CX-30 Enhanced by Mazda for 2024

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CHATHAM, Mass. – Enhancement and refinement mark the subtle but important changes Mazda brought to the 2024 CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD with premium plus package I recently drove.

When I drove the 2023 version of this model last June, I thought it was as complete a subcompact sport-utility vehicle (SUV) as possible.

I was wrong.

The Japanese automaker enhanced the infotainment system with a new 10.25 LCD touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, Mazda Cruising and Traffic Support (introduced on the new Mazda CX-90) advanced driver-assistance system combines car-ahead distance monitoring and lane-monitoring within the company’s Radar Cruise Control system.

Again, small, subtle changes which improve the excellent driving experience characteristics of the Mazda CX-30, traits found throughout the brand’s product range.

Returning strong powertrain

Since the 1971 introduction of the Mazda RX-2 in the United States, the company has been known here for producing driver-oriented vehicles, even those in sedan and SUV guise (I have talked about its zoom, zoom advertising tag line); the CX-30 continues this tradition.

Powering the effort is a 250-horsepower (on premium fuel, 227 on regular) four-cylinder turbocharged engine which also produces 320 pounds-feet of torque (on premium, 310 on regular fuel).

This power flows through a six-speed automatic transmission with sport (holds each gear to enhance acceleration) or normal mode into the i-ACTIVE all-wheel-drive (AWD) system (standard on all CX-30 trim levels). Steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters allow the driver to further control gear selection.

The translation: a small SUV which hauls. Car and Driver testing resulted in the five-door, five-passenger crossover turning in a performance-car-like 0-60 miles-per-hour time of 5.8 seconds! And the CX-30 feels performance-car quick while being driven!

This performance capability does not come at the expense of fuel efficiency. My heavy right foot, with most of the driving being of the around-town (urban in the federal government’s vernacular) variety, resulted in achieving 26.8 miles per gallon. (The federal Environmental Protection Agency rates the CX-30 Turbo at 25 mpg overall and 22 urban, 30 highway.)

A platform tuned for driving

Simply listing the suspension pieces – MacPherson-type struts with stabilizer bar up front, torsion beam in the rear – does not convey the handling capabilities of the 2024 CX-30 Turbo.

The brake system features electronic-brake distribution, brake assist, anti-lock (ABS) along with 11.6-inch vented rotors up front and 11.9-inch solid ones in the rear. These rotors live within 18×7-inch black-painted aluminum wheels shod with 215/55R18 all-season tires.

Mazda’s engineers massaged these components to produce a vehicle which is, in very simple terms, fun to drive!

Again, Car and Driver put it succinctly: “Its crisp steering and fluid body movements make it a pleasure to pilot on a twisty road and provide a sense of stability when cruising.”

Comprehensive suite of ADAS

The CX-30 Turbo’s premium plus package has always come with a virtually complete suite of advanced driver-assistance systems which Mazda enhanced for 2024 with the addition of the Mazda Cruising and Traffic Support (MCTS) system.

Mazda describes MCTS as “a system that reduces the load on the driver while the vehicle is driven on expressways or highways;” but as described by J.D. Power & Associates, “In high-traffic, low-speed situations, driver fatigue is an unfortunate byproduct. Cruising and Traffic Support combats this by combining adaptive cruise control (ACC) and lane-keeping assistance (LKA) to help the driver stay a safe distance from other vehicles in front or to the side.”

It is not an autonomous-driving system, but a help for drivers who must maintain control of the CX-30 at all times.

I tried it and it works as described, correcting me when I wandered across the lane lines and crept too close to the vehicle ahead of me.

Other components of the ADAS roster include lane-keep assist; parking sensors front and rear; rear cross-traffic alert; 360°-view monitor; smart-brake support with pedestrian detection; smart-brake support reverse; smart-brake support rear crossing and blind-spot monitoring.

Premium-level interior

The test vehicle certainly lived up to the “premium” promise of its trim level.

The leather-trimmed seating surfaces are heated in the front (the driver’s with power adjustment) as is the leather-wrapped steering wheel. An automatic dual-zone climate-control system took care of warming the overall interior during the winter week in my possession.

The infotainment system contains the most visual change from the 2023 model with the new 10.25-inch color LCD touchscreen at the heart of the navigation-equipped infotainment system.

The other major change for this model year in the infotainment system is the inclusion of wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new USB-C ports can be used for charging mobile devices which might not be able to utilize the wireless charging pad at the front of the center console.

Infotainment sound is produced by a 12-speaker Bose® audio system with Centerpoint®2 (surround sound) and AudioPilot®2 (automatic background-noise compensation).

Living with the CX-30

This is the fourth consecutive year I have reviewed the Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo AWD premium package plus and each time reinforces my overall fondness for the pint-sized SUV. It is a kick to drive; is very comfortable; quiet; efficient and easy to maneuver in the often-tight confines of Cape Cod.

An extensive list of standard features including AWD, ADAS and driving fun are part of the entire CX-30 range which starts with the 2.5S at $24,995 and extends through seven additional models through the version I drove with an MSRP of $36,800.

The as-reviewed price totaled $38,905 which included two options ($595 for the Radiant Red paint and $135 for the carpeted floor mats) and the $1,375 for the delivery, processing and handling fee.

This is a lot of subcompact SUV for the money, a wonderfully enhanced continuation of a solid, rewarding vehicle.

Next week TBR Drives the Hyundai Kona N-Line subcompact SUV.

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Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.