Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Shares interior layout with the 3 hatchback
  • Plush materials and upmarket feel
  • Infotainment simple and easy to use

How is the quality and layout?

In short, the CX-30's interior is impressive. It's carried over almost completely unchanged from the Mazda 3 hatch, so you're treated to robust and premium-feeling materials, a neat dashboard layout and a very crisp central infotainment screen. The main difference is that you're sitting a little further away from the road.

The interior is refreshingly uncluttered with all the controls clustered together in a logical fashion. Some of the climate control buttons could do with clearer markings, as they can be initially confused as switch blanks, but the cabin is easy to get to grips with.

Depending on spec it comes with leather or fabric inside, with a large piece of soft-touch material across most of the dashboard. That's a welcome departure from the large slabs of cheap, hard plastic you'll find in the VW T-Roc, for instance.

The e-Skyactiv X is available with a very modern looking white leather option too, but even the lower-spec models have dark blue inserts around the cabin. It's not what you'd find in most cars, and we're glad Mazda likes to do things a little differently.

The biggest advantage the CX-30 has over the 3 hatchback is how much brighter the cabin feels. The brown interior and optional stone leather seats help liven up the interior somewhat, but the absence of black headlining makes the biggest difference. Higher spec e-SkyActiv X models go one further with a standard-fit sunroof as well.

Infotainment and tech

The central screen uses a rotary controller as its only method of interaction – rare, now, as more manufacturers just rely on touchscreens – and it’s simple to operate. It seems that Mazda has taken a leaf out of BMW’s book in terms of infotainment operation.

The only fly in the ointment is with the screen itself - although it's 8.8-inches wide diagonally, it's not that tall, and feels noticeably smaller than in competitors with its letterbox-style view. It's not the end of the world, but when you jump into another car with a larger screen, it's noticeable. If only for navigation instructions where you can see a wider view of where you're going. To counter this, the screen itself is crisp, and directions clear when you need them.

Contemporary technologies such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard, although here is where you'll find having to scroll through the icons with the rotary controller far less direct in operation compared with a touchscreen.

The driver's instrument dials are slick and simple, with a digital screen in the centre. It's not as configurable as a SEAT Ateca's digital dial arrangement, but it doesn't really need to be. They may look bare at first, but you soon realise you have the most important information displayed effectively.

Is it comfortable?

  • Comfy seats are supportive
  • Low engine and wind noise
  • Ride comfort good, too

A particular highlight is the ride, allowing the CX-30 to absorb a lot of lumps even if you go for the larger wheel sizes. The CX-30 doesn't come with huge wheels at all on any model - the largest available are 18 inches and they don't come with low-profile tyres, so you avoid any crashy ride qualities that you may find on similar cars with chunkier items.

The nicely-tuned suspension treads the line between comfort and control very well, so you've got a great all-rounder that has a slightly firm edge to its ride comfort, but remains absorbant all the time.

All-wheel drive cars felt a little more settled at the rear on motorways, however, but you'd have to experience both to really notice.

Of most importance for a family car though, it's quiet, refined and, in combination with the controlled suspension, leaves passengers feeling relaxed. We covered several thousand miles in the CX-30 and it was calm, quiet and serene over most speeds and road surfaces.

Wind noise is limited to a distant flutter by the door mirrors, while the engines remain hushed. Despite the need to work either engine quite hard, the sound is far from intrusive. Suppression against road noise could be better, but the CX-30 still edges its taller-bodied rivals with a little less resonance in the cabin. The cabin suffers from fewer engine vibrations as well, compared to the 3 hatchback.

A 10-speaker Bose set-up is available on high-spec cars, that includes a subwoofer in the boot, and has little trouble drowning out any noise on the motorway.

There's height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel, while the front seats offer a wide range of adjustment as well - even manual seats on lower-spec cars enable you to tilt the seat base to support your legs a little more - and offer plenty of support. We'd say the cloth items on Sport Lux models are some of the best in terms of comfort.