The new Mazda3 will be joined by an SUV offering later this year called the CX-30. We’ve driven the all new model in Germany prior to its global launch. The CX-30 is the second in Mazda’s new generation models and a firm step forward. The five seater comfortably seats four adults and will come in front wheel drive guise or with on demand ‘i-AWD’ all wheel drive.
Inside it is pure new Mazda3 while outside it has its own style with a more upright front end and near vertical tailgate. Surprisingly the CX-30 is slightly shorter than the 3 hatch but a good bit taller. In time Mazda believes the new car could become its biggest seller in Europe. It’s just a pity Mazda couldn’t predict the need to keep the CX-3 name for the new car but as we all know the CX-3 is a smaller SUV based on the Mazda2. There is already a Mazda CX-4 that is sold in China so CX-30 while a little clunky is the name we must get used to.
The CX-30 is more crossover than outright SUV but it does have chunky plastic mouldings and wheels arches that make the panel lingo that bit more dramatic. The CX-30 is definitely an instantly likeable car. The sleek lights clusters and smart front grille announce the car’s presence. The flanks demonstrate Mazda’s Koda: Soul of Motion design language really well. Mazda has an obsessive attention to detail when it comes to hand forming its cars in clay before committing the form to metal. The CX-30 has a lovely soft ‘S-like’ form on its side that catches the light really well and delivers a premium look. The rear with its high waist line and light clusters shows hints of Jaguar. Mazda says the CX-30 is a ‘just-fit’ size for city driving… and it may be right.
A new centre dash display (8.8 inch) slots nicely into the more sculpted dash layout. The driver gets the new Mazda3’s display that is neatly resolved and driver focused. Our pre production cars were well build and in top grade trim. The boot, which is larger than the 3 hatchback’s, 430 litres versus 358, lacks split levels and other tricks but the opening is wide. As for access for passengers the doors swing open wide making access and egress easy. Rear headroom is good but legroom is tight. Up front Mazda has placed the front seats as far apart as possible from each other. The centre console features new switchgear and Mazda is proud of its layered finish. Infotainment and smart phone connectivity are greatly improved thanks to more computer processing power. A BMW i-Drive-like rotary controller features also. Bose hi Fi can be specified as can a HUD head up display – so all the toys are available to make this a stealthy premium SUV beater.
Passive and Active safety is excellent, and again depending on how deep your pockets are, you can get all the latest advanced driving safety systems that are available in new Mazda3 like front cross traffic alert, Mazda’s cruising and traffic support system and semi-autonomous driving. The CX-30 offers a better view of the road than the Mazda3. The ride is more forgiving also due to greater suspension travel in the 30. The few bumps and poor surfaces we encountered were handled well. The cabin is well insulated and the feeling delivered was not far off more expensive premium rivals. On the autobahn the car was composed and the Skyactiv-G 122hp petrol engine was able to keep up with lane 3 traffic without too much hard work. The CX-30’s steering is accurate and feels solid and connected – funny that for Mazda (joking). We tested the manual and automatic gearbox versions. The conventional automatic delivers smooth shifts but can be a little noisy when kicking down. For urban use its fine but the manual delivers a more dynamic drive. The six speed’s gear lever is very well placed and the centre armrest is at a perfect height to rest your forearm on while shifting. The gear shifts are slick and the throw is nice too. The i-Activ AWD option is worth a look. Designed for road use more than green laneing the system only incurs a 3 per cent fuel penalty over FWD only models.
Three engines will be offered -two petrol and one diesel will be offered. The new 180hp 2 litre spark-controlled compression ignition Skyactive-X petrol engine will be the range topper. the innovative engine can deliver diesel like fuel consumption and low emissions too with virtually zero NOX. The Sykactive-G (gasoline) has 122hp/213nm. A 116hp/270nm 1.8 litre diesel is also offered.
The new Mazda CX-30 arrives in Ireland towards the end of the year. The CX-30’s pricing is expected to position €2,000 over the equivalent Mazda3 that starts from €26,295. The larger CX-5 starts from €29,495. The CX-30 will mirror the 3’s grade structure of GS, GS-L, GT and GT Sport.