Mazda CX-30

This Mazda is a fine little target, whether you’re buying up or down

Mazda promises us that it’s all-new CX-30 is made for a wide range of fans. Especially younger people who are approaching significant life transitions. Which is something we find most interesting. It certainly is a car that will welcome people buying up as gladly as it will those slipping downmarket. They also say that this car was engineered so meticulously that it leaves you feeling like it was made just for you.


The second all-new model alongside the 3 in Mazda’s next generation line-up, this new CX-30 compact SUV slots in between the CX-3 and CX-5 on the range. It combines the bold proportions of an SUV with the sleek profile of a coupé in the brand’s sophisticated latest evolution of its Kodo design philosophy.

There is however one aspect about this car that has us scratching our heads. That being CX-30’s rather slight difference in size when compared to its ‘smaller’ CX-3 sibling. 70 kilos heavier and 12 cm longer than the 4.39 meter long CX-3, the CX-30 is 3 cm wider, a centimetre lower, rides on a 8 cm longer wheelbase and has a 30 litre bigger boot.

Not a huge difference between the two. In fact those changes are what we have come to expect from new models as cars gradually keep on growing. That said, the biggest difference between the two is that this car can tow a third-heavier trailer than the smaller car. That means it will not pull a meaningful caravan. But this car will tow a 1.2 tonne van.


One thing CX-30 is, is generously equipped in typical Mazda fashion. Its stylish nose is punctuated by automatically lit and levelling daytime running LED headlamps, LED fog lights and there’s a high level brake light at the back, too.

One of the guys called CX-30’s poise voluptuous. That’s something Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren were once known to be. Apt too – just look how the light dances off those flanks in these images. Sporting neat 18-inch alloys shod with 215/55 R18 rubber, Mazda certainly has its styling aced these days.

Swing open the door to find CX-30’s comfortable, versatile and practical premium climate control air conditioned cabin. Settle into the plush, widely adjustable brown on black perforated leather driver’s seat and you’re confronted by a driver centric cockpit dominated by a power multifunction steering wheel. Ahead of neat trip computer-equipped dials and even a heads-up display.


That steering wheel contributes to controlling CX-30’s 8.8-inch display screen MZD Connect infotainment with an Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, front and rear USB port connectivity and the rest. The system could do with a bit of a refresh compared to some of its faster-evolving rivals, but that’s splitting hairs. It’s good for what the car is.

CX-30’s generous spec spreads to keyless central locking and power windows all round. 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.

Elegantly appointed and crafted in that Mazda ‘Jinba Ittai’ car and driver as one ethos, we all loved the CX-30’s smartly appointed cabin. Although some mocked those brown leather accents. And more generously proportioned adults among us muttered about a lack of space in the rear. No hassle for kids though.


Powered by Mazda’s familiar 121 kW 213 Nm 2-litre Skyactive-G, Mazda has carried its standalone engine philosophy across to the CX-30. Flying in the face of 2020s ICE convention, it does not have a turbocharger or forced induction. It rather plumps for high compression in search of efficiency. And that it certainly does achieve.

But a what cost? There certainly is 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 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. 8.2 seconds to 100 would be a feather in a normally aspirated hot hatch’s cap just a few years ago. Handling and road holding is impressive too. And the Mazda CX-30 is well backed with three years unlimited mileage warranty and service plan. The period may fall a tad short, but the unlimited double whammy is a certain bonus.


Like its Mazda siblings, this CX-30 goes its own way. Albeit perhaps a little too closely to some of those family members. All in all however, this stylish and sexy little star punches some way above its weight to deliver a fine value proposition. As we have come to expect from Mazda. – Michele Lupini

Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mazda CX-30 2.0 Individual
Engine: 121 kW 230 Nm 2-litre petrol I4
Drive: 6-speed automatic FWD
0-60 km/h:        3.86 sec
0-100 km/h:       8.24 sec
0-120 km/h:       11.45sec
0-160 km/h:       20.75 sec
400m:             16.0sec @ 143 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.61 sec
120-160 km/h:     9.30 sec
VMax:             204 km/h
Fuel:             6.6 l/100 km
CO2:              160 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y unl./ 3y unl.
LIST PRICE:       R540K
RATED:            8
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