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As an SUV that's on the smaller side, the 2021 Mazda CX-30 can appeal to a lot of customers. It has the versatility that a lot of people are looking for, and it has the elegant style that Mazdas are known for. On top of that, it's affordable, and this fact makes it really hard to pass up. From certain perspectives, the CX-30 seems like it should be quite a bit more expensive than it is.
Mazda has given its customers four different trims to consider with the CX-30. The lineup starts with the 2.5 S, which is priced at $21,900, and it goes all the way up to the Premium. Though the Premium is packed with features, many of which are the same ones seen on high-end vehicles, it's starting price is still only $28,550.
All of the four trims run on the same engine. It's a 2.5-liter model with four cylinders. Variable valve timing and advanced direct fuel injections are used with this engine, which can generate 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is the standard option, though there's the opportunity to get a CX-30 with all-wheel drive. Mazda's all-wheel drive system is called i-ACTIV AWD, and it comes with an off-road mode to provide more traction in tough conditions. Handling is pretty impressive in the CX-30, which comes standard with a G-Vectoring Control Plus system that can help the vehicle take corners with ease.
The Mazda CX-30 does fairly well in terms of efficiency, at least for a non-hybrid. Front-wheel drive models have a combined fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon. This fuel economy is reduced by two miles per gallon when all-wheel drive is selected.
A note needs to be made here that Mazda is planning on releasing a 2.5 Turbo trim as part of the 2021 CX-30 lineup. As its name suggests, this trim will run on a turbocharged engine that boosts horsepower to 250 and torque to 320 pound-feet. It'll automatically be paired with all-wheel drive, and it will certainly give drivers a fun experience on the roads. For the purposes of this overview, the side-by-side comparison between the Turbo and another trim aren't included since the market is still waiting to see all that the Turbo will have to offer.
Compare the 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 S vs Select Trim Level. What is the Difference?
New this year for the lowest trim of the CX-30 is standard smartphone compatibility. Now, all of the CX-30s have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make it easier to access certain information on a smartphone through a vehicle's infotainment system. Both of these two lower trims have 8.8-inch displays, along with HD Radio, Pandora radio, dual USB ports, and Bluetooth. Eight speakers provide good audio quality.
Though their infotainment systems are the same, there are some key differences between the cabins of the 2.5 S and the Select trims. First, the 2.5 S has cloth seats while the Select has leatherette seats. The Select also has a leather steering wheel and shifter. In the front, there are number of storage compartments to help people stay organized. The Select has the addition of a rear armrest in the center position that has cup holders. When needed, it can be lifted up to accommodate a passenger in the center position. Another way in which the Select differs from the 2.5 S is that it has a climate system with two zones rather than just one.
It's great that Mazda has included push button start on the 2.5 S. It can be so convenient to keep a key safely secured in a pocket while driving, and once most people start using the remote keyless entry system, they don't ever want to go back to the old-fashioned way of locking and unlocking doors. The Select has an even nicer system, as it has Mazda's Advanced Keyless Entry System. It allows keys to stay stored away even when locking and unlocking doors. It can do so because the CX-30 can sense when the "smart key" is in close proximity, and all a driver has to do is touch a sensor on the door handle to lock/unlock it.
From the outside, these trims look almost identical to each other. They both have LED daytime running lights, headlights, and taillights. They also have the same type of front grille. Upon closer examination, though, some differences are evident. Only the Select has rear privacy glass and turn signals integrated into its side mirrors. In addition, the 2.5 S has 16-inch wheels in contrast to the Select's 18-inch wheels. In regards to color choices, the 2.5 S is pretty limited, unlike the Select which can come in red, blue, gray, and silver in addition to white and black.
In the safety category, the Mazda CX-30 gets high marks. It's impressive what Mazda has put into this affordable crossover. The model has many standard components, to include emergency braking, advanced cruise control, automatic high beams, a driver attention alert system, and lane keep assist. What the Select has that the 2.5 S does not is blind spot monitoring. This can be helpful when driving in busy traffic, and the monitoring system comes with an alert for rear cross traffic.
Compare the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Select vs Preferred Trims. What is the Difference?
While moving from the 2.5 S to the Select involves a price increase of $2,000, moving from the Select to the Preferred comes at an additional cost of closer to $2,500. Will people be willing to pay this higher price for the Preferred? It's likely that many will, considering the extra features it has.
