- Beautifully styled and packed with technology
- There is a 26-model line-up featuring five trims and two engines
- Perfectly balanced and great fun to drive
- Rival models have larger boots
- A little road surface noise when pushed hard
- No diesel model available
When Mazda announced it was introducing a model to fill the gap between the CX-3 and CX-5, any right-minded person would expect the new arrival to be called the CX-4. But sadly, that’s not the case as that car already exists in the Mazda range, albeit for the Chinese market alone.
So enter the CX-30 instead with its generously-equipped trim levels called SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Lux.
The car is available powered by two petrol engines both featuring 24-volt mild-hybrid technology. Customers can choose between automatic or manual gearboxes across all trim levels and there is the option of selecting all-wheel drive too.
On The Road
Mazda’s all-new CX-30 SUV is powered by a choice of two petrol engines, both of which feature the 24v Mazda M Hybrid mild-hybrid system. As seen in the recently-launched new Mazda3 there is the 2.0-litre 122PS Skyactiv-G engine that features cylinder deactivation and is matched to front-wheel-drive versions across all trim levels.
Also available is the 2.0-litre 180PS Skyactiv-X petrol engine that features Spark Controlled Compression Ignition. This ground-breaking unit is offered on all CX-30 grades and, from Sport Lux upwards, customers can add Mazda’s all-wheel-drive system to the mix. It’s worth noting there are no diesel engines at all.
We opted for the Skyactiv-G 2.0 122PS model in GT Sport grade with 2WD mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This car, with 213Nm, could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 10.6 seconds and topped out at 116mph.
The performance figures may not sound that fast, but the CX-30 is beautifully composed and the acceleration is smooth and constant through the gears. Sharp bends can be attacked with confidence thanks to the excellent road-holding and overtaking slower-moving vehicles is simple as there is always a constant stream of power on tap.
On motorways, it cruised effortlessly at 70mph and then the good all-round visibility, along with parking sensors and a rearview camera, made life easy in the busier towns.
Mazda prides itself on developing cars that deliver high standards of handling and driver engagement – the CX-30 is another fine example. The car is based on the Mazda3 and maintains all the same performance abilities and fun factors.
The steering wheel is nicely weighted with ample driver feedback through the country lanes and the car feels perfectly balanced too without the slightest hint of wallow or floating through the twists and turns.
The G-Vectoring Control is an important contributor to the CX-30’s impressive dynamics. This system adjusts the engine torque in response to steering input and that helps to optimise the performance and balance of each tyre during cornering. It improves the stability too – as the driver steers out of a corner by turning the wheel back to its centre position, the GVC Plus applies a light braking force to the outer wheels. It’s a system that is not noticeable as you drive but works very effectively in the background.
In fact, the only disappointing factor is our poor roads that sometimes upset the smooth ride and handling.
Viewed from any approach, the all-new Mazda CX-30 is an attention grabber, especially as our test car featured stunning Soul Red Crystal Metallic paintwork. Mazda often throws Japanese words into the mix when describing its cars and this time around we have Sori which means curves with poise, along with Utsuroi which is the play of light and shade. It may sound a tad over the top, but the car, when viewed in the right light, does look like it's moving while it’s actually standing still.
But back to the real world, the five-door CX-30 is a great looking SUV with sleek flowing lines, LED headlights with signature LED daytime running lights, a gloss black roof spoiler, a gloss black grille, privacy glass, power-folding door mirrors, plus a choice of 16- or 18-inch wheels.
Move inside and the interior is class itself. Mazda packs plenty of kit into its cars, but the design and layout remain minimalist with high-class materials throughout.
The seats on our test car were black leather with smart stitching. Factor in the soft-touch surfaces, neat chrome trimmings and curvaceous dashboard and the CX-30 looks and feels very premium and high-end in its design.
When it comes to driver refinement, the CX-30 impresses once again. The four-cylinder engines are nicely hushed until pushed hard and the car is well insulated against wind and road surface noise.
Generally, the suspension system does a great job of smoothing out uneven road surfaces, but hit a pothole hard enough and it will send shudders through your seat.
In The Car
A powered driver’s seat and a fully adjustable steering wheel mean getting the perfect driving position in the CX-30 takes just a matter of seconds. And once sitting comfortably, it soon becomes apparent how driver-focused all the instrumentation and controls are.
The panel behind the steering wheel is clear and precise and perfectly angled towards the driver. In addition, the centre display screen is also turned slightly so it’s easier to see and read on the move.
