What to Look for When Buying a Used Mazda CX-30


2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo

The Mazda CX-30 is a relatively new compact crossover SUV that slots into the Mazda lineup above the smaller CX-3 and below the CX-5. It’s been around for a couple of years now so it’s time to start thinking of what to look out for when buying a used Mazda CX-30.

You’ll find the Mazda CX-30 costs more when it’s brand new than a number of its biggest rivals, so it probably makes sense to look at a used one instead if you want one but the price of buying a brand new one is putting you off. In my opinion, the CX-30 is one of the most attractive crossovers out there at the moment, and I think it’s so good that I’ve just gone out and bought one myself!

What is the Mazda CX-30?

The Mazda CX-30 is a subcompact crossover SUV that went into production in 2019 as the bigger brother of the CX-3, but it’s still a little smaller than the CX-5. The good news for potential buyers is that despite its small footprint, the CX-30 is actually a very spacious little crossover that’s also very refined. The CX-30 is perfect for anyone who needs a spacious vehicle but only has a small parking space or garage to house it.

You might assume that the CX-30 is based on the same platform as the smaller, but similarly-named CX-3, but that’s not the case. The CX-30 is actually based on the same platform and is very mechanically similar to the Mazda 3 sedan, but most of the perceived shortcomings of the Mazda 3 have been fixed with the CX-30. I personally think the Mazda 3 hatch is the most attractive vehicle in this area of the market, but the CX-30 is a better vehicle all-round and that’s why I bought one instead of a Mazda 3.

Is the Mazda CX-30 selling well?

The Mazda CX-30 is selling very well as Mazda sold more than 38,000 units of the CX-30 in 2020 which is a big success for a brand new vehicle in this section of the market. That’s still a long way short of the 146,420 CX-5 models Mazda sold in the US in the same year, but it totally eclipses the 8,335 CX-3s sold in 2020.

Although the Mazda 3 shifted 33,608 units in 2020 it’s expected the CX-30 will take a considerable number of sales away from the 3 and it will probably all but wipe out the CX-3 in the next year or two.

Is the Mazda CX-30 a replacement for the CX-3?

When the Mazda CX-30 was launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2019, company officials were at pains to point out that it wasn’t intended as a replacement for the smaller CX-3. Although the CX-30 was officially intended as an addition to the Mazda SUV family, the obvious popularity of the CX-30 and the small number of CX-3 models being sold will probably see the CX-30 replace the CX-3 unless Mazda decides to completely redesign the CX-3 to further distinguish it from the CX-3.

Why is the Mazda CX-30 so popular?

The Mazda CX-30 is so popular because it’s an extremely attractive subcompact crossover that excels in just about every area a vehicle like this has to excel in to be successful. Although it’s not as affordable as many of its key rivals, the CX-30 is a cut above the competition in terms of style, quality and refinement.

If your budget doesn’t run to a similar vehicle from a prestige brand such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Cadillac or Lincoln, however, you can have the same levels of style and quality from the Mazda for a lot less money. The truth is that Mazda models like the CX-30 now sit in the space between mass-market and luxury brands.

Think of the Mazda along similar lines to brands like Buick and GMC who also try to straddle the gap between luxury and mass-market. Although Lincoln is supposed to be a proper luxury brand, I’d suggest a Lincoln badge doesn’t justify such a huge price difference from Mazda these days.

Take the Lincoln Corsair, which is the brand’s newest small crossover SUV. It is slightly bigger than the Mazda CX-30 – but only just – yet the Lincoln costs almost 50 percent more than the Mazda CX-30. I’d go for the Mazda and save the money, but maybe that’s just me because I don’t consider the Lincoln brand to be anywhere near as prestigious as Mercedes or BMW.

How well does the Mazda CX-30 hold its value?

The Mazda CX-30 holds its value pretty well – at least that’s what the evidence tells us so far. The caredge.com website estimates that the CX-30 will only depreciate by 29% over three years from brand new, which compares to 40% for a Chevy Trax.

A quick look at Auto Trader shows the cheapest used CX-30 for sale at the time of writing was a 2020 base model with AWD that’s done 5,300 miles and is being sold for $19,300. The MSRP for that model was $23,450 before any discount, so it was probably sold originally for around $22,500. Although $3,000 for the used version is a significant saving over the brand new price for a car at this level, it does show the CX-30 is holding its value pretty well.

