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2021 Mazda CX-30 Review

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 ranks highly among subcompact SUVs on the strength of its lively handling, swanky cabin, and roomy cargo hold.

Pros & Cons

  • Deft handling
  • Upscale interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Wide-open cargo hold
  • Meek acceleration
  • Mixed infotainment reviews

New for 2021

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now standard
  • Turbocharged engine now optional

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Mazda CX-30's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Mazda CX-30 has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 15 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 7.2
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 10.0 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Mazda CX-30?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Mazda CX-30 a Good SUV?

Yes, the CX-30 is a good subcompact SUV. While it might not be the fastest off the line, it's still very fun to drive. And when you're not carving corners, an agreeable ride and a high-end interior make this Mazda a comfortable companion.

The CX-30 offers a good amount of passenger space and a cargo-friendly rear. It rates well for safety and has a long list of standard technology, though the infotainment system has some shortcomings.

Why You Can Trust Us: 15 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 15 Mazda CX-30 reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 CX-30 is the right new car for you.

This 2021 CX-30 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2020.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Mazda CX-30?

As with most Mazda vehicles, the CX-30 should be on your short list if driving enjoyment is a priority. With a large buffet of standard infotainment and driver assistance features and a price that’s about average for the class, the CX-30 is a good value proposition.

In the brand's lineup, the CX-30 serves as a roomier and more modern companion to the CX-3, a subcompact SUV classmate. The larger Mazda CX-5 offers up more cargo space and retains a lot of what makes the CX-30 attractive.

Find a 2021 Mazda CX-30 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Mazda CX-30: What's the Difference?

After debuting as an all-new model for 2020, the CX-30 sees several changes for the 2021 model year. Chief among them is the introduction of an optional turbocharged engine capable of up to 250 horsepower. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now standard, and a few other features are shuffled around. A moonroof now comes in the Preferred trim, while satellite radio is limited to the top Premium model.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 CX-30 »

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2020 CX-30 review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Mazda CX-30 Cost?

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 starts at $21,900, which is a roughly average base price for a subcompact SUV. There are higher trims that retail for $23,900, $26,300, and $28,550. Front-wheel drive is standard; to get all-wheel drive, add $1,400 to the MSRP.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

Mazda CX-30 Versus the Competition

Mazda CX-30 vs. Mazda3

The Mazda3 is a compact car that was fully redesigned for 2019, and it subsequently provided most of the underpinnings for the new CX-30 that launched for 2020. As such, these Mazdas have a lot in common. The Mazda3 is available as a sedan or hatchback, the latter of which has nearly identical cargo space to the CX-30. Standard and available features are very similar in the two models as well. Both offer the same 186-horsepower and 250-horsepower turbo engines, but Mazda has announced a new base 155-horsepower engine for the Mazda3. Those looking for a more engaging drive should appreciate the Mazda3's manual transmission option. A notable advantage for the CX-30 is its roomier passenger accommodations.

Compare the CX-30 and Mazda3 »

Mazda CX-30 vs. Toyota C-HR

The CX-30 is a much better subcompact SUV than the Toyota C-HR, which ranks low in the class. The C-HR has anemic acceleration, and it's not available with all-wheel drive. You'll get a nicer interior, a roomier second row, and better cargo space by going with the CX-30. The Mazda has a marginally higher price range across its trim levels, but it's the smarter buy here.

Compare the CX-30 and C-HR »

Compare the CX-30, Mazda3, and C-HR »

CX-30 Interior: Refined and Comfortable

CX-30 Cargo Space

The Mazda CX-30 serves up 20.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, which is about average for a subcompact SUV. A low lift-in height and a wide hatch opening make the cargo hold plenty useful.

How Many People Does the CX-30 Seat?

This small Mazda crossover seats five people. Up front, the driver and passenger ride in comfort, and the cabin feels airy. That's despite high door sills and a few minor outward visibility problems. Most adult passengers should find ample head- and legroom in the rear seats, but taller people might wish for a bit more space to stretch their legs out.

CX-30 and Child Car Seats

The CX30 has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. There’s also a tether anchor for the rear middle seat, which can borrow lower anchors from each outboard seat. This LATCH system is easy to use.

CX-30 Interior Quality

The CX-30 features a high-end interior that belies its status as one of the brand's lowest-priced vehicles. All materials are of an excellent quality and soft to the touch.

CX-30 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Instead of a touch-screen infotainment system, the CX-30 makes an upmarket swing by featuring a rotary controller on the center console, a setup used by many luxury brands. In this vehicle, opinions are mixed on its ease of use. Some critics like the location of the knob and how your hand naturally falls into an ergonomic position near it. They also remark that after a slight learning curve, this system is less distracting to operate while driving than a touch screen would be.

