On the road

First drives: Mazda CX-30

We all know the story of the young girl with the golden locks. She tested everything until she found something ‘just right’. Well, the latest CX-30 could be Mazda’s fairytale ending.

The CX-30 is the latest SUV to join the line-up, sitting in between the stylish but small CX-3 and the ‘will fit the growing family’ CX-5.

Modelled on the latest Mazda3 platform, the CX-30 shrugs off a little of that upright SUV look, creating a more flowing sports coupe design. But it doesn’t lose too much of that high SUV driving position either. Following Mazda3’s lead, the CX-30 features flowing curves across body panels with very few creases, allowing reflection and shape shifting depending on the light. The interior feels premium, even in the lower grades. Lower spec models have a cloth trim with a navy and black interior, while higher spec variants have leather and rich brown to break up the contrasting black.  All models include heads-up digital display, 8.8” widescreen controlled by Mazda’s rotary command controller and a 7” LED instrument display cluster with all the connectivity options you would expect these days. The Astina variant also includes a 12 speaker Bose audio system.

The sports coupe theme flows through to handling and road holding. This is delivered by a firm suspension and Mazda’s latest G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) system, which further enhances handling stability. The brakes add direct yaw moment control on top of the conventional engine control of GVC. As the driver steers out of a corner, GVC Plus applies a light braking force to the outer wheels, providing a stabilising moment that helps restore the vehicle to straight line running. It also further assists in emergency situations, providing additional support for sudden lane changes and avoidance requirements. Similar to the Mazda3, the 2.0L engine matched with the standard six-speed auto is adequate, while the additional power and torque offered by the 2.5L is the pick of the drivetrains. On the road there is a sporty and firm feel to the suspension, and road and engine noise is well-supressed in all but the higher rev ranges. The brake pedal felt a little wooden compared to other Mazda vehicles I’ve driven, however I quickly got used to it.

 

Red Mazda CX30 on highway
CX-30 in Soul Red
White Mazda CX30 on highway
CX-30 in Snowflake White Pearl

 

The CX-30 range is a little less complicated as there is no manual transmission option, however there are still four model grades: Pure, Evolve, Touring and Astina. Each is available with Mazda’s G20 2.0L engine driving only the front wheels, while a 2.5L AWD is available on Touring and Astina variants.

In terms of standard features and safety, the list is comprehensive even from the entry model.

Major features include: blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, driver attention alert, smart brake support for front, rear and rear crossing, forward obstruction warning, rear cross traffic alert, radar cruise control with stop and go, traffic sign recognition, high beam control, electric park brake, reverse camera and sat-nav. The Evolve includes 18” alloys, dual climate control, paddle shifters, leather steering wheel and shifter. Touring features advanced keyless entry, leather seats with 10-way adjustment and memory settings for the driver, while Astina includes adaptive LED headlights, 360° view monitor, driver monitoring, front cross traffic alert, and black or pure white leather as a no-cost option. The G25 Astina also includes a sunroof. The entry level G20 Pure will cost you a touch under $34,000 drive away, with the fully-loaded G25 Astina a little under $48,000 drive away.

Now to the all-important extra space. Front seat occupants are treated to dimensions similar to the larger CX-5, while rear seat occupants will enjoy an additional 33mm over the CX-3. Redesigned packaging, including hip points and floor height, along with an additional 29mm of head room, make it more comfortable for taller rear seat passengers. Cargo space exceeds the stroller-plus-baggage test, which the CX-3 had no chance of meeting.

So, has Mazda delivered the fairytale ending it was looking for? I’d say yes, its latest SUV will find a lot of new homes in Australia.

 

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