Mazda CX-30 is a small-medium SUV that squeezes between the company’s original SUVs, the compact CX-3 and mid-sized CX-5.
Between them, these three vehicles accounted for around 55 per cent of Mazda sales in 2022 and were a major factor in the brand being locked solidly into second place behind Toyota in total sales.
Adding to the mix is the MX-30 which shares the same platform as the CX-30, but with a sleeker design. All models have an EV component, either petrol/electric hybrid or pure electric.
What’s it cost?
CX-30 comes in five grades: Pure, Evolve, Touring, Astina and Touring SP.
Prices range from $30,210 for a manual, front-wheel drive Pure to $48,310 for an all-wheel drive X20 Astina mild hybrid. On-road costs need to be added.
CX-30 has a quite conservative design which is likely to appeal to buyers at the upper end of the age-scale. Our test car was Snowflake White, one of eight colour choices, and it didn’t really do justice to the look of the car compared to some of the brighter options.
The shape of the CX-30 is similar to the Mazda3 hatch but taller, with more ground clearance and a sportier profile that’s almost coupe-like.
At the front there are swooping headlights that flank a large black version of the current Mazda family grille with an attractive textured fill.
All versons get daytime running lights — LED in Astina, halogen in the others.
The CX-30 Pure that we tested came with 16-inch alloys, while all higher-grades roll on 18s.
At the rear there are wraparound tail-lights, small roof spoiler, twin exhaust pipes and more black plastic in the bumper.
Eight colours are available, three of which are metallic and costed options.
The 8.8-inch centre screen (note that it’s not a touchscreen) in CX-30 has sharp resolution and has the new Mazda Connect system controlled by a rotary dial and accompanying buttons, situated on the centre console.
It’s large enough and within easy reach of the driver to minimise the amount of time taken away from looking at the road ahead.
The system engages Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth pairing and DAB+ digital radio.
All variants get satellite navigation.
There are two USB sockets in the centre storage box.
Mazda has a long-standing and admirable focus on safety and this continues in CX-30 which achieved one of the highest ANCAP crash scores to date, with 99 per cent in adult occupant protection.
All variants come with a comprehensive list of safety features including seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking in both forward and reverse, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop/go, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, rear parking sensors, reversing camera and an advanced speed assist system.
Higher-spec models add surround-view cameras, cruising and traffic support (traffic jam assist), front cross-traffic alert, driver monitoring and front parking sensors.
What’s it go like?
Entry is relatively easy and the seats are supportive and comfortable.
The steering wheel is height and reach adjustable and even in the base level Pure has leather wrapping as does the gear lever.
The dashboard isn’t as expansive as others in the segment but is well laid out with an 8.8-inch screen embedded in the top of the dash.
A big plus for us is the use of physical knobs for adjusting air conditioning and audio, breaking away from the growing trend to locating these in the screen.
Pure and Evolve have black cloth seats, the others have two different grades of leather as well as an optional pure white.
It also has manual-adjust front seats; all others have 10-way powered adjustment for the driver.
Versatile storage includes a good-sized centre console and a space below the fascia thanks to the uptake of an electric parking brake, plus big door bins.
In the back, CX-30 has good headroom but legroom for taller passenger could be a problem.
The smallish centre-rear seat is not unusual in this class size and is hampered for foot room by the centre tunnel.
There are air vents and a fold-down centre armrest with twin drink holders.
Boot space is 317 litres with the rear seat backs folded. A space-saver wheel is stored under the boot floor.
Two naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines are offered.
The 2.0-litre Skyactive-G 2.0 generates 114kW at 6000 rpm and 200Nm at 4000 revs is available with all spec levels apart from the Touring SP.
Two variants, the Evolve G20e M and X20 Astina e-Skyactiv are mild hybrids and share the G 2.0 engine with a 24V lithium-ion battery.
The larger Skyactiv-G 2.5 engine has a 2.5-litre capacity with outputs of 139kW at 6000 rpm and 252Nm at 4000.
It’s available in the FWD or AWD Astina spec-level as well as Touring and Touring SP (AWD only).
The entry-level Pure is the only variant with a six-speed manual gearbox option.
It and all others have a six-speed torque converter automatic.
The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine misses the sharpness of the turbocharger that a number of its competitors provide.
On the positive side, the six-speed automatic works smoothly with the power and torque available to it.
Mazda’s new-generation Skyactiv Vehicle Architecture contributes towards excellent ride quality and interior sound levels.
Coarse-chip surfaces do increase noise levels although not to the same extent as others in this class.
Handling is accurate and the steering wheel provides the right amount of feedback.
Cornering is accurate enough, but this is not a sports sedan and is certainly not planned to be one.
Fuel consumption on our test route sat in the 9-10L/100km range in suburban, motorway and rural segments, dropping to just over the claimed 6.5L/100km.
What we like?
All variants get satellite navigation
One of the highest crash scores to date
Physical knobs for adjusting air conditioning and audio
Good-sized centre console and a space below
Excellent ride quality and interior sound levels
What we don’t like?
White doesn’t do justice to the look
Centre screen not a touchscreen
Limited rear legroom
The bottom line?
CX-30 was the first Mazda model to adopt the two-digit suffix, introduced to highlight the brand’s push into the premium segment.
It will be joined shortly by the all-new XC-60 and XC-90 larger SUVs.
CX-30 is a pleasant car to ride in and to drive. It’s built to Mazda’s usual high quality with a semi-premium feel, neat styling and, though not the cheapest in its class, offers good value for money.
Like all new Mazda vehicles, it comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, as well as five years of roadside assistance. Service intervals are every 10,000 km or 12 months, whichever comes first.