New car review: Mazda CX-30 G20 Evolve FWD

Mazda splits hairs to nails a new niche with its CX-30 compact SUV.

There’s no shortage of worthy competitors to Mazda’s new small SUV, the CX-30. Think Kia Seltos, Subaru XV, Hyundai Kona, Nissan Qashqai, and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, to name a few. 

The CX-30 is the fifth model in Mazda’s local SUV line-up and shares its DNA with the latest Mazda 3, which is a great starting point.

Size-wise, it nestles neatly between the smaller CX-3 and larger CX-5, prompting Mazda to describe it as a “just right” model for many buyers. But they would say that, wouldn’t they. 

The CX-30 offers more rear head, leg, and shoulder space than the smaller CX-3, but rear occupant space still isn’t ideal for regular adult or even family use. 

It’s better suited to singles or couples who only occasionally use the rear perch, leaving the CX-5 as the more family-friendly option.

Mazda CX30

At 317-litres its boot space is 53-litres larger than the CX-3, but small by class standards and is eclipsed by all the competitors mentioned, with the exception of the cosy Subaru XV.  

The eight-model range offers enough breadth for most budgets and tastes, comprising four grades, two petrol engines both with six-speed auto, front or all-wheel drive, and covering a price spread from $29,990 (G20 Pure 2.0 FWD) to $43,490 (G25 Astina 2.5 AWD).

The Evolve model tested here sits one rung above the entry-level Pure and is offered only as a 2.0-litre front-wheel-drive.

Mazda’s KODO design philosophy has shaped the CX-30’s elegantly handsome body, endowing it with good looks and premium finishes. 

Inside you’ll find soft-touch trims and attractive detail stitching which elevates the interior ambience to the high standard we’ve come to expect from Mazda. 

Comfortable seating and thoughtfully laid out controls make it an easy cabin to get comfortable in quickly. 

Standard on all grades are an 8.8-inch colour display, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and DAB+ radio, with a handy heads-up display that shows vehicle speed, traffic sign recognition and blind spot monitoring information.

Mazda CX30

The CX-30 delivers on the safety front, too, with seven airbags, smart brake support, radar cruise with stop/go function, rear cross traffic alert, high beam control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning and forward-obstruction warning on all grades. 

There’s also an optional Vision Technology Pack ($1,500) for buyers wanting a broader suite of driver assistance tech.

In independent ANCAP testing the CX-30 achieved a near perfect 99 per cent score for adult occupant protection, the highest recorded so far. Combined with high scores for other destructive tests and strong child protection results, it romped home with a five-star safety rating.

On the road the CX-30 affords displays above-average steering and handling.

If we were to nitpick we’d welcome a little more road-feel in the otherwise pleasantly weighted steering; and a smoothing of the slightly harsh low-speed ride generated by its 18-inch wheel and tyre combo. 

Having sampled both engines, the larger capacity G25 2.5-litre is definitely the more convincing performer. 

The 2.0-litre G20 does the job, but the bigger engine feels torquier, copes better with hills, and responds more convincingly when required.

Unfortunately, moving up to the larger engine involves stepping up to the pricier and better-equipped Touring specification or higher, meaning a minimum price increase of $5000. 

The CX-30 is an attractive addition to Mazda’s burgeoning SUV ranks.

It’s no family SUV but with its good looks, polished dynamics and good spread of models price points, it should sell like hot cakes with its target audience.  

Key stats

MLP: $31,490
ENGINE: 2.0-litre, petrol 4 cylinder
ANCAP CRASH RATING:  5-star (2019)
TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 152

For

Attractive looks inside and out, safety, above average road manners, quality finish.

Against

Space limitations, space saver spare, 2.5-litre engine a more convincing performer.