In the interior of the Preferred, there are a lot more amenities for people to appreciate. The driver's seat is a power-operated model that can move in eight ways and can remember two positions. The front seats are heated, and the vanity mirrors for both the driver and front passenger come with illumination. An overhead console provides a perfect place to hold sunglasses. The interior color scheme of the Preferred (and the 2.5 S) was limited to being black. In the Preferred, customers have a choice of tan or black.
A sunroof is a highly sought after feature, and the Preferred can attract many customers by having one as a standard component. It's a power-operated roof that can slide open with one touch of a button. An interior sunshade can block out heat on particularly warm days.
One change to the exterior of the Preferred trim is seen in the side mirrors. As previously mentioned, the side mirrors on the Select have turn signals integrated into them, and they are power-operated. Those on the Preferred have those same features, plus they can remember a pre-set position and can tilt down. This tilting function works well when the vehicle is in reverse and the driver wants to be able to get a close look at how he/she is doing with steering.
From a stylistic standpoint, the Preferred looks slightly different than the Select does when viewed from the front. Its grille has a gloss black finish as opposed to a matte finish.
Compare the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Preferred vs Premium Trim Level. What is the Difference?
The CX-30 Premium offers the most advantages. Upon first glance, it might look a little different from the other trims. This is because it has signature LED taillights and headlights. This trim also comes standard with roof rails and a shark-fin antenna. Its rear liftgate is power operated, and this is quite useful when people have their hands full with kids, bags, groceries, or gear. One additional exterior color choice, which is Polymetal Gray Metallic, is given when customers select the Premium level.
From a mechanical standpoint, the CX-30 doesn't differ from the other trims. However, it's the only one to come with paddle shifters. Their location on the steering wheel makes them very convenient to use, and it can be rather exciting to manually override the transmission with the push of a button. Paddle shifters, whether they're used only once, twice, or on a more frequent basis, give the CX-30 Premium a sportier feel.
Mazda gives customers a choice of white or black color schemes for the inside of the Premium cabin. At this level, the seats are covered in a soft leather. While leatherette is a good material, it just doesn't match up to the leather in terms of sophistication.
With the infotainment system, there's a lot to appreciate in the Premium trim. It's the only one to have SiriusXM Satellite Radio. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it really does open up a lot of high-quality entertainment options. It's a major convenience to be able to choose from dozens of radio channels, no matter where one travels. The sound quality in the Premium is greatly improved, thanks to its 12 Bose speakers. The sound system uses Centerpoint 2 and AudioPilot technology to make music notes crisp and clear.
The Premium has the same sized infotainment screen as the Preferred trim does. At 8.8 inches, it's easy to read, and it's very user-friendly. What the Premium has that the other trims don't is integrated navigation. The navigation program can give people turn-by-turn directions as they head out into unfamiliar territory. In many ways, it can be safer to use the vehicle's navigation system rather than using a map application on a smartphone, especially since someone would have to look down at the map on the phone instead of being able to take a quick glance at the vehicle's screen.
There are some safety systems that are found in only the Premium trim. It has the ability to read traffic signs, and it can remind drivers of the information learned from those signs. It provides reminders through the use of an Active Driving Display, which unobtrusively projects key information on the windshield, right behind the steering wheel. With this program, drivers will always know when the speed limit changes or when something important is coming up on the road.
Another safety system on the Premium is adaptive front lighting. When compared to regular headlights, these types of lights can do a better job of illuminating the road. They can actually change the angle at which they're projecting their light, depending on what the vehicle is doing. This results in a situation that's a lot safer, since drivers can more easily see anything that's up ahead of them.
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Which Trim to Choose?
With the 2021 Mazda CX-30, there are a lot of positive things to consider. The price point is attractive, as are the overall stylings of the crossover/SUV. In addition, the vehicle has many advanced components that people will enjoy having, such as standard smartphone compatibility, a nice sound system, and driver-assist technologies that are ready to act at any moment.
The base model comes with a surprising number of features. For 2021, Mazda has decided to put Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into this trim, and it's one reason why the 2.5 S will have a lot of fans. However, if there is a little extra money to spend, there are several reasons why the Select would be a better choice. It has blind spot monitoring, which is a key safety element. It has the slightly more upscale cabin with leatherette seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and its advanced keyless entry system is a bonus.
If people are looking for more high-end elements, the Premium would be a fine choice. So many advantages are exclusive to the Premium, such as leather seats, navigation, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
With the faster engine, the Turbo trim seems like it's going to be a hit, and customers just have to wait a bit longer for Mazda to release more details. It's likely that many people will be full of anticipation as they try to predict how well-equipped the Turbo will be.
• Compare the 2020 Mazda CX-30 Trim Levels