The Mazda CX-30 is a subcompact crossover that’s largely based on the Mazda3.
Since it was released in 2020, it’s gotten rave reviews for its upscale interior, attractive styling, nimble handling, and excellent tech features.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common issues and complaints CX-30 owners have had over the years.
Table of Contents
1. Excessive Oil Consumption
Mazda CX-30s equipped with the more powerful 2.5-liter turbo engine can suffer from oil consumption issues.
Many owners have reported that they’ve had to add at least one quart of oil in between oil changes.
Symptoms include a ‘Low Engine Oil Level’ warning light and, in some cases, a check engine light on the dash.
Here is how a couple of owners described their experience on CX30Talk.com:
“I have a 2021 Turbo Premium Plus with 8000+ miles and I have had to top off the oil twice.”
“2021 Turbo here. Changed out my factory oil at 3500mi. Got a low warning about 1500mi later, so I checked for leaks underneath. Dipstick was reading between the holes, therefore half a quart low.”
“My CX 30 is a 2021 with 25,000 miles. I am currently adding a quart of oil every 1,500 – 1,800 miles.”
Mazda eventually addressed the problem through a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) in November 2022.
According to the TSB, the 2021 and 2022 CX-30 Turbo models, as well as other Mazda vehicles equipped with the same engine, have issues with the exhaust valve stem seals. The faulty seals allow oil to enter the combustion chamber where it gets burned up.
Mazda CX-30 Turbos made after June 2022 shouldn’t have any oil consumption/burning issues because the newer cars should have the updated valve seals.
To fix the CX-30 Turbo’s oil consumption problem, the cylinder head has to be opened up to replace the defective valve stem seals. This will only be done free of charge if the vehicle is still under warranty.
2. Low Battery Warning
Many Mazda CX-30 owners have complained about frequently seeing a low battery warning on the dash. In some cases, the car eventually fails to start soon after the message appears.
This is a very common issue for the 2021 model year of the Mazda CX-30, although it has also been reported to occur in 2020 models, albeit to a lesser extent.
The “Low Battery Risk” warning on the dashboard, which is then followed by several chimes, typically only happens if the car’s electronic accessories have been active for 30 minutes or more while the engine is not running. Despite the warning, the car should still start with no additional errors or issues.
However, in some cases, owners have found that the battery gets fully drained soon after seeing the warning, and are only able to get the car to turn on after getting a jump start.
The following can keep the Mazda CX-30’s electronics awake and drain the battery:
- Opening the doors and/or tailgate
- Listening to the radio
- Leaving the car in ‘Accessory’ mode
- Adjusting the seats
- Turning on the cabin lights
- Leaving the key fob nearby
- Installing aftermarket accessories like dashcams
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“New CX-30 owner here, trouble free for the first two months except for one issue. A few times with the ignition button pressed once to the “Accessory” position to listen to the radio, after about 30 minutes I would get the “Low Voltage Risk – Start Engine” alarm on the center dash display. The alarm would sound for about twenty seconds and then go out.”
“I got the “Low Voltage Risk 12v Battery-Start Engine” within days of purchasing my new 2021 CX30 Premium Plus. I thought the dealer must have had it in accessory mode too much before I bought it. Husband charged the battery to 100%. The next morning I got the same warning. I had not even driven the car or used it in accessory mode.”
Mazda released a TSB in March 2022 that recommends updating the BCM’s (Body Control Module) software. This update extends the activation period of the power saving mode and the battery warning from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. It also deactivates the power saving mode after turning on the engine for 3 seconds, which has been significantly lowered from its original setting of 5 minutes.
If the car’s battery continues to drain on its own, the dealer should be able to check if it’s caused by a wiring issue or faulty hardware. Removing any aftermarket electronics can also help narrow down the cause of the parasitic drain.
If you’re worried about getting stranded due to a drained battery, you can keep a portable jump starter inside the car at all times. You can always open the door using the emergency key inside the key fob if the keyless entry system stops working.
3. Cylinder Deactivation Vibrations
A few Mazda CX-30 owners have complained about vibrations when cruising at certain speeds both in town and on the highway.
In some cases, it’s the cylinder deactivation that causes the vibrations, but it’s also often caused by improperly balanced tires.
