2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD – Revised and Re-Driven – With Added Oomph

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD: Newly invigorated for riders of sporty subcompact steeds to hold their own against the premiums. Starting at $31,700

AGILE CUTE UTE TAKES ON PREMIUMS:  For those who haven’t been paying close attention, Japanese automaker Mazda has developed a reputation as an over-achiever at delivering under-the-radar incremental improvements the kind that driving enthusiasts favor. Launched last year, the “Rider in Unity With Steed” CX-30 subcompact crossover utility has already proven it can hold it’s own against some entry luxury types.

KODO SMALL CROSSOVER OOMPHED: The official company line precluding an encore of in-house tuned MazdaSpeed models, however, has not prevented a prompt power enhancement of the CX-30. A mere transplant of the corporate intercooled turbo-charged Skyactiv 2.5L twin-cam gas inline-four confers that added top-end OOMPH to what is hardly a slouch in standard form. Thus, this Roadblazing.com Re-Drive of an invigorated 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus AWD is dedicated to those in the know and a platform which always knew it could handle more.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD Driving Hits:

  • 227 to 250 horsepower = +39 bump (62 hp with minimum 91 AKI octane unleaded gasoline)
  • 320 pound-feet = +129 pound-feet torque = 71% > standard atmospheric aspirated 2.5L Skyactiv G engine

  • 6-speed automatic torque converter planetary transaxle, while low on gear ring count to the competition, betters most on quick down-shifts for throttle braking capability
  • More energetic acceleration above 85 miles per hour @ 3500 rpm to redline vs. non-turbo Mazda CX-30 2.5L
  • 26 combined miles per gallon, 400 miles highway range in sporty subcompact all-wheel drive SAV
  • AWD standard on 2.5 turbo w/ ABS torque vectoring and G-Vectoring
  • Rear torsion beam semi-independent suspension adds compliance to Skyactiv taut body control
2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD: darkened 18″ alloy wheels on the Premium Plus trim
2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD: Adopting the semi-independent torsion beam suspension lends greater rear wheel compliance to an otherwise tautly controlled body
  • Bridgestone Turanza tires tuned for quiet touring
  • Stiffness in structure rivals luxury models

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD Driving Misses:

  • 100 lb. weight gain for engine turbocharger hardware
  • Loses some cornering stability over related Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo hatchback
  • -13% Combined fuel economy vs. naturally aspirated CX-30 2.5L AWD
  • Lack of fully independent rear suspension curbs some desired playful oversteer
  • Would benefit from stickier rubber option
  • Auto parking brake requires manual releasing
  • Gravely engine sound at idle

What It Has Got:

  • Pricing: from $31,150 (incl. destination) for a 6-speed automatic 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD
    • $2696 higher price than CX-30 2.5 NA AWD Preferred
    • As tested top Premium AWD trim priced at $35,400
  • Sleek Mazda 3 hatchback Kodo language silhouette raised by 2.5″-inches
2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD: assertively striking in Polymetal Grey Metallic, w/ prominent roof spoiler and liftgate Skyactiv G “TURBO” emblem
  • Full body and wheel arch cladding
2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD: Body cladding gone slightly overboard on otherwise stunningly sleek Kodo design language.
  • Accommodates 5 adults & 20 cubic feet of belongings under the liftgate
  • Luxury brand attention to build and display & control details
  • Comprehensive standard feature set
    • Remote keyless access, push button ignition; Heated front seats, power driver’s w/ 2 position memory; 2-zone automatic climate control; Power moonroof
    • LED headlights, Rain sensing windshield wipers,
    • Auto dimming rear view mirror, Reverse power tilting side mirrors
    • 7.0″ TFT variable triple dial gauge cluster; 8.8″ MazdaConnect media display w/ remote dial Command controller
2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD: luxurious cabin w/ artful, precision finished controls, soft flowing stitched panels, 7.0″ TFT variable gauge cluster + split pane 8.8″ LCD remote commander controlled media display w/ available native Navigation
    • Android Auto, AppleCar Play and MirrorLink phone projection
  • Excellent safety features & ratings
    • IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus
  • Driver assist tech (standard)
    • Pedestrian & vehicle collision avoidance braking, blind spot & rear cross traffic warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control
  • 3 year / 36,000 miles bumper to bumper, 4 year / 50,000 miles powertrain warranties

What It Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Price encroaches larger Mazda CX-5 SUV territory
  • Seat cushions limited in length
  • Non-adjusting front passenger seat height
  • Rear seat hip room and legroom tight for large adults
  • Front center armrest distant from console shift lever
  • Excessive adventure lifestyle appearance body cladding
  • LCD center media display loses touch control capability
  • Dim climate control display & sunwashed steering wheel spoke switches
  • Android Auto phone projection requires “parking brake” activation to initially initialize
  • Lane Keep Assist = mere nudge
  • Power front passenger seat unavailable
  • Volume brand warranty duration, scheduled maintenance not included

Standout Feature(s) on 2021 MAZDA CX-30 2.5 TURBO PREMIUM AWD :

  • Heads Up Display w/ traffic sign recognition
  • Native infotainment navigation map w/ TravelLink subscription
  • Additional automated driver assistance
    • Traffic jam assist, slow speed pedestrian & rear traffic collision avoidance braking; rear side traffic braking
    • 360° surround view cameras, Adaptive front LED headlights
  • Leather seating, heated front, power driver, w/ 2 position memory, heated steering wheel
  • Power liftgate

Roadblazing.com Says: Somehow an Oomphed Cute Ute seems more responsible than a hot hatchback.


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WHAT: 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium. This all new subcompact crossover utility model has platform commonality with the BP fourth generation of Mazda 3 sedan / hatchback. It is one size up from the DJ series Mazda CX-3 and one size down from the CX-5 crossover ute.


Power: transverse 2.5L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 186 hp/ 186 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm. G-vectoring throttle front wheel traction transfer. AWD models feature 2-cylinder deactivation.

Drivetrain: 6-spd. torque converter planetary automatic transaxle + (optional) PTU to multi-plate wet clutch differential torque vectoring variable all-wheel drive.

 WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE(S):  Not content to be a mere lifted cookie cutter of the BP Mazda 3 hatchback, the addition of a D-pillar, with sail window between it and the C-pillar is less monolithic. The front shark’s nose comes through bearing the same seductive chrome link pentagonal grill, chrome arms extended to cradle the swept back thin headlamp housings, with cinched lower corners. It’s been dipped entirely in contrast darkened lower cladding, which verges on comically high especially at the wheel arches. The liftgate is more punched out as in the larger CX-5 crossover. The CX-30 shares it’s larger sibling’s thin tail lamp modules and a ruggedized bumper cover.

An automotive enthusiast since an orange toy VW Beetle ended up in his playpen and following him everywhere, George Straton has been chief editor at ChicagoNow.com/Drive-He-Said automotive lifestyle blog since 2010. In 2017 George established Roadblazing.com, dedicated to accurate automotive reviews, news and road trip stories. George is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. George also happens to be an attorney and Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers fan. Present ride: 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback.

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