I have recently talked about the new Nissan Qashqai and immediately remembered one of its main competitors is the Mazda CX-30 SUV. Similar class and price, similar engine power, choice between front and all-wheel drive, high level of equipment. Two identical cars? Are they still different? Now we will find out.

Design: five for three?

From the point of view of design – almost so. The Mazda CX-30 SUV can tentatively be attributed to the Mazda3 family: visually, with its curves on the doors, it resembles a hatchback, only the rear part has increased a little and windows have been added. And also – of course, the SUV is higher than the hatchback. And in order to emphasize the increased height of the body and 18-centimeter ground clearance, the car received plastic overlays. Yes, I agree, it is very practical when overcoming off-road conditions. But, in my opinion, they are too wide and somewhat spoil the wonderful image and the latest incarnation of the KODO design, which Mazda stylists tried so hard to bring out. That is why the design is not “five”, but only “four” out of five.

In general, I like the design of Mazda, and CX is in one of my most favorite size classes: length 4.4 meters, width 1.8 meters, height 1.54 meters. Pay attention to the beautiful headlights and lights, elegant chrome trim, openwork 18-inch wheels. The plastic pads are very wide – this is a price for practicality.

By the way, about positioning in the middle of the Mazda model range in terms of size and belonging to the SUV family. During the appearance of the Mazda CX-30 car, the Mazda CX-3 SUV and the Mazda CX-5 crossover were present on the European and Ukrainian markets; by simple logic, the new model should have received the designation Mazda CX-4. However (firstly), the Mazda CX-4 model already existed at that time – it was developed for the Chinese market and is a coupe-like version of the Mazda CX-5. In addition (secondly), the Mazda company at that time had already decided to switch to the designation of crossovers by “tens”, and the Mazda CX-30 was one of the first examples of this. One of the first, but not the last: Mazda CX-50 and Mazda CX-60 have already appeared.

Mazda CX-30 SUV is located between Mazda CX-3 and Mazda CX-5; in general, it could be called Mazda CX-4 if it were not for a Chinese “relative” with that name. After all, the Mazda CX-30 SUV became the first to receive the “tens” designation: today Mazda CX-50 and Mazda CX-60 have been added.

Technology: naturally aspirated engine and M Hybrid, automatic transmission and all-wheel drive

Here’s a thought that came to mind – how amazingly Mazda is able to combine classic solutions and modern innovations. For example, most traditional buyers would rather choose an increased engine displacement than a turbine. This is the case with the Mazda CX-30: it is equipped with a naturally aspirated 2-liter Skyactiv-G series gasoline engine, which features a high compression ratio (13.0) and direct fuel injection.

But the most interesting thing is that the M Hybrid technology is added to the engine, which combines a starter-generator, an energy converter, and a small battery. This technology allows you to store energy during braking (recovery effect) and then use it to power consumers inside the car. In theory, this reduces the load on the generator, and therefore reduces the load on the engine as well – and the latter consumes less fuel. In addition, a powerful starter-generator can help the engine in the first moments when starting from a standstill – and this, accordingly, should improve acceleration.

Supporting body, naturally aspirated 2-liter engine, usual 6-speed automatic transmission, front or all-wheel drive iActiv AWD – a classic design for cars of this class. Additional features: M Hybrid (Mild Hybrid) should reduce fuel consumption and improve acceleration, especially starting from a standstill. A “minus” feature: a semi-independent suspension is used at the back – cars of this class usually (although not always) already use a fully independent suspension.

Behind the wheel: softness in the cabin and stiffness in sensations

This salon deserves a “premium” prefix! At least – from the point of view of the design of the front part, the used soft materials of decoration, carefully selected dark chocolate color scheme, minimal chrome decoration. And the steering wheel in general can be taken as a benchmark for how to combine the overall design and decor, the quality of materials, and ease of control.

Having a wheelbase of 2.66 meters, but a small height and a rear door, the car can only offer mediocre space in the second row of seats. As if adults will fit in, but the amount of space for legs and head is at the level of the minimum necessary, access to the interior is mediocre (issues of boarding and placement of a child seat), and among the additional comfort points there is only an armrest and ventilation deflectors. The luggage compartment also offers an average usable volume (422-430 liters depending on the presence/absence of BOSE audio), several latches for small items, electric drive of a trunk door.

The front part is pleasantly impressive: it’s almost “premium”! But there are already certain questions regarding the space in the rear part. The trunk is, let’s say, average for this class. So, the rating is again “four out of five”. But from the point of view of design and quality of execution, I repeat once again – this is a chic interior!

