You could hardly put a pin between them. The Mazda range of SUV / Crossovers start with the biggish CX-5, the smallish CX-3 and now the medium-sized CX-30.
I might have called it, the CX-4, but never mind, that name has been used in China on another model. So the three cars have not much size difference one from another and you have to ask if this is a good thing. Well, says Mazda, apparently so: they fully expect their latest release to become their best-seller.
At the U.K. press launch, the Mazda CX-30 was put through its paces over a couple of hundred miles in South Devon.
OK, there’s the M5 to cruise along at 2400 rpm for 70 mph and here the car was as comfortable as any and quiet enough at this speed. You’d expect nothing more. But getting into the county’s back roads provided far more of a test and more information about the CX-30’s abilities in equal measure.
If the high hedges allow, there are some superb views to enjoy; but drivers new to the county soon learn to keep their eyes glued to the road. Steep hills, blind brows, narrow lanes abound.
So, full concentration is vital and so is a car that does all its major functions quickly and safely. In this respect, this Mazda scores well. Given that the generous 60mph speed limit on some of these roads means that it can be tempting actually to go at that speed, the car has to be capable of coping with any near-emergency or real emergency. The brakes have the right amount of feel and worked perfectly in my planned emergency stop: straight-line kept and no skid (and don’t forget that cars can still be steered when the ABS is operating).
Similarly, the steering proved to be quite quick under a reaction test: good in fact and helpful for a driver’s sense of security.
In the interest of general road-safety, I did not push the car’s grip on some wet and muddy surfaces, but the car, of course, has the anti-skid technology that is a must for all vehicles these days.
Mazda naturally makes much of its new 180PS Skyactiv-X engine. It has taken a decade to develop and test into production. Perhaps its most notable feature is its low emissions. Compared with its most direct SUV competitors, it is, at 105 grams per kilometre, ten grams more efficient. (This figure goes up to 111g/km for the All-Wheel-Drive version.)
As to its general performance, it is average for its size, which in the CX-30 is 2 litres. It is said to accelerate to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds, if you handle the excellent gearbox well. This is perfectly quick enough for most people. Top speed is an actual but academic 127 mph. Our run in this car over more than a hundred miles of varied road and traffic conditions finished with the fuel consumption displaying at an impressive 43.5 mpg.
Also on offer is the Skyactiv-G engine, as in the ‘standard’ Mazda3. This was also driven and its 122PS did feel somewhat challenged up those inclines. But, not to overdo this slight issue, the six-speed manual gearbox is excellent and using its smooth and slick action provides the answer: spot the hill ahead and go down to fourth or third.
The car is pleasant to travel in. The ride was always comfortable. For the driver, there is plenty of (manual) seat adjustment and outward visibility is reasonable. The controls are well laid out and the instruments are easy to read, both day and night. The car has plenty of space and, although not tested with three adults in the back, it does appear that they would have a fair amount of room, indeed if there were only two in the back seats.
Build quality seems to be very good and a varety of quality materials has produced a smart interior overall.
The final car of the three versions on offer at the launch was the AWD GT Sport Tech model. With its pearlescent paint and leather interior options, it came out at £32,985. For that, there is hardly any technology lacking, so the all-round camera, extra-refined braking systems and more are on the car for safety and convenience.
But you can start at £22,985 for the entry-level car; from that point up, there is the usual range (26 variants) to choose from and a host of options. That said, equipment levels are well selected for the price.
Mazda produced figures that show the U.K. motor industry struggling at the moment; year-on-year sales figures are down 5%, but Mazda’s are up 7%. Yes, they have had a helpfully busy 2019 with new and refreshed models, the buying public does like Mazda at the moment.
Car reviewed: Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-X 2.0 180ps 4WD GT Sport Tech, on the road price £31,995 0-62mph 9secs Top speed 127mph Engine 1998cc 4 cylinder unleaded Fuel Economy Combined 43.5mpg CO2 emissions 111g/km Max Power 180PS@6000rpm Torque 224Nm@3000rpm Transmission 6-speed manual AWD
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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