2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo: A Pretty Picture Mazda’s CX-30 wants to enter the petite-size crossover bout. It’s tidy but its polished demeanor plays upper-crust transport better than some upscale autos. Add 2.5-liter turbo power and it’s quick on its metaphorical feet with good overtaking power. Yet, the extra gonads aren’t for burnouts; the engine is down speeded where its ample 310 lb-ft of torque (10 more using premium fuel) motivates a cooperative six-speed automatic. Paddles shifters and manumatic sport mode let you beat the normal drive mode to the punch. Stabbing the go pedal produces velvety getaway in Mazda’s normal drive mode. Fuel economy is respectable. The EPA says 22-mpg city, 30 highway and 25 combined. I saw 28.2 mpg. Horsepower varies: 227 with 87 octane; 250 with premium. The small fuel tank, however, limits you to about a 300-mile range. That and the small car’s big blind spots are its major demerits. The look is Mazda familiar, like a shrunken CX-5. Regardless, it’s a handsome sled. The tail lamps with their aero-aiding fins project into the rear opening, so handle your cargo ingest with care. The hooks for the aft-bay’s cover are flimsy too, but they’re easy to replace. As tested, the Premium Plus PKG with AWD sports a Monroney bottom line of $35,995. Mazda’s features list has lots of “Is” as in I-Active (AWD) or I-Active sense (driver assist). And then, there are “Ms.” Mazda places them in abbreviations for, say, radar cruise control with stop and go (MRCC). The top-dog PPP includes parking sensors, rear cross traffic braking and traffic jam assist. A forward camera is another aid, as is a bird’s eye view setup. There’s a front crash abatement setup system with braking. Mazda’s engineers plucked its compact 3 sedan/hatchback chassis rather than the smaller one used on the now departed CX-3. Either way, the 30 is built in Mexico with 65% Mexican content. And unlike some rivals with independent rear suspensions, this AWD vehicle utilizes a torsion beam rear axle. The car’s road going disposition, however, is most agreeable. The steering is nicely weighted. It holds a line much like a product from Ingolstadt. Feedback through the tiller, like those newer German rides, isn’t strong. Lane keep assist lets you deviate slightly from center without protesting too much. It will vibrate the steering wheel and then correct your wayward ways, though. Adaptive cruise and swiveling LED headlamps with auto high beams lead the way. Ride quality is active on Dairyland’s curdled roadways. You feel dribbling in your legs. These quakes are dampened by densely padded seat cushions, as if you’re riding atop memory foam. That's pretty good for a sporty 18-inch wheeled CUV. The cabin’s cozy confines are tight for four full-sized adults. Its trimmings are mostly plush, although the leather surfaces feel like vinyl. Mazda uses either soft-touch or upholstered/stitched covers for the front center console, dash pad, dash fascia and more. The right front throne lacks height and tilt and lumbar. The driver gets multiple power adjustments. Instrumentation is digital with analogue like needles. Trip data are complete but Teutonic hash marks on gauges lack visual punch. So you might not notice miles to empty or instant mpg. These are shown in arced brackets flanking the central, circular info screen. You can view average mpg in the latter device. Aft riders face airline-style seat backs—nicely shaped and padded. Your knees won’t poke into unfriendly territory. There are rear vents too. A head-up display is a nifty perk. The non-touch infotainment screen has Mazda’s rotary-control interface. This slick clicking setup requires multiple steps for simple tasks. For instance, you must go back to band, find the station guide and then tune up or down. The Mazda Navigation System found my tough-to-locate spots without a hitch. Three cheers for knobs dedicated to IP brightness and odometer reset. And you can fiddle with some driver assist settings with the steering wheel’s switchgear. Some of these buttons are silvery with difficult to decipher graphics in daylight. The CX-30 carves curves with some front end push. The stability program seems well calibrated. Sport mode makes shifts more abrupt and keeps engine rpm high. Yet, the standard drive mode squirts through traffic just fine. Wind and road noise are adequately hushed. Brake pedal modulation is easy to master. The auto parking brake and auto hold braking reduces footwork. The hold indicator, however, was difficult to see in bright sunlight. Hauling stuff isn’t the CX-30’s forte. There’s not much height to the cargo bay. Plus, you might have to remove the rear headrests in order to fold the rear seat. Yet, your gear‘s confines are better than the average purse. And you don’t have to wrestle with the center rear shoulder belt as it is attached to the seat. Mazda’s CX-30 decked out with its perplexingly named perks is an engaging upstart. It’s ideal for those who think good things should come in subcompact packages.