Recently, Mazda launched their bread-and-butter 3 compact models, both in Sedan and Hatch body styles. The step-up in build quality from the previous car, and attention to detail is impressive. Even more so, is how refined it is, especially given that they were intended to target the middle-class buyer.
Riding on that wave, Mazda now introduces their all-new CX-30 crossover… wait… I am confused. Well, you see, they already have their CX-3 SUV, which is their entry model softroader, and then there is the CX-5 which sits above it; both which are already compact SUVs.
The CX-30 on the other hand, has nosed its way in-between the two cars. With its lower-slung roofline, further-evolved ‘KODO’ design identity, which now features a fluid side profile. With the automaker’s attention to detail, the CX-30 certainly is an attractive offering in the relatively new, and loosely-coined Compact Crossover segment.
Loosely-coined segment no-doubt, but Mazda product planners seem to have found that sweet spot in-between both its (slightly) smaller and (slightly) larger stablemates. Stylistic carry-overs first seen on the Mazda 3 include its clean front bumper, first seen on the CX-5, which features discreet lighting at its base.
We also like that Mazda had taken a step back in time, and lifted off styling elements from some of their iconic models. The front grille, with its chrome surround, is an evolution of the one found on their “Coke bottle”-inspired Wankel Rotary-powered RX-3.
Our test example is also coated in one of two premium colours, a deep Soul Red Crystal Metallic.
The visual treat for the eyes does not just end on the CX-30’s exterior design. Dashboard materials used, feel like they were built for a class above. We like how the new 8.8” infotainment screen, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sits upon the dash, instead of looking like a third-party insert; something which fellow Japanese manufacturers tend to have on their vehicles... Padded armrests on the door cards, and on the Elegance and Luxury trim models, a leather wrapped steering wheel, are important visual and physical touch points within the car.
Our Luxury trim test model is also equipped with a head-up display for better concentration on the road, and 12-speaker premium audio, courtesy of BOSE.
Head and legroom at the rear is sufficient for most, and Mazda had sculpted the roof lining, releasing some precious millimeters of head space.
Cargo capacity at 430 litres (422 litres with the BOSE system in-place), may not be the largest, however you do get very few odd corners. Rear seatbacks fold in 60:40 fashion, extending capacity to 1,453 litres. As a plus, the CX-30 is also equipped with an electric tailgate for the mid and higher trim model.
Interestingly, the 1.5 litre engine, with mild hybrid drive, found in the Mazda 3 does not make it into the CX-30. Instead, a natural-breathing 2.0 SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine powers the car, delivering 165hp and 213Nm, and provides drive to the front wheels, via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Where many cars are now force-fed, the linear delivery of the drive in the CX-30 is pleasant. Working the engine past 3,500rpms however, does reveal a little bit of harshness.
Like current Mazdas, the CX-30 is also equipped with their signature G-Vector Control Plus (GVC PLUS) technology; which cleverly plays with a combination of engine torque reduction, and breakforce to selective wheels, to stabilise the car around the bends; resulting in less sway.
While it is poised entering and exiting corners, the CX-30 is best appreciated in an unhurried manner; its 9.7 second 100km/h benchmark, makes a good renforcement of its relaxed nature.
Road noise entering into the cabin is dampened by some good sound insulating materials. There is however a little bit of intrusion through the windows, especially with higher frequency noises.
The Luxury-spec 215/55R18 tyres however, does not do any favours to the otherwise smooth ride quality, since there is lesser sidewall, and therefore less room for play between the road surface and rim.
Premium sound aside, the Luxury trim model also gets the whole suite of driver safety nets thrown into the mix. Autonomous emergency braking (inclusive of rear-crossing support), lane-keep assistance, radar-assisted adaptive cruise control, and a (very good) 360 surround parking camera, are just some of the premium features you can expect for an almost $10k bump in price over the middle-of-the-pack Elegance model.
In true Mazda fashion, the CX-30 delivers premium quality, even as a mainstream manufacturer.
While you will expect to pay more for road tax versus cars like the 1.2 litre turbocharged Toyota C-HR and Honda HRV, which the Mazda sits within the same playpen with (together with the CX-3); the refinement and quality can almost rival offerings from premium offerings, like a base model BMW X1, Lexus UX and Audi Q2.
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Credits: Words and Photos by Clifford Chow