Owners with cylinder activation issues report that they notice vibrations or shuddering at around 45 mph. Other Mazda vehicles with cylinder deactivation, like the 3 and the CX-5, have also had similar complaints.
Here’s how one CX-30 owner on the Mazdas247.com forum described their experience:
“My CX-30 has vibrations when cylinder deactivation kicks in, same as on the 3, annoying. They tried to fix it, but it made it worse. Can’t even trade it in for another car, and Mazda says it is ok, the vibrations and rattling sideways are within limits.”
Cylinder deactivation came standard in the CX-30’s Premium trim level when it was launched in 2020. Although some 2021 models also had it, it was eventually completely phased out in 2022.
It did return for the 2023 model year and is now standard in all trim levels of the CX-30 that have the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine. None of the turbo models ever came with cylinder deactivation.
Despite this, most owners don’t have any issues with shaking or vibrations when the cylinder deactivation kicks in, so it’s only noticeable in a relatively small number of vehicles.
Mazda did release a TSB which recommends updating the car’s ECU software to make the cylinder deactivation operate more smoothly. It also recommends replacing the radiator mounting brackets to reduce additional NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness).
To verify whether your car’s vibrations are caused by the cylinder deactivation feature, you can go into the vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency Monitor and select the Energy Flow Monitor which shows you whether cylinder deactivation is working or not.
If your car doesn’t have the Energy Flow Monitor, then it’s not equipped with cylinder deactivation.
This means that the vibrations are caused by something else like the tires, suspension problems or transmission issues. In such cases, it’s best to take it back to the dealer for a proper diagnosis.
4. Small Gas Tank
One of the most common complaints owners have with the CX-30 is its relatively small 12.7-gallon gas tank.
Its gas mileage also isn’t particularly amazing despite being a small and relatively affordable car. The base 2.5-liter engine only gets up to 29 mpg combined and the turbocharged model gets 25 mpg.
If most of your driving is on the highway, you can get a little over 350 miles per tank in ideal conditions.
In stop-and-go traffic, CX-30 owners typically get 200 to 300 miles per tank before the fuel light comes on, and many have reported needing to fill up more frequently compared to their other vehicles.
Here is how a few owners described their experience on the CX-30 subreddit:
“I came home with a new 2022 CX30 CE trim (non-turbo, AWD) about a month ago. When I first got the car from the dealership, it had a full tank range of 220 miles. I mainly do city driving about 90% city, 10% highway). Fast forward to present day, every time I get gas, I only get 150-160 miles on a full tank and averaging 15-16 MPG.“
“I have an AWD model and it also has a smaller gas tank (in addition to the mpg hit), so my fuel light typically comes on around 270-290 miles with a mix of city/highway driving.“
“My average has been in the neighborhood of 28 – 29 mpg (AWD Premium) for the last couple weeks that I’ve been tracking it and resetting after refueling.”
“I’m getting an average mpg of 18, it seems it REALLY sucks at stop and go traffic. Cause on a long trip recently, I got like 350 miles to the tank.”
“I came from a 2014 Jetta and I feel like I fill up my cx-30 a lot more, but I have been driving the cx-30 a ton more just due to how fun it is to drive, and I really just enjoy driving- I also live in Chicago so stop and go traffic seems to burn through my fuel a lot but this is ultimately subjective with how I drive.”
It’s worth mentioning that gas mileage is usually worse during the car’s break-in period. This is because the engine’s internals haven’t properly worn in yet, so there’s more friction, which makes it slightly less efficient.
The CX-30 is also more rewarding to drive compared to other subcompact crossovers, especially with the turbo engine, so many owners tend to drive it more aggressively — resulting in lower MPGs and more frequent fill-ups.
To maximize fuel economy and get the most miles out of a tank, avoid driving in ‘Sport’ mode, maintain a consistent speed, and anticipate traffic to avoid aggressive acceleration and braking.
5. Cramped Back Seat
Another common complaint many owners have with the Mazda CX-30 is the limited legroom in the back seat.
Although it can seat 3 people in the back, most owners say it’s usually a tight fit for larger adults and teenagers. Having only 2 people in the back would be much more comfortable, especially for long trips.
The slightly sloping roofline, which makes the CX-30 look sleeker, can also make taller passengers in the back feel a bit claustrophobic.
