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First Drive

First Drive: Mazda CX-30

The story:
Mazda has added a third SUV and crossover to its line-up, with the new addition slotting in between the CX-3 and CX-5 model.
Key rival:Nissan Qashqai
Mazda CX-30 2.0 180 SkyActiv-X 2WD GT Sport
Emissions:105g/km (NEDC)
On sale:Now

Manufacturers are trying to plug every tiny gap in their SUV ranges, and Mazda is no exception with this new CX-30, which sits in the small gap between the CX-3 and CX-5. Better still, the CX-30 is available with the Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X engine, which pledges to blend the best bits of both petrol and diesel engines.

Mazda’s designers are on a bit of a roll at the moment, with the good-looking Mazda 3 already gracing showrooms, and the CX-30 continues the trend; it looks sharp and cutting edge, even if the plastic wheelarch trims are a touch clumsy.

However, the big news is under the bonnet, where the 2.0-litre 180hp Skyactiv-X engine promises diesel torque and economy, plus petrol refinement and power. Emissions of just 105g/km make it look extremely attractive to company drivers, too.First Drive-April 2020- Mazda CX-30- Image 3

In practice, it’s perfectly acceptable if not quite the internal-combustion panacea hoped for. It’s a little gruff at idle and when revved hard, although it’s quiet when you take things easy. However, it hasn’t got the punch of the turbocharged engines in rivals, so you have to rev it harder than you might like, when it becomes noisy again…

Still, the gearbox is great, with a light, quick change, and the steering is sharp. The suspension keeps the body well under control, although the downside is that you never feel as isolated from bumps as you might like. If you like a sporty driving experience, you’ll love the CX-30.First Drive-April 2020- Mazda CX-30- Image 2

Space up front is great, with plenty of head- and legroom, but things aren’t so generous in the back. Anyone in the rear seats will find their knees rubbing the back of the front seat, and getting into and out of the car isn’t as easy as it might be because the door aperture isn’t particularly large.

The 430-litre boot space isn’t as big as those in rivals such as the Seat Ateca, and the boot lip is too high.

Still, the numbers certainly add up, with that CO2 output of 105g/km and average economy figure of 47.9mpg, and there’s no denying that the CX-30 is packed full of standard equipment and luxurious-feeling materials.

euan doig

The verdict

Entertaining to drive as long as you work the engine, and full of luxury kit, but not as roomy as it needs to be.