In-depth reviews

Mazda CX-30 SUV review

"The Mazda CX-30 is a stylish SUV that's good to drive but its sleek shape hinders practicality"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Used car deals


  • Good to drive
  • Striking design
  • Upmarket interior


  • Firm ride
  • Small boot
  • Limited engine choice

The Mazda CX-30 SUV could become the Japanese brand’s best-selling car in the UK, as buyers are currently lapping up compact SUVs exactly like it. The competition is extremely fierce in this part of the market, with every brand vying for a piece of the crossover-SUV pie while quietly discontinuing slow-selling MPVs and big saloons.

Rivals are too varied to list exhaustively but mainstream contenders include the Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq, Toyota C-HR, Volkswagen T-Roc, as well as the upcoming Ford Puma. The CX-30 also does enough in the styling department to tread on the toes of premium models such as the Volvo XC40, BMW X2 and Range Rover Evoque.

Its crisps lines are clearly borrowed from the latest Mazda3 hatchback, adjusted to suit a taller roofline. Clever use of black wheelarches and sill cladding has helped prevent the car from looking bloated, making the CX-30's doors appear shorter than they really are, while stylish LED lights give the Mazda an upmarket and purposeful character. The car is an easy one to get in and out of because of the raised body, and the interior impresses with its style and quality. Shared almost entirely with the low-slung hatch, the use of soft-touch materials, metal and even some wood is carefully considered and attractive. A spot-on driving position and contoured steering wheel ensures the CX-30 feels sporty too.

Once on the move, the chassis lives up to this promise, with the suspension bordering on overly firm around town. As the speed picks up the suspension works more effectively, smoothing out imperfections and responding quickly and accurately to driver inputs. It's just a shame the entry-level SkyActiv-G and now discontinued SkyActiv-D petrol and diesel engines don't really have much muscle, offering less than 120bhp. The handling is excellent but the petrol engine often requires more revs than turbocharged rivals, upsetting the car’s refinement. Even the innovative SkyActiv-X petrol with 178bhp lacks torque next to turbocharged petrol rivals like the SEAT Ateca, although the Mazda can match the Ateca’s 0-62mph acceleration time.

The Mazda CX-30 sits firmly at the stylish end of the spectrum, with plenty of room up front but tight rear legroom and a 421-litre boot that's easily bettered by models like the Skoda Karoq. Think of it as a high-riding hatch rather than a traditional SUV and you won't be disappointed.

The Mazda CX-30 managed to set a new benchmark by achieving the highest score ever from Euro NCAP on its way to earning a full five-star safety rating. The CX-30 should prove reliable despite being a new model, with Mazda finishing fourth in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.

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