So the world of crossovers is still booming, with the trend even permeating the world of small hatchbacks these days. But Mazda are filling their gaps in the crossover range to the nth degree.
Prices start at £22,895, which is roughly £2,700 more than a CX-3, and £3,700 less than the CX-5.
Looking more like a CX-3 than the CX-5, the CX-30 blends hatchback looks with that of an iddy biddy SUV. Plastic arch mouldings, check, slightly increase ride height, yup.
Its bonnet is flatter than on its smaller brother, the doors a little deeper and the style lines less pronounced. Park all three together though, and it’s genuinely tricky to work out which is which.
As with all of Mazda’s line up, it’s smart and modern. You’d be hard pushed to find anything offensive about it at all.
All Mazda’s drive well, they have done for quite a while now. They’ve simply nailed the handling no matter what vehicle they turn their hand too. So there’s little surprise that the CX-30 is no exception to the rule.
Steering is nimble with direct inputs, it feels sporty and agile. It’s easy to dart through traffic or negotiate twisty B roads.
Braking is equally on par with the handling characteristics. There’s a nice instant bite with excellent modulation as you go deeper into the pedal.
Ride is pretty firm, no doubt to keep the body roll in check, but you do tend to notice how stiff it can be over rougher patches of tarmac. This was on the GT Sport with large 18” alloys though.
Driving the lower-spec SE-L pictured here on 16” wheels with far chunkier tyres was a totally different story.
It soaked up far more of our acne-ridden road surface without affecting the ride. It also helped dampen the road noise which certainly makes its presence known in the cabin with the larger wheels.
Power is provided by a line up of two 2.0 litre petrol engines. Now, this sounds like a big engine compared to its rivals, but Mazda have put a ton of cash into the development and efficiencies of petrol engines.
An entry-level model gives 120 BHP while a more powerful, and newer Skyactiv-X version produces 177 BHP.
There aren’t any turbo options, and both engines can be paired with a 6-speed automatic, as well as all-wheel drive on the ”X’ model if so desired.
The 120 BHP model feels like you need to work it, even slight inclines have you grabbing for a lower cog.
Opt for the higher power model and things improve, but you’ll still want to work the gears to get the best out of the CX-30 no matter the engine.
Mazda has always been good when it comes to interior design, that theme continues with the CX-30.
Buttons are kept to a minimum with just the controls for the heating on the dash. Everything else is controlled from the infotainment screen and the jog dial situated behind the gearstick.
Volume and skip track are to the left of that on another small dial and shortcuts surround it to get you back to each section quickly.
Quality is high as always, with the top of the dash swathed in leather, coming in either blue (as seen here) or brown depending on what model or interior you select.
The ‘Stone’ cream leather seats are particular nice especially when matched with the £790 ‘Soul Red’ metallic paint.
The dials are nice and modern, with a bright white on black theme, with the centre showing your speed in its large LCD screen whereas the rest are traditional analogue affairs.
Rear seat legroom is on the squished side, especially if the driver is particularly lofty.
You can tell how small the rear seat space is just by the exterior doors, they have a narrow opening as much of it is taken up by the wheel arch.
At the back, you get 430 litres of boot space. Compare this to the CX-3 and it’s just 80 litres more, whereas the CX-5 measures in at 506, 76 litres more.
Mazda CX-30 Conclusion
While the CX-30 arguably plugs a gap in Mazda’s lucrative SUV line up, it just feels like a hard proposition.
Yes, you gain more boot space, but in terms of size and practicality, it feels a bit compromised, as it doesn’t give enough compared to the CX-3 yet it’s still too small when you compare it to the CX-5.
It’s either going to be an absolute killer in terms of sales, or left languishing as it tries to find its place with potential buyers.
We wait to see.