Why Mazda is turbocharging all the things

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.

 

 

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9 Responses to Why Mazda is turbocharging all the things

  1. Mark said:

    Pretty sure they won’t be turbocharging the MX-5…plenty of aftermarket kits for that.

  2. speedie said:

    Anyone who buys a Toyota or Honda without at least driving an equivalent Mazda model is missing out on what great handling dynamics is all about. Unfortunately most of my friends no longer look at their vehicles as something that should be fun. They are more focused on perceived low maintenance cost and resale value.

    • james said:

      I agree wholeheartedly and that’s just sad. A lot of people are just disconnected from the road,from driving in general.

    • potato said:

      most Mazda vehicles are still Front Wheel Driven, so if you are looking for great handling, most likely folks would be looking at European cars.

      Lexus & Infiniti do have few RW cars, though i’m not sure how a 3 or 6 would handle compared to IS or Q50.

  3. Rick Moore said:

    I love my 2016 Mazda6. I will probably buy another one in the future…I have my eye on either the MX-5 or a new Mazda3 hatch.

  4. brice dyal brice dyal said:

    Mazda are THE JAPANESE BMW! WITH RELIABILITY, QUALITY PAST 200K AND NO NIGGLES!!!

    FOR ME MAZDAS HAVE SOUL!

    AND

    UNLIKE A CIVIC,ACCORD, CAMRY ETC

    I CAN DRIVE A MAZDA MORE THAN 2 HOURS WITHOUT BEING CRIPPLED…

    I HAD A 16 CIVIC, LOVED THE CAR…

    BUT AFTER A YEAR DRIVING THE SOULLESS SEWING MACHINE I TRADED IT TOWARDS A FORD FUSION SPORT, AWD, 0-60 LESS THAN 6 SEC, 1/4 MILE IN THE 13S THEN HIGH 12S

    BUT

    MOST IMPORTANTLY

    AFTER A 800 MILE DAY I WASNT CRIPPLED!!!

    THE CIVIC WOULD CRIPPLE ME FOR 2 HOURS AFTER DRIVING IT LESS THAN 90 MINUTES!!!

    MY DREAM CAR IS NOT A FERRARI OR HELLCAT

    250HP 300FTLB MIATA RF 6 SPD MANUAL!!!

  5. truboost said:

    Now Mazda needs to MANUAL ALL THE THINGS…!!

  6. Gabe said:

    Gotta love Mazda. But I feel the premise of this post is off base. Sure Mazda is sticking turbos across its lineup but it is doing it in such a way only premium trims have turbos. Most base and midline models have NAs. This is vastly different than the likes of Forrd, or a Honda which is using downsized turbos across almost all compact or CUV trims. Secondly, Mazda sales were never on fire. But Mazda actually has seen a faster recovery in sales from COVID then Toyota. Don’t believe me? Prove me wrong.

  7. Joseph Burroughs said:

    I have the 2019 Grand Touring Reserve 2.5 Turbo sedan and I love it easy maintenance cheap on gas we’ll build vehicle

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