In-depth reviews

Mazda CX-30 review

The Mazda CX-30 targets premium rivals with its style and great driving experience, although practicality and performance aren’t the best.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£22,670 to £33,470
  • Stylish looks
  • Industry-leading safety rating
  • Great to drive
  • Rear space less than rivals
  • Small engine range
  • Limited luggage capacity

There is no denying the Mazda CX-30 is a well-rounded premium compact SUV. In fact, interior build quality surpasses the majority of its mainstream rivals. This, combined with an in-vogue SUV body style and the highest ever Euro NCAP crash test score for adult occupant protection, could help see the CX-30 become one of Mazda’s best selling models.

It is not perfect, mind, with rivals such as the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008 promising more in terms of practicality and wider ranges of powertrains. Even so, Mazda’s compact SUV is available with cutting-edge engine technology and is great to drive – the latter quality being something few SUVs and crossovers offer. All things considered, the CX-30 makes a compelling case for itself.

About the Mazda CX-30

Being the first of its kind, Mazda’s CX-30 doesn’t have a long history of competent predecessors to look back on. That said, the Japanese brand’s range of cars isn’t considered to have any bad apples and the CX-30 shares some of the technology already seen in its impressive stablemates. 

There is only one body style available with the CX-30, and that is a five-door SUV shape. Further to this, there are five core trims to choose from; SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech. There is also a 100th Anniversary Edition, which has a limited production run and was created as part of Mazda’s 100th birthday celebrations. Equipment is strong across the range, with goodies such as air-conditioning and cruise control standard for all. As for engines, there are just two petrol units available. One Mazda calls “Skyactiv-G” and the other “Skyactiv-X”. 

Both of these engines feature a mild-hybrid system but it is only the latter that uses Mazda’s innovative compression ignition system (more on this later). Unlike with some rivals, all trim levels and engines are available with either a manual or an automatic gearbox. 

Mazda isn’t known for doing out-and-out performance versions of its mainstream cars, and even those that it has done have been unassuming and forgettable – few would spot an MPS version of the second-generation Mazda 3 on the road. Instead, the Japanese carmaker ensures its standard models have a good amount of driver appeal, and the CX-30 is no exception to that. 

If there is one thing that the CX-30 has by the bucket load though, it is rivals. Mid-size SUVs and crossovers seem to pop up more frequently than requests to accept website cookies. At one end of the scale, there are more premium alternatives such as the Mercedes GLA, Audi Q2 and Lexus UX. While at the other end there are less glamorous rivals such as the Vauxhall Grandland X and Honda CR-V

The cars the CX-30 really has to beat are the class leaders, including the Skoda Karoq, SEAT Ateca and Peugeot 3008. By and large, Mazda’s pricing structure allows it to compete with most of its rivals, although some of the German competitors can easily far exceed the price of a range-topping CX-30.

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