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

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£25,325 - £37,225

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Striking design
  • Upmarket interior

Cons

  • 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. This car is Mazda’s second crack at the small SUV class, after the cool but claustrophobic CX-3.

Rivals are too varied to list exhaustively but mainstream contenders include the Citroen C4, Peugeot 2008, Cupra Formentor, Toyota C-HR, Volkswagen T-Roc, and 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 while undercutting them on price.

Top 10 best mid-size SUVs 2023Top 10 best mid-size SUVs 2024

Its crisp 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 e-SkyActiv-G doesn’t really have much muscle, and its 120bhp is only accessed at high revs.

The handling is excellent but the petrol engine often requires more revs than turbocharged rivals, upsetting the car’s refinement. Even the innovative e-SkyActiv-X petrol with 184bhp lacks torque next to turbocharged petrol rivals like the SEAT Ateca, although the Mazda can match the Ateca’s 0-62mph acceleration time and feels rather sporty.

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 such as the Renault Captur and the Skoda Karoq, the latter of which is a bigger but similarly priced model. Think of it as a high-riding hatch rather than a traditional SUV and you won't be disappointed. Mind you, buyers upgrading from the now-discontinued Mazda CX-3 will think the CX-30 is palatial in comparison.

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.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 Skyactiv-G MHEV SE-L 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,670

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV SE-L Lux 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,760

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV SE-L Lux 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,760

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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