Other reviewers, however, like the ability to quickly and accurately touch icons on a screen instead of having to use the controller to switch through menus and selections. Furthermore, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are a little less intuitive with the CX-30's setup than they would be with a touch screen.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, an 8.8-inch infotainment display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, HD Radio, voice recognition, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and two USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, wireless device charging, a 12-speaker Bose premium stereo, and satellite radio
  • Other available features: a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, LED interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and a moonroof

Read more about interior »

CX-30 Performance: Better in Curves Than in a Straight Line

CX-30 Engine

The Mazda CX-30 comes standard with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine good for 186 horsepower. That output is the highest total for any base model subcompact SUV. Still, it leaves something to be desired as it can take some coaxing to get up to cruising speeds. Once you're moving at a good pace, the engine comes alive with ample power.

A bright spot of the powertrain is the standard six-speed automatic transmission. It shifts smartly to make the most of the engine's power and always finds the correct gear.

The CX-30 is newly available with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 227 horsepower when using regular gasoline. Fill the car with premium fuel, and the horsepower rating jumps to 250.

CX-30 Gas Mileage

The EPA estimates the Mazda CX-30 with standard front-wheel drive gets 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. When equipped with optional AWD, the CX-30 gets 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Overall, fuel economy is average for the class.

CX-30 Ride and Handling

Like nearly all of Mazda's vehicles, the subcompact CX-30 handles with aplomb and is generally a hoot to drive. Its sharp steering is reminiscent of a sporty sedan, and there's plenty of feedback from the road. A plush, comfortable ride helps round out the CX-30's enviable driving dynamics.

Read more about performance »

CX-30 Reliability

Is the Mazda CX-30 Reliable?

The 2021 CX-30 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Mazda CX-30 Warranty

Mazda covers the CX-30 with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

CX-30 Safety

CX-30 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Mazda CX-30 an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 CX-30.

CX-30 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Head-up display
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Reverse automatic emergency braking
  • Traffic jam assist (can manage braking, acceleration, and steering in low-speed traffic conditions)
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Traffic sign recognition

Read more about safety »

CX-30 Dimensions and Weight

The CX-30 is 14.4 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,232 to 3,408 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Built?

Mazda builds the 2021 CX-30 in Japan.

Which Mazda CX-30 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 comes in several trims: CX-30 (base), Select, Preferred, Premium, and Turbo. All models except the Turbo feature a 186-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a $1,400 option. The CX-30 2.5 Turbo has a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine and comes standard with AWD.

The base model is a good value with an attractive list of standard equipment that includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and numerous active safety aids. However, it's worth spending an extra $2,000 for the CX-30 Select and its synthetic leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring, and dual-zone climate control. If you want heated front seats and a moonroof, you'll have to spring for the Preferred model, at least. Features such as genuine leather upholstery, a Bose stereo, satellite radio, and navigation are limited to the CX-30 Premium.

Mazda CX-30

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 starts at $21,900 and comes standard with cloth upholstery, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, LED headlights, and an infotainment system with an 8.8-inch display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, HD Radio, voice recognition, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Individual options include navigation, a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, sport pedals, wireless device charging, and LED interior lighting.

Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, driver attention monitoring, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera.

Mazda CX-30 Select

For $23,900, the Mazda CX-30 Select adds synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Mazda CX-30 Preferred

The Mazda CX-30 Preferred trim retails for $26,300. Building on the Select package, it comes with a moonroof, heated front seats, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings.

Mazda CX-30 Premium

The range-topping CX-30 starts at $28,550 and gains genuine leather upholstery, a 12-speaker Bose premium stereo, satellite radio, a head-up display, navigation, a power liftgate, adaptive headlights, and paddle shifters.

Mazda CX-30 Turbo

In addition to its upgraded drivetrain, the all-new Turbo model is available with enhanced driver assistance features such as reverse automatic emergency braking, traffic jam assist, a surround-view parking camera system, and traffic sign recognition.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

See 2021 Mazda CX-30 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Mazda CX-30 hits a sweet spot in the brand's SUV lineup, providing roomy and comfortable accommodations at a value-minded price point. It also doesn't hurt that the CX-30 stays true to Mazda's ethos of peppy performance and fun.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is a compact SUV/crossover that’s attractive, modern, and upscale. It’s certain to become one of Mazda’s top sellers over the next few years." -- Autotrader
  • "A certain sophistication permeates everything the 2021 CX-30 does and has. It’s classy and engaging, comes with many standard safety features and advanced driver assists, as well as plenty of options to upgrade the whole experience. Yet it still has a raised driving position and levels of practicality that involve useful cargo space — along with the availability of all-wheel drive. The Mazda CX-30 achieves all this at competitive prices." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "All this is to say that the CX-30 seems like a remarkable combination of power, drivability, and utility at a very competitive price." -- Autoblog (2020)
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