Based on the Mazda3, the new CX-30 fills the gap between the CX-3 and CX-5 SUVs and competes with several compact and subcompact SUVs, including the Nissan Rogue Sport and Subaru Crosstrek. It is a bit more expensive than those peers, but brings a nicely finished interior and a dash of style. Unfortunately those assets are countered by a noisy engine and tight quarters.
Our tests show the CX-30 is quicker than the similarly-sized Subaru Crosstrek when accelerating flat-out from 0-60 mph. But the Mazda requires a heavy foot on the accelerator to wring power out of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, so around-town driving doesn’t feel particularly brisk. Fuel economy is commendable at 28 mpg overall.
We found the CX-30’s handling to be quite responsive and secure. The Mazda steers nicely but it doesn’t possess the same agility found in the CX-3 or Mazda3. The ride is rather firm and can feel jumpy over bumps, and the engine sounds raspy especially at low revs, which detracts from an otherwise quiet interior.