This handsome Mazda fits between the CX-3 crossover and CX-5 large SUV, yet it isn’t called the CX-4. What’s in a name, after all? You see, the purpose of the CX-30 is very clear, even if its identity isn’t: to offer all the good qualities of those two cars in a more modern family SUV-sized package. And by and large, it succeeds in that purpose admirably well.
As you would expect from Mazda, there are some interesting engines to choose from. It gives you a choice of two 2.0-litre petrol engines, both of which lack turbocharging but use mild-hybrid technology, with a small electric motor and battery working together to improve fuel efficiency and engine response at low speeds.
Both engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, plus there’s an optional six-speed automatic. The more powerful engine also opens up the option of four-wheel drive.
There are five trim levels to choose from for your CX-30: SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech. All are well equipped, with automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, air conditioning and a head-up display the absolute minimum.
On the road, the Skyactiv-G engine provides reasonable punch, while the more powerful Skyactiv-X (which uses innovative compression-ignition technology to get better fuel economy) feels a bit quicker, although you have to work it to feel the difference. Neither engine can match the flexibility of the turbo units found in any other small SUV.
Scarred urban roads also cause the CX-30 to fidget, all while every pothole sends a thud through your seat. Even at speed on a motorway, you will still feel road imperfections as they filter up to your posterior.
The car is happy in corners, however, with minimal body lean. However, push harder and you will find that it runs out of front-end grip earlier than one or two of its rivals.
Where the CX-30 really scores is in its interior quality: no rival comes close to its classy solidity. The dashboard is slathered in squishy, expensivelooking materials and there are lashings of leatherette trim. Add some classy chrome trim into the mix and it’s a fine place to be. Play with the switches, stalks and knobs and you will find that they all click, turn and move with an expensive feel, too.