Here is how a few CX-30 owners described their experience with the rear seats:
“I’m 6’1″ and long of leg (34″ inseam), so I tend to have the front seat in its rearmost position. A child could sit behind me, but any adult of reasonable size will find it uncomfortable.”
“In my cx30 with four adults it could be pretty tight honestly, if the front seats are back at all it gets cramped in the back.”
“The cx-30 wouldn’t fit a rear facing car seat if you have an adult in the front passenger seat.”
The CX-30’s rear legroom can be slightly improved if the front seats aren’t pushed all the way back. With a taller person in the driver’s seat, there’s really only room in the left rear seat for a small adult or child, so passengers might have to switch seats for better comfort.
Bigger families who need a roomier SUV will be better served by the slightly larger CX-5 or CX-50, or even the midsize CX-9 which has third-row seats.
6. Weak AC
Many Mazda CX-30 owners have had issues with their A/C not being able to keep up in really hot weather.
One fairly common issue that owners have noticed is that the compressor shuts off whenever they step on the gas pedal at half throttle or more. This is quite common with the 2020 model year of the CX-30.
Here’s how a few owners described their issue on CX30Talk.com:
“I bought mine two months ago, its been in the shop 6 of those 8 weeks so far, AC is absolutely rubbish, I live in Southern California, and visit the Palm Springs area often, which is well over 100 degrees, very often, it is not able to cool the interior at all, in a 100 mile drive, it only got to 80 inside the car, as soon as I touched the throttle the AC turned off, so stop start, traffic, was basically next to no AC.”
“I can sit at idle indefinitely and the air temperature will remain at 52 F + or – 2 degrees. Also at a steady speed the temp remains constant. About 15 seconds after any acceleration the temp rises more than 10 degrees, sometimes as much as 14 degrees.”
When the AC compressor is running, it places an additional load on the engine, which lowers its total power output. To counter this, Mazda intentionally designed the compressor in the CX-30 to turn off during acceleration, giving drivers the full power of the engine when needed. However, this can significantly affect passenger comfort.
Mazda released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to address AC performance during acceleration which recommends updating the car’s ECU software. This ensures that the compressor turns back on as soon as you let off the gas pedal which helps to maintain a consistent temperature inside the car.
The same TSB also fixes an issue that affects the 2020 to 2022 model years of the CX-30 where the AC doesn’t sufficiently cool the cabin when it’s around 68F / 20C outside. To fix this issue, the climate control module’s software has to be updated.
A lot of CX-30 owners also recommend leaving the AC on the Auto setting with air recirculation on to get the best and most consistent performance out of it.
If none of these solutions resolve your AC issues, it’s best to take your car to the dealer for a proper diagnosis. Some CX-30 owners have found that their cars didn’t have enough refrigerant in the AC system and a simple recharge resolved the issue and made the AC work as intended.
7. Electronic Parking Brake Issues
A number of CX-30 owners have been frustrated by the fact that there’s no way to permanently disable the electronic parking brake.
The parking brake in the CX-30 and Mazda3 automatically engages every time you turn off the engine.
Some people who live in colder environments prefer to have it off permanently when it’s parked so that the brakes don’t get frozen stuck. Others just don’t appreciate the fact that the choice to engage/disengage the parking brake manually while the vehicle is parked has been taken away from them.
Fortunately, there is still a button on the center that you can press to disengage or pull to engage it when the engine is turned on, but this only works if you have the seat belt buckled.
Here’s how a few owners described their issue with it:
“I hate the APB (Automatic Parking Brake). It should be user selectable. Want it, set it. Don’t want it, turn it off. I live in flat Houston. I don’t need the PB here, especially with an automatic.”
“I do get the safety aspect of it but I live on a flat street on PEI where the whole island is mostly flat. Just this morning… I had my seatbelt buckled, placed it in drive, pressed the gas pedal and it didn’t disengage. The back end just squats down each time.”
“In the cold Canadian prairie winter if you aren’t on the ball manually disabling the parking brake (via center console button), the throttle-based release is absolutely violent when stuff gets frozen up. I could swear it sounded/felt like something in the rear end was going to break a few times. And yes, my seatbelt was on – it does release, but it’s super harsh in the cold!”