The CX-30 is kitted out with the latest version of Mazda Connect which comprises an 8.8-inch screen which is controlled by a centrally-mounted dial plus quick keys to the navigation system, music, or a home screen.
All trim levels feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a head-up display that shows the current speed, navigation instructions and speed limits.
There is an eight-speaker sound system, although on GT Sport and GT Sport Tech trim levels, this is upgraded to a pitch-perfect 12-speaker Bose set-up.
Creature comforts are plentiful too with heated seats with three settings along with a heated steering wheel to fend off the winter chill. I particularly liked the simplicity of the climate control set-up which is operated with dials and buttons – just like the good old days!
Another plus point is the excellent all-round visibility which is vitally important for a vehicle that is likely to feature regularly on the school run with cars, parents, pushchairs and children appearing from all angles. Rear parking sensors and a reversing camera help make light work of parking too.
The CX-30 slots in neatly between the CX-3 and CX-5 in Mazda’s SUV range and it measures 4,395mm in length, 1,795mm wide and 1,540mm high with a 2,655mm wheelbase. And those figures translate into a fairly spacious SUV with room for four people to travel in comfort or five at a bit of a squeeze.
Taller rear-seat passengers may struggle slightly for legroom if the front seats are pushed back, but generally, space in the back is good. The boot is okay capacity-wise, but not brilliant, with a limit on our car of 422 litres which is increased to 1,398 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
Some models have slightly larger storage limits, ranging from 430-1,406 litres because they are not fitted with the superior Bose sound system that eats slightly into the space.
The tailgate is power-operated on all models from SE-L Lux upwards and the boot opening is nice and wide measuring 1,030mm with a fairly low lip which makes loading heavier or awkwardly-shaped items much easier.
There are plenty of handy compartments scattered around the car for convenience, including a deep glovebox, a large central cubby beneath the front armrest, deep door bins, a tray, a pocket in the back of the front passenger seat and cup holders. Unfortunately, these holders are quite shallow and a small water bottle did topple out a couple of times. That said; the bottle was quite narrow and a proper takeaway cup would fit more snuggly and safely in the holder.
The new CX-30 line-up is priced from £22,895 to £33,495 and, as is the Mazda way, there are very few optional extras to unexpectedly cause the price to be bumped up.
Our test car was priced at £27,095 and the only optional extra was the Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint that added £790 to the final cost. And in my opinion, it was worth the extra pennies as the car looked truly stunning from any approach.
Mazda’s Skyactiv engines have been greeted with high praise and our car was powered by the Skyactiv-G which features cylinder deactivation and is exclusively matched to front-wheel drive models. This 2.0-litre petrol unit could deliver a combined 45.6mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £170 that would drop down to the standard fee of £145 the following year.
These are impressive figures for such a high performing car, but be careful as choosing AWD, larger wheels and an automatic transmission will have a slightly detrimental effect on running costs.
The insurance group for our test car was 17.
Mazda has a superb reputation for developing and building cars that are reliable with complaint issues few and far between. And there is no reason to suspect the all-new CX-30 will be anything other than a very reliable family car.
The interior, despite being minimalist in its layout, is upmarket and packed with technology that has been tried and tested with excellent results and feedback.
The upholstery is created using fine leather and this looks and feels like it has been designed to survive the test of time. All the switchgear is solid in its build and the infotainment screen will remain clean from mucky fingerprints as the many on-board systems are navigated via a dial, steering wheel controls or quick access keys.
The car comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty which is quite standard these days, but it’s worth noting that Korean carmakers Kia and Hyundai offer longer packages.
Mazda is viewed as a company that develops safe cars and the CX-30 achieved the highest ever score of 99 per cent for adult passenger safety when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating. Needless to say, it scored the maximum five stars overall.
All models are fitted with high levels of safety kit as standard with the likes of anti-lock brakes, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, driver attention alert, dynamic stability control, emergency stop signalling system, front cross-traffic alert, e-Call with GPS, hill launch assist, G-vectoring control, intelligent speed assist, lane keep assist with lane departure warning system, smart brake support, traction control, a tyre pressure monitoring system, Isofix child seat fixtures and a full suite of airbags.
The top-level GT Sport Tech version also gains a driver monitoring system that involves a camera that detects driver fatigue and encourages them to take a break where needed.
It’s also worth noting that the CX-30 boasts a remarkably strong, yet lightweight body structure to help protect occupants in the event of a collision.
The CX-30 is fitted with a Thatcham accredited alarm and immobiliser to keep any uninvited attention at bay.