to the all-new Mazda CX-30.
After a couple of days wandering through the mountains of Southern California, eventually ending up in Palm Springs, we were thoroughly impressed with the new compact SUV. Mazda always seems to have a goal in mind of taking their designs and integrating them with their owners’ lifestyles. In essence, owning one of their vehicles is meant to give one a better view of life in general.
The CX-30 came in at a nice and comfortable 189 horsepower, putting it right in the ballpark with most of the competition at the time. Of course, journalists were asking at the time if there would ever be more power added in the form of a turbocharger, with the folks at Mazda taking more of a wait and see attitude.
With the 2021 model year, the auto company has really taken the CX-30 to the next level with the addition of a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine in the compact SUV and moving it to 250 horsepower when running on premium fuel, a feature we had first encountered in the new Mazda 3 a couple of months ago.
Changing to the higher-grade fuel produces and extra 23 horsepower, leaving us to wonder why you would ever run anything else. Along with all the ponies, the SUV will also make 320 foot-pounds of torque, definitely moving it into the hot hatch category in our minds. Plus, if we were betting, there will be all kinds of extra aftermarket add-ons available soon that will give it even more power.
This made a huge difference from the last time we drove the CX-30, giving it and extra dash of momentum whenever we needed it. It proved to be nimble in tight spaces and ready to roar out on the open road. We applaud Mazda for putting forth the effort to make a really great SUV even better!
The compact-SUV was introduced to the U.S. market back in November 2019 at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is the second model from Mazda to use their latest evolution of Kodo design.
Mazda points out that by using this type of design, the vehicle has both the flowing beauty of a coupe along with bold proportions of an SUV. After a week with the sleek new compact SUV, we had to agree that it combined very well, both coupe-like and SUV qualities that we have come to adore.
One of our favorite things was how easy it was to get in and out of the new CX-30, as the designers have moved the seating position higher to not only give the driver a better field of view but also make it easier to get in and out. Along with that, the door panels have been designed with a slightly rounded shape, so if you happen to rub your leg along them getting out, it feels more natural.
A slight angle to the footwall in the rear seat makes for a better, more relaxed ride for passengers. Moving the bass speaker from the door to the cowling by the front occupants’ feet makes for better sound and also shuts out road noise from coming in through the front door.
One of our favorite parts of our test drive was the way the front seating wrapped itself into the entire dashboard, drawing us in each time we were in the SUV. The door panels were curved and flowed seamlessly into the dashboard, with the 8.8-inch infotainment screen slightly angled toward the driver to make sure it was easy to read and understand.
The center console consisted of a shifter, controls for the infotainment through a rotary dial along with cup holders that all seemed to be placed in the perfect position for us to reach. Getting used to the Mazda control for the infotainment screen took us a couple of days, but after that it became second nature to use.
We were provided with the Premium Plus edition of the CX-30 that came with most every upgrade offered by the company, which of course made the drive even better. Still, the price was very competitive, coming in at just under $34,000 before the delivery charges were added. With the new turbocharged engine, we deemed it a great value.
The Premium package also came with something we would not have expected on a vehicle at this price point, which was a large, full-color heads-up display providing all kinds of information on the screen in front of the driver’s eyes. Speed, cruise control information, radio and even when there was another vehicle in our blind spot, it was put on the windshield.
Adding even more value was the new I-Activsense system inside the SUV that uses both an infrared camera and infrared LED to monitor the driver and how he is doing. It keeps track of whether their eyes are open, the number of times they blink, the angle of their mouth and face in order to determine if they are drowsy or fatigued.
The system worked very well, as we were able to take a “Sunday Drive” down into Sanpete County, and after about two hours of drive time the CX-30 was recommending that we take a break from the road. A very cool technology that got us to take a break when it was needed and also made us more aware of our surroundings.
The CX-30 Premium Plus came loaded with all kinds of other great safety features including radar cruise control with stop and go, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, adaptive forward lighting, forward collision warning and braking, and lane departure waning with lane keep assist.
Originally, we would have thought our needs would be more along the size of the CX-5, but after a week we thoroughly enjoyed the new CX-30 and could see us as empty nesters loving the power and spirit of the drive that came with the new Mazda!
Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville.