2020 Mazda CX-30 Review GCB

Why CX-30?

Mazda chose Cape Shanck to introduce its new medium CX-30 SUV.

Set against the rolling dunes of the far south of the continent, Mazda is pinning hopes on a classy new design to lure buyers in the crowded market segment. CX-30is about lifestyle.

Mazda sales are down 2.3%, but Mazda retains 2nd spot on the Australian top 10 with 9.3% market share. CX-30 fits between CX-3 and CX-5 and Mazda hopes new buyers will be found, rather than canalising sales from either of the other small Mazda crossovers.

The new naming system signifies a new design direction for the fresh new generation of product. Mazda was shifty when asked why the naming system has changed, but it signals a new future for the Japanese car maker.

Mazda3 has similar lines, and a cabin as beautiful. So, the buyer can decide between sporty family hatch, or a slightly larger SUV/crosser vehicle to carry even more stuff.

Model range: Pure, Active, Touring, Astina (FWD in all models, and AWD versions of the top 2).

The looks.

The body shimmers eerily as it moves through the light. The watery effect is created by waves rather than sharp lines across the doors.

The plastic body kit fools the eye in to thinking CX-30 is much slimmer than she actually is. There is around 175cm of ground clearance so it is unlikely these plastic sections will be too badly scratched up.

There is a line that curves gently over the windows and down the D pillar, giving the impression of a lowered roofline. It allows the cabin to maintain headroom, even for backseat passengers.

Tail lights are similar to MX-5 with a rounded loop and elongated flank lit by bright LED elements. Indicators are lower down in the bumper, but I’d have preferred them high up so as to be more easily seen in tight city traffic.

Headlights are LED, and swivel in the top model. They light the way around corners in a way that has to be experienced to be appreciated.

The tailgate is powered, and the boot has an underfloor section to secrete valuables while you’re having a day at the beach.

There is just a touch of Mercedes about the looks, but without the hefty price tag.

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The CX-30 cabin is pour class.

Supple, soft surfaces have a stitching effect, particularly on dash and doors. Switch gear has been given a once-over and is simple to use. The steering wheel has an updated look, with more knobs and buttons on the lower dash to turn lane assistance and other safety features on and off..

A command centre nestles between the front seats.  There are a couple of cup holders and switches for audio and vehicle functions. You’ll also find the auto-hold button, and the all important Sport mode button.

Other controls are split between a command wheel that doubles as a joystick, and a series of buttons and switches on the console, dash, and steering wheel.

Although classy, some of the plastic is a trifle too shiny, which might reflect bright light under the right conditions.

The driver’s seat has powered adjustment, with both front passengers having seat heating. Soft leather covers the “S” shaped pews. Body contouring keeps passengers comfortable, even after many hours of travel.

Boot space is generous at around 422L, which includes an underfloor section. All CX-30s have a space saver spare.


Mazda has standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Bluetooth streaming. Handsfree use includes music, navigation and messaging, as well as other smart phone functions. You can stream your favourite tunes from Spoify etc too..

The Bose system includes DAB+ radio. The sound is sensational, and although not all that unusual in cars now, is most welcome. Don’t feel the need to wind up the bass though. It gets very tiring.

It is controlled through a sexy=looking landscape tablet that floats at the top of the centre stack. You can display navigation and other functions here, or in the driver instruments, or HUD on the windscreen. HUD is standard on all CX-30s

The Heads Up Display projects into the driver’s line of sight and gives useless tips on direction, speed, lane control and speed limit.

There is an ever-growing list of features in new cars, and the only way to come to grips with them is to try them out.

Drive and Engine

CX-30 has a 6-speed automatic (with paddles shifters), 2 engines, powering either front, or all wheels. AWD models arrive in March so we will have to wait for a spin in that one.

75% of sales are expected to be the 2.0L 114kw/200Nm, and 25% 2.5L 139kw/252Nm. Both engines run on E10 or 91ron fuel, with AWD being available in Touring and Astina 2.5 models. Those models also have cylinder deactivation to further increase economy. Our Astina G25 gets a decent 6.6L/100k.

AWD models have a 48L fuel tank, because space is needed to shoehorn the AWD system in..

All models have hill start assist and i-Stop to help nervous nanas at stop lights. Fuel savings will go unnoticed, but these figures are those once only enjoyed by diesel owners..

What’s CX-30 like to drive?

CX-30 is sporty-ish.

Its owner is going to be someone who wants to cart around lots of gear. You’ll have a happy pooch, or if you have kids, a place to secure them safely in the back seat. It’s a shame there isn’t a sound curtain as an option.

Steering is delightfully precise. Directional changes happen at the flick of a wrist.

Handling has been optimised to suit the MacPherson Strut front end and Torsion Bar rear end. Torsion bar suspension can be choppy in corners, but Mazda has taken care of that. As you steer in to tight corners, CX-30 hunkers down for a touch of added fun.

Sport mode gives the transmission and throttle a sense of urgency and transforms the little SUV into something that will see Eurpoeans turn a faint shade of puce as their envy grows.

Highway speeds are only interrupted by the occasional bump. Sound deadening within the cabin is augmented by clever design within the body structure itself.

There is a solid, sturdy feel, and a low-ish centre of gravity that lets you throw CX-30 around like a rag doll. Even with the modest engine output, it is a load of fun in tight bends.

Mazda has binned manuals in CX-30, with less than 5% of buyers wanting shift-em-yourself gearboxes .

Safety Highlights

  • Blind Spot monitor
  • Driver monitor
  • Active cruise control
  • Smart braking
  • High beam assist
  • G-vectoring plus
  • Active lane assist
  • Isofix and Top Tether
  • Front cross traffic alert
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Seat belt warning
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Keyless entry, Smart Entry/start

Active lane control is not too intrusive and the active cruise control has a queue function. Blind spot warns of oncoming traffic, and will try and stop you from changing lanes if it sees something you don’t.

Good Bits

  • gorgeous interior
  • Heads Up Display
  • Excellent ride and handling

Bad bits

  • Some plastic a little too “mardi-gras” for my liking
  • No turbo models or manual transmissions
  • 2.0L engine lacks oomph


CX-30 is a great little all-rounder. It fills a space between CX-3 and CX-5 positively stuffed with choice. There is more than enough space for 4 mates and their associated detritus. You could easily do a longer trip if that’s your thing.

Handling and ride benchmarks are exceeded only by the luscious feel of the cabin.

If you don’t fancy a game of Golf, and can’t Focus on Ford, perhaps Asia rather than Europe is a place to look for value, class, and reliability.

Perhaps you want more Jack Ryan in your weekend? Maybe you want to Paris Hilton yourself to death at the shops? There is choice, space, and performance aplenty, especially in the range-topper.

There is a good reason Mazda is number 2 in the Australian Top Ten car makers.

  • Price: $41,490
  • Engine: 2.5L
  • Power: 135kw/252Nm
  • Econmy:6.6 L/100k
  • Transmission: 6 speed automatic
Grade Manufacturer’s List Price
G20 Pure FWD $29,990
G20 Pure FWD with Vision Technology $31,490
G20 Evolve FWD $31,490
G20 Evolve FWD with Vision Technology $32,990
G20 Touring FWD $34,990
G20 Touring FWD with Vision Technology $36,290
G25 Touring FWD $36,490
G25 Touring FWD with Vision Technology $37,790
G25 Touring AWD $38,490
G25 Touring AWD with Vision Technology $39,790
G20 Astina FWD $38,990
G25 Astina FWD $41,490
G25 Astina AWD $43,490


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