CHATHAM, Mass. – Smooth. Every time I climbed behind the wheel of the 2022 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo Premium that was the image, the feeling which came to mind.

From the smooth feel of the heated, leather wrapped steering wheel and all the soft surfaces within the roomy subcompact sport utility (SUV), to the way all the interior components blended together to the way the pint-sized crossover (CUV) effortlessly handled all kinds of roads – even those which were not smooth – as it went about its business.

The exterior lines of the CX-30 follow this theme — like all Mazda sedans, CUVs and SUVs –flowing without any sharp edges or abrupt angles.

Smooth, I realized, is the perfect description of every Mazda I have driven. And, of course, the CX-30 Turbo Premium continues to live up to its legacy motto – Zoom, zoom!

Turbocharged powertrain provides efficient power

Last year I drove the inaugural Turbo version of this vehicle and was impressed, writing “Like every Mazda I have experienced, the CX-30 was fun to drive.” Nothing has changed with the 2022 version which carries over all specifications, features and fun!

The heart of the CX-30 2.5 Turbo remains the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which provides up to 250 horsepower and 320 pounds-feet of torque (on premium fuel; with more than enough — 227 and 310 – performance on regular gas to keep the fun going).

The power flows through an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission and sophisticated i-Active AWD (all-wheel-drive) system which adjust to the driving surface, ranging from smooth macadam to off-road trails to wet, slippery ones.

The chassis features MacPherson type struts up front, a torsion beam in the rear; simple, but thanks to the Mazda engineers, very effective.

The power-assisted braking system has anti-lock (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Included are four-wheel discs with 11.6-inch ventilated rotors in the front, 11.9-inch solid ones in the rear working within 18-inch black aluminum wheels wearing 215/55R-18 M+S tires.

The overall components appear simple when thus described, but their combined performance produces sure-footed handling, swift acceleration, whether merging onto a highway or maneuvering around slow-moving traffic, all without drama and a comfortable, controlled ride.

Safety through technology – ADAS for everyone

The Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus Package, the fully equipped version sampled this year and last, includes an extensive offering of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS), one rivaling that of vehicles at twice the price.

The features include: automatic high-beam control; driver-attention alert; lane departure warning system; lane-keep assist; blind-spot monitor; rear cross-traffic alert; front-and-rear-parking sensors; traffic-jam assist; Mazda radar cruise control, and rear cross-traffic braking.

Other safety features include dynamic-stability control; traction-control system; advanced dual front airbags; front and rear side curtains; knee airbags; front-side-impact airbags, and tire-pressure-monitoring system.

Technology enhances the warm interior

Some might call the CX-30 a “cute ute” with its shapely subcompact exterior, but inside the impression for the front occupants is a roomy, comfortable and warm place for all types of trips.

I mentioned the well designed, smooth, soft surfaces which include the heated, electrically adjustable (the driver’s having a two-person memory and power lumbar support) leather dressed seats and flowing dash.

Said dash incorporates well placed, logical controls for the automatic dual-zone climate control system as well as other ancillary systems.

Unlike many vehicle designs, the 8.8-inch color display for the infotainment system – including navigation – resides in a small depression at the top of the dash. The design allows the screen to better blend into the overall look of the interior than that of vehicles which simply stick a screen onto the front of the dash, looking like an afterthought.

The infotainment system, which can be operated by a combination of dial/buttons on the console or voice activation (controls on the steering wheel), includes AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio/Bluetooth streaming audio/Apple CarPlay/Android Auto all producing sound through the 12-speaker Bose® Premium Audio System.

The color display is also the monitor for the rear-view and 360º camera which also has a front-view which can be set to help maneuvering at low speeds through tight spaces.

A comprehensive, very good – easily useable even with sunglasses – active-driving display (head-up display) provides the driver with a wide variety of information including vehicle speed (and road speed-limit), ADAS warnings and navigation instructions so he/she does not have to take their eyes from the road. I loved it!

The numbers still say efficient and good value

Once again, I bettered the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel-economy ratings getting 28.9 miles per gallon during my time behind the wheel — which, again, thanks to the CX-30’s smooth operation, begged me to push it and not try to eke out top fuel numbers. The EPA rates the CX-30 at 25 mpg overall, 22 in the city, 30 on the highway.

The bottom line in the second year of the Turbo Premium Package remains well below $40,000 as the total price for the 2022 model was $36,345 including $1,225 for delivery, processing and handling fee (the two options on this vehicle: $595 for the machine-gray metallic paint and $125 for the rear-bumper guard).

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Package remains a solid, superb choice in the crowded, very-competitive subcompact SUV world. And with the terrific value comes Mazda’s ability to deliver in a smooth, fun package.

Next week TBR Drives the Ford Maverick XL Hybrid small pickup truck.