In the 2020 to 2021 model years, the electronic parking brake also automatically disengages as soon as you step on the gas as long as the car detects that:
- Doors are closed
- Seatbelt is buckled
- Brake pedal is depressed
- Shifter is in Drive or Reverse
This takes some getting used to if you don’t normally use the parking brake or buckle up before driving off. If you let other people drive your car, such as family, friends or valet attendants, you’ll have to tell them to buckle up and step on the brakes to disengage the parking brake.
Starting with the 2022 model, the parking brake disengages after you shift out of Park and doesn’t require you to buckle your seatbelt, but there’s no way to apply this new parking brake logic to older models.
8. Cruise Control Issues
Many owners have had issues with the CX-30’s MRCC (Mazda Radar Cruise Control) or adaptive cruise control.
One of the more common complaints is that it can’t be permanently turned off. You can use the steering wheel buttons or go into the vehicle settings to disable it, but it automatically gets re-enabled whenever you turn the vehicle back on.
Lots of owners also complained about the cruise control’s aggressive acceleration and braking. People also find that they constantly have to adjust the follow distance. It can also get easily confused when driving on curvy roads and glare from the sun.
Here’s how one owner described their experience:
“Multiple 300 mile stretches where I did not touch the gas or brake once. The system can be a little jerky while you get used to it. Knowing when to cancel and re-engage is very helpful, as well as how to use the distance options safely and effectively.”
“For instance on a long, flat stretch of highway where the person in front of me was doing 80-85, I would usually leave it at a 3 car distance. If I was cruising at 85 where my control was set, and there was no one in front of me for a while, I’d set it to maximum so that if I did come up on someone, I would slow down well before I got to them.”
“Sometimes when I would be going around a bend and there was no car in front of me in my lane, the cruise control would pick up a car slightly ahead of me in the lane next to me and slow me down, thinking they were in my lane because of the angle.”
“Cruise control can be more of a hassle than it’s worth in town unless you’re on a road with few stop signs/lights. Roundabouts also confuse the cruise control.”
The aggressive acceleration and deceleration was eventually addressed by a recall in 2021. This made the adaptive cruise control operate more smoothly, but it can still sometimes be jerky in certain situations.
The different cruise control settings on the steering wheel can be overwhelming to new drivers, so you’ll have to read the owner’s manual carefully and get used to the cruise control’s quirks.
You can also just switch to regular cruise control by unchecking the Mazda Radar Cruise Control option in the vehicle settings, but you’ll have to do this every time you start the car.
It can also malfunction or throw an error on the dash if the radar sensor, which is in the Mazda logo on the front grille, is obstructed by heavy rain, fog, snow or debris. When this happens, try to wipe off and dirt from the sensor first. If it persists, have your dealer check for any faulty hardware or wiring issues.
Mazda CX-30 Pros & Cons
- Fun to drive
- Premium interior
- Affordable starting price
- Powerful turbocharged engine
- Lots of standard safety features
- Great sound system
- Good reliability
- All-wheel drive
- Cramped back seats
- Blind spots in the back
- Fuel economy isn’t amazing
What Do The Reviews Say?
“The CX-30 is easy and engaging to drive. The base engine provides better-than-average power for this class. Our test CX-30 needed 9 seconds to reach 60 mph, where rivals take more than 10 seconds.”
“Of course, you can always go with the turbocharged engine if you have the need for speed. The 0-60 mph time is just 6.4 seconds, making the CX-30 Turbo the quickest car in its class. (It even beats a Volkswagen Golf GTI.)”
“The steering is sharp and gives you a good feel for the road. It complements the CX-30’s excellent handling as it hugs corners and feels composed and at home on twisty roads.”
“For a sporty SUV, the CX-30 is really quite comfortable. The front seats are supportive and comfortable enough for long drives. Freeway cruising is especially nice. The CX-30 has one of the quieter cabins in the class, which lends it an upscale feel.”
“The CX-30 comes standard with a good amount of tech. The advanced safety and driver aids are among the best in class in the way they operate. The upgraded Bose audio system delivers a nice, clear sound with good bass.”
“The Mazda CX-30 is sophisticated, athletic and attractive inside and out. Just like the smaller Mazda CX-3, it handles curvy roads with precision and instills confidence as you continue to drive it, but it has the benefit of more interior space and comfort. All in all, it’s a well-rounded vehicle.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Mazda CX-30?
Here’s a quick look at used car pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.