Road Test Review – 2024 Mazda CX-30 – A Nip And Tuck Add Polish To Mazda’s Smallest CUV

Mazda’s CX-30 CUV is the smallest CUV offering in Mazda’s North American lineup (the California-only, highly compromised, and newly axed MX-30 does not count), and the company knows that the model’s role as a gatekeeper will help encourage customers to move into the bigger models including the CX-90. But does the CUV still have what it takes to lure new buyers in? Mazda claims that minor updates for 2024 are enough, but is it really?


CX-30 Still Has Stylish Looks, But Age Is Catching Up

The 2024 Mazda CX-30 still looks as fresh as it did when it was first introduced, with the CUV continuing to have clean, elegant proportions and a bold look that channels its inner sportiness, especially when viewed from the front. That front end has crisp and clean styling, with the front grille and headlights reminiscent of the brand’s recent concept vehicles. The side profile has a sporty character to it, but the rear taillights are still our least favorite thing about it.

However, the styling is also showing just how stagnant some of Mazda’s broader design language is becoming on some of their models. While the CX-90 and 50 models are providing a glimpse into some of the updates that are coming to freshen things up, and the MX-5 is still aging well, models like the CX-30 are starting to feel like they are stuck in the past aesthetically. With the competition rapidly evolving with style updates, the CX-30 is in danger of potentially being left in the dust. Mazda is introducing a new Carbon Edition that gets Zircon Sand color paint and terracotta leather appointments to try and address this issue. However, the ultimate solution to this problem is a redesign, and it appears Mazda won’t be doing that for a few more years.


Luxury Lined CX-30 Interior Still Broadcast Mazda’s Identity

Slip inside the 2024 Mazda CX-30, and a strong sense of familiarity will be noticed. The cabin is still nicely appointed, and the design continues to carefully walk the line between Audi-like luxury and Alfa Romeo style, especially with the way that Mazda designers made some of the trim accents. The cabin is also shared with the Mazda 3, and that’s welcome news for buyers that might be transitioning from that model to the CX-30.

The 8.8-inch infotainment screen juts out of the center console, and like other Mazda models, it’s still not a touchscreen unit with many controls and functions being accessed via the large i-Drive-like control knob. Mazda’s Connected Services come standard on the CX-30, allowing owners to control a wide array of functions through the MyMazda App. The rest of the controls and switchgear are laid out in an ergonomically friendly fashion, and it’s refreshing to see that Mazda is resisting the urge to adopt a pure haptic feedback layout and is still retaining a balance of digital and analog controls. Premium trim models like our example get genuine leather accents, a power-operated liftgate, and other luxury items.

With all the style and luxury on hand, it’s a pity that the CX-30 is still somewhat cramped on the inside, with the rear seat leg and headroom being tight for taller passengers. Fold the seats down, and the CX-30 can swallow a wide range of cargo, including a day’s worth of groceries. Also, age is starting to show in the interior, especially when compared to other rivals in its segment that come with slicker infotainment systems and better interior ergonomics.


Turbocharged Fun Fun Balanced Out By Middling Fuel Economy

Performance for our tester came from the uplevel 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 250-horsepower on premium gas (227-hp with unleaded gasoline.) We kept the tank filled with premium to help the CX-30 be at its best in our performance testing. However, our efforts at giving the CX-30 a fighting chance proved to be for naught, with our tester making the jog to 60 mph in a leisurely 8.1-seconds which is slower than the Hyundai Kona Turbo and a few other SUVs/CUVs in its segment.

The Mazda is also one of the few CUV entries remaining that still has a six-speed automatic. Mazda claims that it’s still using the transmission to help preserve the driving feel for buyers and enthusiasts, and while the six-speed is smooth and suits the 2.5-liter fine, the missing gears conspire to keep the CX-30 from matching its rivals in fuel economy with our tester getting an EPA rated 22 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg freeway with 25 mpg in mixed driving. For comparison, the Hyundai Kona turbo gets 29 mpg in city driving and five miles per gallon more on the freeway at 35 mpg.


Value Quotient

Pricing for the 2024 model has not been released yet, but a base 2023 model starts at $22,950 for the base 2.5 S model, with the bulk of the lineup being firmly positioned in the $20,000 to $29,000 range before any destination charges are factored in. Buyers who opt for the Turbo model will see the price increase to $31,000. Our Premium Plus example had a base price of $35,400 with fees and a light sprinkling of optional equipment, helping to push the final price to just over $36,000.

This pricing is still very competitive, but in a segment where evolution and innovation are pushing the goalposts further upward, the Mazda’s stagnation in core expectation categories for CUV buyers is becoming more noticeable, and eventually, the extra oomph from the optional turbocharged engine will no longer be enough to lure in the bulk of performance CUV buyers.










Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as

Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.

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