2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo: The Sporty Hatchback

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Mazda has tapped into its extensive range of design philosophies and technology platforms to formulate the all-new CX-30 2.5 Turbo, a cross between sporty driving and active usefulness. Whether you plan a weekend away in a National Park or dipping through urban dwellings running errands, the jazzy hatchback will provide the requisite capabilities and resources required for either scenario.

My 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo arrived in a vibrant Soul Red Crystal Metallic hue outlined with contrasting black body cladding around its entirety, including the chin spoiler. Mazda then blacked out the mirror caps, grille, tailgate spoiler, rear window frame, and 18″ aluminum alloy rims wrapped in 215/55R18 Bridgestone Turanza all-season tires engineered to take control in wet and snowy conditions. During an icy storm here in Maryland recently, the small Japanese utility demonstrated excellent braking in the colder temperatures and slippery roads. With larger dual exhaust tips and a splash of aluminum outlining the roof rails and side window trim, the crossover is differentiated enough for distinction from the Mazda 3. Of course, the hatchback feature came in handy when I rolled through Home Depot to pick up bags of salt for the weekend storm and Dick’s for a set of 60-lb dumbbells.

Powered by an efficient Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter in-line 4-cylinder turbo engine, paired with a Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission, the CX-30 Turbo darted around town effortlessly with its stiffer chassis, 320 lb-ft of torque (premium fuel), and 250-horsepower (227-hp with 87 octane). Additionally, the vehicle can be had with i-Activ AWD and G-Vectoring Control Plus, which shifts torque to any wheel with traction independently of the other. Moreover, the Mazda features Off-Road Traction Assist to manage torque depending on slippage and vehicle speed. I never hit any trails, but on normal roads I enjoyed the acceleration from lower speeds and the ample boost from mid-range to faster movement. Pull the gear shifter to the left to set the transmission in manual, allowing full control by way of the paddle shifters. The steering wheel provides notable feedback, and Sport mode is pretty engaging.

Inside, the CX-30 Turbo is refreshing, especially my Cream White leather seats and Mocha Brown/Black contrast layers. The Mazda Connect Infotainment screen sits atop the dash and functions through the circular multi-controller (similar to BMW’s iDrive). Menu selections include Entertainment, Communication, Navigation, and Settings. A stellar 12-speaker Bose audio system pumps out your tunes, but the function is pretty strange for changing stations. For some reason, Mazda does not allow you to scroll directly from your current position. You have to leave that menu and start over to select the station you desire. Another nuisance is that the emergency brake sets itself automatically every time the vehicle shuts off. Again, it was cold out, so I was satisfied that the heated steering wheel and seats warmed quickly. However, the backseat was pretty tight; therefore, I never invited more than one passenger on my drives.

Of course, the CX-30 Turbo is loaded with an array of safety tech and driver assistance systems for a more comforting driver experience. One of the advancements is Traffic Jam Assist that works in tandem with Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go. It provides steering inputs to help reduce driver fatigue when cruising less than 40 mph. Lane-keep Assist System does its job well and aggressively keeps the vehicle from drifting to the next lane without turn signals, and a 360-degree View Monitor highlights all imagery around the car. Other systems include Smart Brake Support, Driver Attention Alert, Distance & Speed Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Monitoring, High Beam Control, Adaptive Front-lighting System, and Smart City Brake Support Reverse.

For pricing, the non-turbo FWD model starts at $21,900 and can jump to $28,550; the normally-aspirated AWD ranges between $23,300 – $29,950, and the AWD Turbo goes between $29,900 – $33,900 depending on the selection of the Turbo Premium Package or the Premium Plus Package. Small, versatile, and sporty is what you will receive in the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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