If there is one carmaker, Japanese or not, that consistently puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to performance, it’s Mazda. Already flush with a lineup of cars with razor-sharp handling, over the last few years it has also been quietly turbocharging everything too. Today the Hiroshima company announced that it’s now putting its 2.5-liter turbo into its CX-30, essentially a 3 wagon with plastic cladding. But why?
Aside from the obvious performance reasons, Mazda has a very good reason to turbocharge its cars, but it’s also a slightly sad reason. We were duly impressed with a CX-30 we drove last year. Its Hashiru Yorokobi (“Joy from Driving”) and Jinba Ittai (“Horse and Rider as One”) philosophies continue to permeate every chassis it makes. And yes, that even applies to crossovers. Shocking, we know. We explained then how Mazda manages to do this time and time again. However, no one is buying Mazdas. Its sales numbers are consistently terrible, a blip compared to Toyota’s.
Unfortunately, these qualities are not something the average buyer can see on a spec sheet, or even a test drive around the block. So, according to our sources, that’s a main reason why Mazda has chosen to turbocharge everything. Having a three-digit number staring at you in the face is the only way to break through to the average American.
You’ve probably guessed that the CX-30’s new engine is the same one that’s in a host of other Mazdas, including the 3, 6, CX-5, and CX-9, where it makes up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque in premium fuel. On regular, it makes 227 and 310, respectively, the flexibility made possible by Mazda’s SkyActiv-G technology. Either way, it’s kind of a lot for a vehicle of this size.
The CX-30 was a perfectly fine vehicle without the turbo. Mazdas routinely get top marks for safety and quality too, but when it comes time to buy a new car most people default to the Toyota or Honda dealer. Mazda’s hoping that with class-leading output numbers it can attract the attention of some of those buyers. It’s the only way it’ll survive, and the only way we’ll continue to get our Miatas.
Images courtesy of Mazda.