Road Tests

First Drive: Mazda CX-30 is well-equipped, spacious and refined

Time 11:09 am, October 25, 2019

What is it?

SUVs play a strong role in Mazda’s current line-up, with the CX-5 first introduced in 2012 now one of its best sellers, followed by the compact CX-3. With this area of the market growing both in audience and niches, there are more gaps to fill – leading to this, the Mazda CX-30.

Slotting between the CX-5 and CX-3, think of the CX-30 as akin to a Mazda 3 hatchback on stilts.

What’s new?

Breaking with convention as regards the current CX list of names, the CX-30 is an all-new model for Mazda – and its third UK SUV offering.

Mechanically similar to the 3 introduced last year, it borrows a lot of new technology from that car – namely its Skyactiv-X engine technology and the firm’s latest and refined infotainment system.

Other new highlights include mild-hybrid technology and a first-for-Mazda navy blue interior option.

What’s under the bonnet?

We tried out one of the two petrol engines available here in the UK: a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit producing 120bhp and 213Nm of torque. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, contributing to a 0-60mph time of 10.4 seconds and a 116mph top speed. It also incorporates a 24v mild-hybrid motor.

If refinement and ease of use are high on your shopping list, this might be a strong option.

Power delivery is impressively smooth, while the engine can barely be heard even when wringing it out – perfect for those long-distance journeys. But it’s fair to accuse it of feeling gutless and it really has to be worked to make the most of its output.

What’s it like to drive?

Mazda has built a reputation for creating engaging cars, and that’s the case with the CX-30. It feels stable even under harder cornering and can quite comfortably deliver some fun on tighter roads.

Around town, it’s a dream. Its impressive agility makes darting around easy, while excellent 
all-round visibility takes extra 
stress out of driving.

We touched on its low engine noise above, and this, combined with a supple ride and low cabin noise in general, allows the car to be very relaxing when coasting along at motorway speeds.

How does it look?

The CX-30 uses the latest iteration of Mazda’s ‘Kodo’ corporate design, meaning slim headlights flank a large grille.

At the back, a narrow single-circle tail-light design features, while smooth bodywork is present around the rest of the car, rather than the more angular approach taken by some rivals.

We’d almost claim to be big fans of the overall design of the CX-30 – although the masses of plastic cladding let it down at the last hurdle.

Mazda will tell you it’s to invoke a proper SUV spirit, but we’ll tell you it makes the car look cheap.

What’s it like inside?

Hop inside the Mazda CX-30 and you’re met with a fairly minimalistic but very well laid-out cabin.

Controls fall perfectly to hand, while materials used throughout really look the part. Touch the dash and they don’t feel quite as nice as you’d expect, although to Mazda’s credit it uses these lower-quality materials in places where you’re rarely likely to make contact.

What’s the spec like?

As standard on the Mazda CX-30, equipment highlights include LED headlights, radar-guided cruise control, a head-up display, 16-inch alloy wheels plus an 8.8-inch infotainment display with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Safety features coming at no extra cost are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, driver attention alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and hill start assist.

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Pricing for the SUV starts at £22,895, although our GT Sport Tech-equivalent test car weighs in at £27,995. Luxury additions here include 18-inch alloy wheels, all-round parking sensors with a reversing camera, automatic headlights, a heated electric driver’s seat, a hands-free tailgate, a brown and black leather interior plus the impressive Bose audio system.

What do the press think?

Auto Express said the new CX-30 is ‘a bit of a gem’ while Autocar added: ‘It’s more enjoyable to drive overall than most jacked-up hatchbacks.’

What do we think?

Mazda is on to another winner 
with its CX-30. It takes the firm’s ability to build an impressive-
driving car and sticks that into a well-kitted, spacious and impressively refined package.

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