Mazda’s 2.5-liter, 250-horsepower turbocharged engine made headlines when it was introduced in the new Mazda 3. For 2021 the engine has made its way into the CX-30, which slots between the CX-3 and CX-5 but has measurements that bring it confusingly close to both models.
Mazda has been reaching for that shiny “premium” title and the CX-30 seems to have positioned both the engine and the model’s pricing to reflect this. The base CX-30 Turbo starts at $29,900. Oddly, this price is $50 cheaper than the Premium trim with the non-turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. (The
CX-30 with the non-turbo engine with front-drive starts at $28,550.)
There are three trim levels for the CX-30 Turbo: the aforementioned $29,900 base model; the Premium trim for $32,300 and Premium Plus for $33,900.
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The differences in pricing between the trims are so subtle you almost start to wonder what you’re paying more for. But it just comes down to packages and features, of course. For example, the difference between the base Turbo model and the Premium trim is leather seating, adaptive HID headlights, a head-up display and a navigation system. A fully loaded CX-30 Turbo tops out at $35,000.
Other than the pricing and turbo engine, the premium look and feel Mazda is going for comes through in other areas. The interior, for instance, is a pretty damn nice place to be, with soft-touch materials on most surfaces and contrasting stitching. Those premium aspirations can be seen in who Mazda thinks its competitors are. With its turbo engine and AWD, Mazda is going after the Audi Q3 S Line Premium, Lexus UX 250 F Sport and Subaru Crosstrek Limited.
Those of us who see this as just another small Japanese entry-level crossover know its real competitors are vehicles like the Honda HR-V and Hyundai Venue. Only then does the CX-30 come across as more premium. But if you’re looking for power and some capability in a tall hatch, and you have $35,000 burning a hole in your pocket, the CX-30 may be just right for you.