Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Parkers verdict symbol for the BMW 3 Series Touring (2019-on)Should you buy a Mazda CX-30?

After an attractive, good-to-drive and well-built small crossover? If you are, then we can highly recommend the CX-30 over and above direct rivals like the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen T-Roc.

Mazda's European Design Director, Jo Stenuit, told Parkers that the design is a tale of two halves. "The car is a vehicle for a young, dynamic family. The styling is split; it's sleek at the top, with plastic cladding underneath."

The reality is that every firm has set out to make something along these lines, and pointing out the plastic bits isn't really highlighting what sets the CX-30 apart, which is the engaging handling and pleasingly-weighted controls. In a world of vaguely-identical, affordable medium-sized family SUVs, it stands out for being genuinely enjoyable to drive.

It's rivalling the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi for the way it looks, feels inside and handles – in some cases it betters the offerings from the premium German marques.

Inside, it's less flashy than the Germans - which has its pros and cons depending on your disposition, but we like its simplicity and quality feel across the range.

It's far from the most practical small SUV, though, and its engine range isn't exactly brimming with exciting options. The latter doesn't really matter for a sensible family crossover, and it's competitive with the Qashqai and T-Roc for space inside, and beats the Toyota C-HR with ease.

We'd suggest that unless you're a keen driver and really need the extra oomph, your money is better spent on trim levels rather than the more expensive Skyactiv-X engine.

Although it's the more powerful and technically advanced, thanks to clever compression ignition tech, it's slightly underwhelming in the CX-30. It's admirably clean and economical, but never feels as punchy as the power figures would suggest. It's high on driver involvement and will rev to 8,000rpm, but we don't think that's really in keeping with the family-friendly appeal of the CX-30.

Go for a Skyactiv-G, two-wheel drive manual CX-30 and you'll be more than satisfied, aiming for a Sport Lux or GT Sport trim for plenty of equipment, technology and driver conveniences.

Dealwatch special

Our leasing partner, ZenAuto is offering the Mazda CX-30 for £248 per month. The usual terms and conditions apply.

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Also read:

>> Volkswagen T-Roc review

>> BMW X2 review

>> Our Parkers star ratings explained