Can the same be said about driving qualities? About the same wonderful feeling behind the wheel, how great is this steering wheel in terms of its design? Not at all. From the point of view of controllability in turns, the Mazda CX-30 SUV is really good: it quickly responds to steering wheel movements and almost does not resist while going into the turn, the roll is minimal – in general, the car is “thirsty for turns”. But the reward for stability against rolls is known – it is a stiff suspension. If there is still enough comfort for the driver and passenger in front, the rear part rides quite stiffly, tossing people in the back over bumps in the road.

And there are also comments on acceleration. Despite the added M Hybrid technology, the start is sluggish. At 1.5-2 thousand revolutions there is a lot of hum (just a sound, not a good rumble), but there is not enough acceleration. The real “full engine breath” is at higher revs. When about 3-4 thousand revolutions come, then this motor really begins to “drive” its promised two liters: here are powerful accelerations, supported by the right soundtrack! And also – they are supported by the automatic transmission: after all, it is enough just to select the SPORT mode and the latter will constantly keep the reduced gears and allow the engine to work more often in the zone of medium revolutions. However, will the constant sports mode affect the level of fuel consumption?

I wouldn’t say so. In any case, a 2-liter naturally aspirated engine needs about 9-10 liters of gasoline per 100 km in the city – the difference between different modes will add up to 0.5-1 liter. But the difference in sensations will be enormous: activated SPORT gives the feeling of a lively and energetic car that you expect from any bright red Mazda model ! For this, you can forgive the stiff suspension and enjoy the sensitive steering wheel. By the way, fuel consumption is at the level of 5.5-6 liters when you’re driving at a 100 km/h on the highway.

Cost: How much does the Mazda CX-30 cost in different configurations?

The minimum is about UAH 1.1 million or $27.5 thousand. This is for a Mazda CX-30 car already with a 2-liter 150-horsepower engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, but with front-wheel drive and in the STYLE configuration: LED headlights, 2-zone climate, heated front seats, cruise control, rearview camera, seven airbags, multimedia system MZD Connect with an 8.8-inch display, silver 18-inch wheels.

The next level is Mazda CX-30 cars in EXECUTIVE and BLACK EDITION configurations, which cost UAH 1.15-1.3 million ($29-32.5 thousand), depending on the specific configuration of the car. Here you can already choose front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and the car’s configuration will additionally include a leather interior and electric driver’s seat settings with memory (EXECUTIVE), adaptive cruise and all-round view (BLACK EDITION), electric trunk door drive and a start card for keyless entry (both configurations), i-ACTIVSENSE security system complex and black wheels and mirrors (BLACK EDITION), and much more.

The maximum option is the Mazda CX-30 PREMIUM version, which costs 1.3-1.4 million UAH or about $32.5-35 thousand. Here you can also choose the type of drive, and the car’s equipment includes absolutely everything from other versions, plus BOSE audio and the i-STOP system for automatic engine stop/start.

Multimedia system with an 8.8-inch monitor, heated seats and steering wheel, climate control and 18-inch wheels, a combined digital instrument panel with a 7-inch display, LED headlights, even a projection on the windshield – all this in any configuration of the Mazda CX-30: this is the level! The maximum configuration adds BOSE audio, leather interior, all-round view, various safety systems: driver fatigue monitoring, traffic lane monitoring, monitoring of “blind spots” of the mirrors and cross traffic behind.

Mazda CX-30 test drive results

The Mazda CX-30 car is a hostage of its class. In that sense, that certain expectations of buyers impose certain restrictions. Let’s try to imagine a Mazda CX-30 SUV with a rotary engine (for techno fans) or manual windows and no radio (for fans of a low base price); can you imagine? I can’t. There are certain expectations of buyers – and the car must meet them. Within corporate ideologies regarding driving qualities, design and interior, level of equipment. Now the other question is how well did the car handle this?

In the case of the Mazda CX-30, I would personally like to shout “five!”, but the reality is rather a “solid four”. It’s as solid as the suspension of a Mazda CX-30 car is stiff: you want softness. And there is still not enough space behind and you want a little more active dynamics at the start. At the same time, the car can show off its design (oh, the divine Mazda red color!) and the interior, which is made at the level of “premium” brands. Plus excellent equipment in any configuration.

Returning to the issue of the “hostage of his class”. Being in this status, the car will receive not only restrictions due to the expectations of buyers, but also a certain guaranteed popularity from these same buyers. Also, the Mazda CX-30 SUv confidently finds new supporters in Ukraine even in such difficult times, fully justifying the expectations placed on it. Because it is a “comfortable car for every day.” But the Mazda CX-30 SUV will try to make your every day not only comfortable, but also brighter and safer.

Mazda CX-30 test drive: practical, bright, comfortable – or all at the same time?

Car provided by AVTO International