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Is the Mazda CX-30 a reliable car?

There’s already been a widespread recall issued by Mazda for the CX-30, but the good news is it’s not a major mechanical issue and it does cure what could be an annoying problem for some owners. Some 13,857 CX-30 models were recalled to fix a problem with the liftgate that meant it could lower unexpectedly from open when the Mazda was parked on an incline; possibly resulting in an injury.

Of course, the reason why this problem doesn’t apply to every CX-30 is that only the highest trim levels of the Mazda feature the power liftgate. If you’re looking to buy a used Mazda CX-30 and it’s not the Premium model you probably won’t have this problem anyway.

Other more severe recalls have also been issued, however, which have led some to question whether the CX-30 is going to live up to the generally high standards of reliability normally enjoyed by Mazda owners.

2020 CX-30s equipped with all-wheel drive were recalled for a potential fire hazard which was down to a possible disconnected evaporative vent hose on the fuel system. Also, the NHTSA issued a recall of the 2021 Mazda CX-30 for a tire air valve leaking issue in February 2021.

In my experience, these issues shouldn’t put you off buying a used Mazda CX-30. Every brand new vehicle has its share of recalls and they’re mostly corrected as soon as they become apparent. Regardless of how much testing manufacturers carry out on new models before they go on sale, nothing can replicate what happens when real drivers get to use them extensively on a daily basis in all sorts of different environments.

What’s the fuel economy of the Mazda CX-30 like?

Front-drive versions of the 2020 CX-30 are rated by the EPA at 25 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined. The addition of AWD sees those ratings drop by about 1 mpg, but don’t be fooled into thinking the cylinder deactivation feature on CX-30 Premium models makes a significant difference because the EPA says otherwise.

The fuel economy ratings for the CX-30 are average in the segment at best, and you can easily do better if fuel economy is a big deal for you. For the 2021 model year, a much-anticipated 2.5-liter turbocharged engine was made available, and this one is even worse with EPA ratings of 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.

Is the Mazda CX-30 good in the snow?

The Mazda CX-30 can be good in the snow thanks to the eight-inch ground clearance and the all-season tires that come standard, but you really should go for an all-wheel-drive version if snow and ice are things you’re likely to have to contend with in the winter.

There’s no way the CX-30 should be considered as any sort of serious off-roader, even when equipped with all-wheel drive. To be fair, vehicles like this are not designed for hardcore off-roading and most people would never take a CX-30 off-road even if it had the necessary capability.

How much should you pay for a used Mazda CX-30?

You can pick up a good Mazda CX-30 for just under $20,000 as long as you don’t need all the bells and whistles, and once the Mazda has been around longer and more of them are on the road and on used car lots, the lower the prices will fall.

The good news is that as long as your budget can run to a couple of thousand dollars more you really can get a lot of CX-30 for your money. With used cars, the price gap between trim levels reduces as the sticker price drops, so you might be tempted to spend the extra to get a higher trim level as high-specification models represent better and better value for money as a model ages.

Which used Mazda CX-30 model should you buy?

While the Mazda CX-30 is so relatively new to the used car market I’d suggest the best value version is the same as it is when the Mazda is being shopped brand new, and that means the Select trim level. On top of the base model’s standard equipment, the Select trim level adds synthetic leather upholstery, rear climate vents, bigger 18-inch alloy wheels, and blind-spot monitoring.

The Select costs about $2,000 more than the base model when brand new, but that difference could be as little as $1,000 or less with a one or two-year-old model. In the future, when there are more used CX-30s on the market and the Mazda has been around for a while, base models will probably look very cheap as the demand will inevitably be for higher-spec models as they will look like much better value.

How many seats are there in a Mazda CX-30?

There are five seats in a Mazda CX-30 but I would suggest you consider it to really be a four-seater if you’re going to have adults in the rear seats. You could squeeze three adults in the second row if you had to, but they’d definitely have to be very familiar with the others back there as it would be a tight squeeze.

If you’re a couple with two or three kids, however, a used Mazda CX-30 would make a great little family vehicle.

Is the Mazda CX-30 AWD?

