Thoroughly Enjoyable To Drive. Few subcompact SUVs are as enjoyable to drive as the 2023 Mazda CX-30. Mazda has imparted its fun-to-drive nature into its smallest SUV and the result is an SUV that will bring a smile to any driver’s face. For 2023, the CX-30 arrives with some updates that should make it even more enjoyable to drive.

The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine has been updated to make more power while improving fuel economy. Horsepower sits at 191 hp, while torque has been increased to 186 pound-feet. It’s a modest upgrade of 5 hp from last year, but the added power is a welcomed addition.

For a massive increase in performance, the CX-30 is available with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. On premium gas, the engine makes up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Those figures make the engine one of the most powerful in the class.

Having punchy engines is one thing, but the Mazda goes above and beyond by offering crisp steering and enjoyable driving dynamics. The subcompact SUV has athletic handling and sharp reflexes to be fun to drive.

Premium Design Meets Upscale Cabin. The CX-30 has a high-end design that makes it look more along the lines of a luxury option. Its tidy shield-shaped grille, slim headlights, and high fender arches that result in a creased hood give it a stunning look. The rear end of the SUV has dual exhaust outlets, slim taillights, and a curvy liftgate to make a statement at the back.

While the exterior design of the CX-30 will draw people in, the cabin is what gets them to stay. The interior has a handsome design with a straightforward dashboard. The central display is tucked far back in the dash that slightly raises as it reaches the instrument cluster. A classy design sets the CX-30 apart from rivals, which tend to err on the side of convenience.

In addition to having an upscale design, the CX-30 features first-class interior materials. Move up to one of the SUV’s higher trim levels and it feels just as upscale as some options from luxury brands.

2022 Mazda CX-30 Interior

Well-Equipped Trims. While the CX-30 isn’t the most high-tech subcompact SUV in the class, it comes packed with desirable features. An 8.8-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, eight audio speakers, voice recognition, and a seven-inch digital instrument cluster are standard.

Noteworthy upgrades include navigation, a Bose audio system, a wireless charging pad, and satellite radio. But most shoppers will be impressed with the CX-30’s list of standard tech features. It’s a similar case with the CX-30’s list of safety features, which impresses considering adaptive cruise control is standard on top of features we’ve come to expect.

The one issue we have with the CX-30’s tech is with its infotainment screen. The central display isn’t a touchscreen but requires drivers to use a tiny rotary knob and a few physical controls on the center console to control. It’s a confusing system and is distracting to use while driving. We’d prefer a simple touchscreen over a rotary knob any day of the week.

Short on Space. Subcompact SUVs aren’t known for having roomy interiors, but the CX-30 falls on the smaller side of things. The CX-30 is fine for two adults and some teenagers in the back, but it’s not the roomiest option for adults. The rear seats land in the middle of the class, offering more space than some, but less space than others.

Cargo capacity follows a similar trend with the CX-30 being slightly below average than most of its rivals. The SUV has 20.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and a total of 45.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

Final Thoughts. In a segment where options prioritize usability and versatility over design and performance, the 2023 Mazda CX-30 does its own thing. It looks and feels more premium than every other option in the class while having some of the most enjoyable driving dynamics in the segment. The only thing we’re left wanting with the CX-30 is a more modern infotainment system.

In comparison, the Hyundai Kona is one of the few subcompact SUVs that are nearly as fun to drive as the CX-30, especially with the high-performance Kona N. The SUV comes with an extensive list of standard safety features, has an intuitive infotainment system, and has a striking design. Other competition includes the Honda HR-V which was recently redesigned. It has a roomy cabin, a composed ride, straightforward tech features, and a large cargo area.

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