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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

Mazda CX-30 Turbo

People are buying small crossovers in higher numbers, and Mazda introduced the CX-30 for the driving-oriented folks. But the CX-30 Turbo is more than just fun to drive, although it might be its best attribute. Let’s get into it: our test model had an MSRP of $38,965 and was built at the Salamanca, MX plant.

Mazda CX-30 Turbo
Photo by Yoan Dubord

Last year, when we first tried the CX-30, we enjoyed its look. We weren’t the only ones; Mazda sold nearly 200,000 units worldwide! This year is no different. This compact crossover is an excellent example of how Mazda has done an excellent job of bringing affordable classy vehicles. We also like the ruggedness of the black cladding on the skirt and over the wheel arches to make it look bolder. In the back, the double exhaust tips are present yet subtle. The black 18-inch wheels complete well the look of the car. Overall, this is still one of the best-looking vehicles under $40,000.

Mazda CX-30 Turbo
Photo by Yoan Dubord

Inside, once again, a big thumbs up for bringing a more upscale feeling to the segment. The materials used in the cabin are excellent, and the overall layout is quite aesthetically satisfying. The gauges are comprehensive and easy to read, and the steering wheel is nice and soft. The climate controls are within reach and quick to use. About the infotainment situation, it’s a different approach from Mazda. It takes an hour or two to get used to the knob in the center consoles; some manipulations are more complicated than they should be, for example, with the radio presets. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available, which is always neat. Another positive element inside the CX-30 Turbo is the Bose premium sound system, which has an excellent range of music.

Interior space is quite decent in the Mazda CX-30 Turbo. Four adults can sit, although it might be best for them not to be too tall. Legroom might be a challenge since this is a compact crossover, but headroom is enough for most people. Car seats fit effortlessly on the back seats since the ISOFIX ports are clearly indicated, and the rear anchor is also optimized for the parent installing it. The cargo room isn’t huge by any stretch; couples won’t have trouble fitting all the groceries or luggage for an outing outside the city.

Mazda CX-30
Photo by Yoan Dubord

In our last review, we went more in-depth on certain aspects that we just went through. The main difference here from the last time is the more powerful engine. We had the turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. What’s interesting with the 4-cylinder turbo is that you can use regular or premium fuel; it will recognize which one you’re using and adjust accordingly. For the 87 octane grade, the engine produces 227hp and 310lb-ft of torque. With the 91 octane grade, it climbs to 250hp and 320lb-ft of torque. There isn’t a dramatic loss of power between the two, which allows you to choose how dynamic you want the car to be while respecting your budget. Acceleration time is also pretty good; with the premium fuel, you can expect a 0-100kph time of around 5,9 seconds, which is pretty good for a vehicle that is not focused solely on performance.

When you get behind the wheel of a Mazda, you expect specific driving dynamics, and the CX-30 Turbo delivers. When you put the gas on the floor, the engine rumble is lovely, and the car feels ready to pounce. The steering is direct and precise; you don’t feel the car’s weight. The suspension also helps in this aspect; in tight corners, the vehicle feels planted, and you feel confident behind the wheel. One of the best qualities of the CX-30, you are not overwhelmed since the power comes naturally and predictably. The all-wheel-drive system also works great; there’s barely any oversteer, and it helps distribute all the ponies to the adequate wheel. The only downside we found is the brakes. The pedal feels longer and doesn’t provide enough grip feel. It looks like the car won’t stop in time, but in the end, it does; it can be frustrating when you press hard, and the vehicle takes some time to come to a halt. That being said, it isn’t dangerous by any stretch of the imagination; we wish they would work the pedal better. All in all, you have a fun, dynamic-looking vehicle that can also be very smooth and quiet.

The Mazda CX-30 GT Turbo is a good-looking vehicle. You get a powerful yet sophisticated crossover when you add the turbocharged engine. You get a deal with an appealing exterior and a rich interior for under $40,000. If you’re looking for a premium experience at a discount, look no further, this is all you need.

Mazda has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Mazda Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred above.

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