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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
2:09 AM 5th October 2020

Mazda CX-30 – A Week Behind The Wheel

Mazda is already well served with SUVs, the CX-3 and CX-5 models having been with us for quite some time. Last year the CX-30 joined the line-up, slotting in nicely between the two. With little size difference between the models, there is a question mark as to the CX-30’s relevance. Having attended the UK launch, now was the time to try the car on home turf.

The test car
Although take up is likely to be small, I requested an all-wheel drive variant, ideal for rural dwellers such as me. This comes with Mazda’s 2.0-litre Skyactiv-X petrol engine as standard, the aim being to offer diesel-like economy using a clever spark-controlled compression ignition system.

Mazda CX-30 AWD GT Sport Tech
Price £32,240
180PS 2.0-litre petrol engine
Torque 224Nm at 3,000 rpm
0-62mph in 9.0 seconds
Top speed 127mph
Combined economy 43.5mpg
Emissions 146g/km CO2
3 year/60,000-mile warranty

It should be noted that even range-opening SE-L models are well equipped with a head-up display, LED headlights, radar cruise control, satellite navigation and air conditioning.

In the upper echelons of GT Sport Tech, premium leather upholstery and snazzy alloy wheels are the order of the day! No added options needed unless you want a lighter stone leather for an additional £200.

Immediately apparent once behind the wheel is the comfort of the seats, the quality of the trim materials and the premium feel to the main controls. It is Mazda’s best interior yet, the aim being to poach sales from the premium German manufacturers.

The CX-30 is the second model in the company’s next generation line-up and follows the launch of the Mazda3. There is a touch of coupe styling, especially when viewed in profile, yet beneath that svelte exterior lies a cabin with room for four adults to spread.

The drive

I subjected the CX-30 to a selection of my usual challenging test routes with mixed results. As a high-speed cruiser, the car excels with wind and road noise noticeable by their absence. Also impressive is the car’s ride quality which remains composed at all times, even over some of the very poorest of surfaces.

The light clutch and slick six-speed gearbox are a pleasure to use, making the CX-30 an easy car to drive. Visibility from the raised driving position is good too.

Some of my hillier test routes required plenty of revs to maintain decent progress and overtaking manoeuvres necessitated careful gear selection before venturing on to the wrong side of the road. Undoubtedly the all-wheel drive system does slow things down a tad, but I cannot help but think that a small turbocharged engine in this car would make so much more sense.

Of course, the downside of all this engine revving is that economy does suffer and away from the steady cruise, I was unable to get anywhere near Mazda’s combined 43.5mpg economy figure.

I ventured a little off-road and the i-Activ all-wheel drive system seemed to cope adequately with a little wet grass and mud.

The rivals

The new Ford Puma immediately springs to mind, its lively turbocharged motor making brisk cross-country motoring a doddle. It handles well too and will suit the keen driver.

Renault’s recently update Captur should be considered too, especially with the newly introduced hybrid petrol engine. There is some Gallic flair too in the design which should appeal.

The Skoda Karoq is likely to impress too and has a broad selection of petrol and diesel engines to offer. Full of clever features, it is less distinctive than the Yeti which preceded it.

Finally, I would add the Kia Sportage, a capable all-rounder and one which benefits from a seven-year warranty. Good ride and handling balance and looks good too.

Verdict

There is much to like about the CX-30. It is one of the best-looking cars in its class, is well built and is a comfortable way to travel.

It makes less sense in the upper trim levels, especially as the level of standard equipment is so high. I would pick a 2WD SE-L model for £24,440 and if the going gets tough, invest in some winter or all-season tyres.

Range Facts

Mazda CX-30
Priced from £22,940 to £34,065
26 models on offer
5 trims from SE-L to top GT Sport Tech
Choice of 2 Skyactiv petrom engines, no diesel
Up to 47.9mpg on the combined cycle
CO2 emissions as low as 133g/km
Optional i-Activ all-wheel drive