Non-turbo versions of the Mazda CX-30 are standard front-wheel drive with AWD available as an option for every trim level. However, if you are shopping for a CX-30 with the 2.5-liter turbo-four you’ll get AWD as part of the standard equipment.

How safe is a used Mazda CX-30?

With superb crash-test scores and automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control standard with all versions of the CX-30, a used Mazda CX-30 is about as safe a car as you can get in this class. Go for a Select trim (as I suggest) or higher and you’ll also have the extra safety provided by blind-spot monitors.

The Mazda CX-30 gets a full five-star rating for overall safety from the NHTSA and the IIHS has given the little Mazda their Top Safety Pick rating.

Is the Mazda CX-30 fast?

Although a used Mazda CX-30 might not be the fastest compact crossover SUV you can buy, it’s fast enough for what it is and any lack of top speed and acceleration is more than made up for the overall driving experience offered by the sensational little crossover.

Non-turbo versions of the CX-30 will get you from 0 to 60mph in around 8 seconds, which isn’t bad by any means, but models equipped with the 2.5-liter turbo-four get to 60 mph in a pretty impressive 5.8 seconds. The top speed for non-turbo versions of the CX-30 is just over 115 mph, but turbocharged versions can reach almost 127 mph courtesy of their 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque on regular-grade gas or 250 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. on 93 octane fuel.

The standout aspect of the CX-30 is the fact it can easily be claimed that it offers the most engaging driving experience in its class, and the way it accelerates, steers, rides, and handles is more cohesive than anything else in the segment. If you’re someone who enjoys driving for the sake of driving, the CX-30 has to be the most precise-responding and fun-to-drive compact crossover you can buy. The Mazda avoids exhibiting any of the harshness and lack of polish in some areas of its performance that can sully the experience daily drivers can encounter with rival models.

Is the Mazda CX-30 comfortable?

As I’ve said earlier, the interior of the Mazda CX-30 is more spacious than you’d probably expect, but that’s only part of the story here. The comfort and quality inside the cabin of the CX-30 at all levels is a step above what we’ve come to expect from mass-market models. Yes, the top-spec versions of some mass-market crossovers can rival the entry-level models of some luxury vehicles, but the CX-30 feels like a luxury model at every grade.

The excellent materials and the build quality on display are every bit as good as German luxury rivals costing considerably more, and this is why you shouldn’t be put off the CX-30 because it costs a little more than many of its class rivals. The CX-30 is a luxury model in all but name, and if you can find a more comfortable compact crossover for the same money I’d be interested to know what it is.

What’s the highest level of Mazda CX-30?

The highest Mazda CX-30 trim level is the CX-30 Premium, but there are two versions of each trim level from 2021 onwards after the option of the turbocharged engine was introduced.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is available in Base, Select, Preferred and Premium trim levels, and all four were standard front-wheel-drive with AWD available. The 2021 version is available in S, Select, Preferred and Premium trim levels with the standard engine, but turbo models come in 2.5 Turbo, 2.5 Turbo Premium and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus versions. Non-turbo models are standard front-wheel-drive with AWD available but all turbocharged versions of the CX-30 are standard AWD.

If you want to know the full features included with each trim level so you know which model to shop for, here are the official brochures for you to download for free.

Is a used Mazda CX-30 worth the money?

The Mazda CX-30 is a subcompact crossover SUV that delivers a premium experience for mass-market prices, and that’s why I can wholeheartedly say a used Mazda CX-30 is definitely worth the money and you should definitely go ahead and buy one if you like the Mazda. Yes, it does cost a little more than its non-luxury rivals, but it also costs a lot less than luxury competitors from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi and others and the Mazda has more in common with them than it has with those lesser brands.

I do have one confession to make here, however, and that confession is that I’ve bought a brand new CX-30 rather than a used one. The reason for that is I can lease one for a much lower monthly cost than I would have to find for a one-year-old used example, but leasing brand new versus financing a used model with a lower purchase price is another debate entirely.

If you have the cash to buy a subcompact crossover SUV outright, it’s hard to see a better buy out there right now than a used Mazda CX-30.

Sean Cooper

Former retail auto industry professional for almost a decade and an automotive writer and journalist for the last 8 years

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