Mazda CX-30

CX-30 Carbon adds even more allure to a secret gem

Dunlop Sort Maxx

It’s not difficult to be a Mazda fan. A brand with huge history in South Africa, its sporty, greatly trusted, with a superb value for money reputation and a sparkling image too. Its cars are not half bad either. Not least this CX-30 in darkened Carbon Edition get-up. If it looked the part before, this one’s ready for the beauty pageant.

Road Test


The most recent addition to Mazda’s soon to be expanded next generation line-up, this compact SUV slots in between the CX-3 and CX-5 on the range. It combines bold SUV proportions with a sleek coupé profile in a sophisticated Kodo design philosophy evolution.

It’s voluptuous. Just look how the light dances off those flanks. A stylish face gets auto levelling daytime running LED headlamps and LED fog lights. That dark treatment also lends it a far more sophisticated look, epitomised by neat carbon black 18-inch alloys in 215/55 R18 rubber. There are other spec choices if you don’t like it all dark, but Mazda has its styling aced.

Swing the door open to a typically stylish Mazda cabin bristling with a most generous spec. Comfortable, versatile, and practical, the premium climate controlled cabin cossets you in plush, widely adjustable black leather chairs. A driver centric cockpit, its dominated by a slick multifunction power steering wheel. There are neat trip computer-equipped dials and CX-30 even has heads-up display.

Mazda CX-30


Where this car really stars however, is in its ability to connect with human beings. CX-30 has Apple Car Play, Auto and Bluetooth, front and rear USB, and the rest for its 8.8-inch MZD Connect infotainment. Mazda promises ‘Jinba Ittai’. In other words this car is designed to be one with the driver. So easy to use, it makes for a fantastic user experience.

It’s a spectacular breath of fresh air in a car world blighted by flawed infotainment and dubious interface philosophies in some cases cobbled together by malfunctioned design committees whose right hand knows little of what the left is doing. Smart and intuitive, the CX-30 steps a decade back to a time when most carmakers were still just clever enough. Rather than frantically trying to find answers to infotainment questions that nobody ever asked.

MZD is controlled by easy to understand and operate buttons on the stylish multifunction steering wheel, or a by rotary dial on the centre console. It’s nothing new. BMW used to call it the iDrive controller, remember? The Bavarians since moved on to some other senseless system, but Mazda picked up on that dependable tech. The Japanese have made it work far better too. Sensible and well thought out, this car communicates and cooperates logically with the average human brain.


The infotainment screen is neat and easy to understand and navigate. It has only the necessary layers of windows. It also sits high in the car close and enough to the driver’s line of sight. And it’s backed up buttons and knobs below for all the most important functions. Imagine that! Even the heads up display is uncomplicated, easy to operate, and adjust. All in all, this is the finest UX we have experienced in years. Its designed for humans to operate, without the need of a PHD to figure it all out.

All of that is part of a quality, stylish, soft, leathery, and beautiful space. Ergonomically and pleasantly thought out, it even brings a comfortable driving position. Spec includes keyless central locking, all power windows, power folding wing mirrors, cruise control and rain sensing wipers. There’s a reversing camera and rear park distance control and a full safety suit including driver, driver’s knee, passenger, and side & curtain airbags.

More generously proportioned adults among us muttered about a lack of space in the rear. No hassle for the kids though. All that said, there’s not much else in this neck of the woods that can come anywhere close. If anything. Mazda certainly has its cabin taped, too.

Mazda CX-30


Powered by the familiar 121 kW 213 Nm 2-litre Skyactive-G four-pot, Mazda carries its standalone engine philosophy across to CX-30. Flying in the face of 2020s ICE convention, it has no turbocharger or forced induction. Mazda uses high compression rations in its search for efficiency.

But at what cost? There’s a bit of a trade off in engine noise and a degree of roughness at idle. But once you get going, that’s quickly forgotten. CX-30 is smooth, silent, and soft on the road. So much so that many a rival upmarket SUV maker would find it worth their while to figure how Mazda actually does it.

The occasionally raspy 2-litre drives the front wheels through a smooth shifting 6-speed auto box. Performance is brisk and it’s fun to drive too. Nine seconds to a hundred with impressive handling and road holding helps CX-30 Carbon live up to Mazda’s sporty pedigree too.

Road Test


The CX-30 fits into a rather tight gap between its smaller CX-3 and larger CX5 sibling. There isn’t a huge difference between the three. That said, CX-30 can tug a third-heavier trailer than the CX-3. And it’s by far the most modern Mazda SUV right now. It’s well backed with a three year warranty and service plan. The period may fall a tad short, but the unlimited double whammy is a bonus.

In conclusion, this superbly stylish and sexy little star punches way above its weight. User friendlier than anything else we have driven for many a year, it also stands tall as a splendid value proposition. Yes, the Mazda CX-30 is a little supercar in so many ways. – Michele Lupini

Testing & images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mazda CX-30 2.0 Carbon Edition
Engine: 121 kW 213 Nm 2-litre petrol I4
Drive: 6-speed automatic FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.25sec
0-100 km/h:       9.00 sec
0-120 km/h:       12.44sec
0-160 km/h:       22.35 sec
400m:             16.5 sec @ 140 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.99 sec
120-160 km/h:     9.91 sec
VMax:             205 km/h
Fuel:             6.6 l/100 km
CO2:              160 g/km
Range:            770 km
Warranty/Service: 3y unl./ 3y unl.
LIST PRICE:       R540K
RATED:            9
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