No car has surprised me more in recent years than the Mazda CX-30. It’s the company’s compact crossover, built on its new Skyactiv-Vehicle architecture, which it shares with the Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback. Like those models, the CX-30 is now available with Mazda’s turbocharged 2.5L engine, giving the already-refined CUV the power it needs to compete for customers with the premium brands the Japanese automaker is beginning to target. Although, starting at $29,990, it’s at a price that’s still more Mazda than Mercedes-Benz.

Picking on crossovers is easy. Heck, I’ve done it more than once. But I have a confession to make: I’m starting to like some of them. As a now-firmly middle-aged person with the aches that entails, crossovers are easy to get into and out of than low-slung cars. The same goes for putting stuff in the back, and the higher hip point means a better view of the road ahead. What’s more, they don’t have to be boring choremobiles.

In the same way that the hot hatch evolved out of front-wheel-drive econoboxes in Europe in the 1970s, fun-to-drive crossovers are now a thing. Exhibits A, B, and C: the Porsche Macan GTS, Cayenne Coupe Turbo S E-Hybrid, and Aston Martin DBX. True, you’d expect those to be good, given how much they cost. But now we can add the CX-30 Turbo to that list—and for less than half the price of the Macan.

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