Mazda CX-30


   No car manufacturer these days is without a selection of SUVs in its line-up, and everyone from Aston Martin to Volvo are getting in in the act. But then who can blame them? So called Sports Utility Vehicles are definitely, currently, where the money is. So surely, the bigger the choice you offer, the bigger your potential profit.

    Think about, luxury brands aside, most mainstream motor makers offer the full Small,  Medium, and  Large variety - some even extra-large too. Skoda have the Kamiq, Karoq and Kodiaq; VW the T-Cross, T-Roc, and Tiguan, not to mention the Touareg,; Volvo will sell you an XC40, an XC60, or an XC90, Peugeot offer their 2008, 3008 and the 5008… The list goes on.

   Up until last year’s Geneva Motor Show however Mazda only offered two SUVs, there was distinctly a mid-sized gap between their CX-3 and the significantly larger CX-5. And that’s exactly where the car you see here comes in: Mazda’s new CX-30.

   Now, you might expect the car that falls neatly between the CX-3 and the CX-5 to be called the CX-4, but the truth of the matter is the Mazda already make something called CX-4 and that’s only for sale in China. So, CX-30 it is then.

    In a world where many-a-mid-sized SUV (or is it actually a crossover?) looks very much the same as the next one, full marks must be given to Mazda for injecting a little style. That said, if you think the CX-30 looks a lot like the Mazda 3 hatchback I’m certainly not about to disagree. Nevertheless, and just to put the record truly straight, measuring in at 4,395mm long and 1,540mm tall, the CX-30 is actually 7cm shorter and 10cm taller than the 3, the hatchback, upon which incidentally, it’s based.

    As a result of such familiar underpinnings the CX-30 inevitably feels somewhat familiar to drive; quite pleasing in fact. Both the steering and the gear-change are light and accurate - helped by the latter’s stubby MX-5-like lever and narrow gate -  and the CX-30’s handling is precise, well balanced and above all, predictable – just what’s needed in something that’s been so directly aimed at young families. That extra ride height means the CX-30 feels more comfy and refined than its hatchback brethren over longer distances too, although there’s inevitably a little more roll in corners as a result of its extra height

    What perhaps takes a little more getting used to is, in this case at least, is the lack of torque. Mazda have shunned the current trend for turbo-charged engines and instead fitted the CX30 with their normally aspirated 2.0 litre Skyactiv petrol engines. I sampled the more powerful 180bhp Skyactiv –X (the 120bhp Skyactive G is also an option) which uses a clever compression ignition system that is supposed to give it petrol-like performance whilst delivering the economy more associated with a diesel. It’s certainly quieter than a diesel, smoother even, and over a week’s mixed-use, mixed road driving I averaged the best-part of 44mpg – not bad. But there’s getting away from the fact there’s a lack mid-range punch and you really have use all of the rev range to move things along with any sense of urgency. I’m not entirely sure that’s what you should be doing in a mid-size SUV.

     What you should be doing though is indulging yourself in the quality of the CX-30’s interior instead. It’s not exactly what you’d call visually inspiring – it’s all a bit dark – nevertheless it does provide a very generous amount of kit as standard; automatic emergency braking, high-beam assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane keep, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control all put in an appearance, and there’s a very intuitive and pleasingly tactile rotary BMW iDrive esque controller that takes care of things like the sat-nav, radio, phone, and various other functions. To this driver at least it’s far more preferable than yet another inert touchscreen. Fit and finish are also very good. Trust me, know. Having being stuck in stationary traffic for two and half hours recently there was more than ample time to study such things.

   Those lengthy delays also gave me the opportunity to collect my thoughts on the CX-30.It’s genuinely a good car. It’s stylish, for an SUV it’s provides a surprisingly involving driving experience, and it’s also built very well.

    And yet the same could be said for the Mazda 3 the hatchback that gives so much of itself to the CX-30. And if anything the 3 is better to drive and it’s probably cheaper too. But, the 3 isn’t an SUV - and currently that’s what makes all the difference. 


Mazda CX-30 2.0 180ps 2WD GT Sport

Engine: SKYACTIV X 1,998cc, in-line 4Cyl, DOHC 16V Petrol

Transmission: 6 speed manual.  Front Wheel Drive

Power: 178 bhp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 165 lbft @ 3,000rpm

Weight: 1,542 kg

0-62mph: 8.5 sec

Max Speed: 127 mph

MPG: 47.9 (combined).

CO2: 105g/km

Price: from £28, 875 (As driven: £29,495).


Many thanks to Martine and William at Mazda’s UK press office for the loan of the CX-30



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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