LOS ANGELES — Mazda's CX-30 subcompact crossover was called on to do some heavy lifting when it was offered for the 2020 model year. Its sales of just more than 38,000 last year kept the automaker in the black, with a 0.2 percent rise in deliveries across its seven-vehicle lineup, despite the pandemic.
But for 2021, the CX-30 has an even bigger challenge: to take on brands such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz in the small-crossover segment where labels still mean a lot.
Mazda engineers have armed the CX-30 with a new turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive and an upscale interior for the heavy lift.
The CX-30 2.5 Turbo, launched last month, is Mazda's strongest play yet as it seeks to move the brand upmarket without losing its mainstream buyers. The crossover sits on a new platform, with new infotainment software, high-end materials such as red leather and a full standard safety suite.
"We know the CX-30 has had great success in its current positioning, but with the addition of the turbo engine and the additional power, that really does allow it to compete versus the small SUVs in the premium zone," said Kingsley Iduma, manager of vehicle planning and strategy at Mazda North American Operations. "The turbo is the next step in Mazda's path to premium."