4.3 out of 5 4.3
Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Mazda's Qashqai rival impresses all-round

Mazda CX-30 SUV Review Video
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At a glance

New price £22,940 - £34,065
Lease from new From £235 p/m View lease deals
Used price £16,830 - £27,680
Used monthly cost £420 - £691
Fuel Economy 40.4 - 47.9 mpg
Road tax cost £150
Insurance group 12 - 19 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Attractive exterior design
  • Well-built and highly equipped interior
  • Comfortable and good to drive

CONS

  • Top-spec models are pricey
  • Both petrol engines can feel sluggish
  • Interior not as practical as a SEAT Ateca's

Mazda CX-30 SUV rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

Surprises are few and far between in the modern motor industry, but the new Mazda CX-30 crossover is one such rarity.

>> We rate the best hybrid SUVs for 2020

Not because it exists – Mazda had already announced that a new crossover range slotting between the established CX-3 and CX-5 ranges would debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show – but rather its name. Logic suggested it would have been badged CX-4, given its positioning, but instead it’s called CX-30. That’s mainly because a CX-4 already exists in China and the number ‘four’ sounds like ‘death’ in native Japan – something not particularly appealing in Mazda’s home market.

What exactly is the CX-30?

Size-wise the CX-30 slots bang in the middle of the CX-3 and CX-5, but the rear of the newcomer is more tapered and coupe-like, emphasising a sportier ethos for this crossover. But it still offers a useful amount of extra room over the cramped CX-3.

Its styling shares themes with the Mazda 3 Hatchback, on which this car is based. It's awash with clean surfaces and there's very little in the way of fussiness. It's elegant and sleek, while little details like pulsating indicator lights add to the visual drama, along with bright and crisp LED units all-round.

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 unpainted plastic cladding on the lower extremities of the CX-30's bodywork makes it look sufficiently like a grown-up crossover. Regardless, it has quite a few direct rivals, in part because not many other brands offer smaller SUV coupes and also because Mazda has premium aspirations.

Anything including the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X2 and Volkswagen T-Roc could be considered alternatives.

Small but effective engine range

The CX-30 offers a choice between two engines, both of which are petrol.

At the entry-level, there's the brand's standard petrol engine. It's badged Skyactiv-G (Skyactiv being a brand name for Mazda's latest engines, and 'G' standing for gasoline) and produces 122hp. It's paired to a mild-hybrid system, though most drivers are unlikely to notice any electrical assistance offered here. It's smooth and sweet-revving, but rather slow and i largely best limited to town use.

Then there's the Skyactiv-X. Like the G, it's a 2.0-litre that does without a turbocharger. The X is more powerful, more economical, and cleaner than the G because of some clever engine tech that allows it to work like a diesel. In isolation it works well, but compared to smaller turbocharged engines found in the likes of the Volkswagen T-Roc and SEAT Ateca, it feels a bit breathless, and also a little noisy.

Impressive interior lifted from 3 hatch

Sharing most of its interior fittings with the impressive Mazda 3 hatchback means that the CX-30 is off to a great start. While it's not the roomiest of crossovers, it creates a sense of space by being uncluttered. It's plush inside, with high-quality materials, a straightforward design and a super-crisp and clear infotainment screen.

Impressively, Mazda's eschewed the use of a touchscreen for this system and instead relies on a rotary controller. We think this is a great move, as touchscreens can be tricky and at times unsafe to operate while on the move. It helps that the system itself is uncomplicated to operate, but still looks up to date. 

Wide selection of trims to choose from

As with most Mazda models, there's an extensive trim level line-up to pick from, that can appear a little overhwelming on first look. 

The CX-30's trim structure is similar to the Mazda 3 hatch's. Trim levels go in this order: SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech. Pick from any of the middle three for the best value - SE-L Lux covers all the bases and won't really leave you wanting for more, while Sport Lux introduces bigger wheels and a bit more kerb appeal, plus luxuries like heated seats. 

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Mazda CX-30 including its practicality, how nice the interior is, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Mazda CX-30 SUV rivals