Mazda plugs SUV gap

with CX-30

Mazda CX-30, 2019, front, action
Mazda CX-30, 2019, front, static
Mazda CX-30, 2019, side, action
Mazda CX-30, 2019, rear, action
Mazda CX-30, 2019, dashboard
Mazda CX-30, 2019, interior
Mazda CX-30, 2019, rear seats
Mazda CX-30, 2019, boot
Mazda CX-30, 2019, badge

MAZDA is to expand its SUV line up with the introduction of a medium sized model that will sit between the CX-3 and CX-5.

Called the CX-30 it is based on the new Mazda3 platform and inherits the company's Kodo styling cues.

That means it looks distinctive, sleek and well proportioned although with raised suspension, extra cladding around the wheels and sills it's very much more SUV than hatch.

At a glance it looks quite similar to the CX-3 but is some four inches longer, slightly wider and has a much bigger boot at 430 litres compared to the 350 of its smaller sibling.

The CX-30 is also bigger inside and the extra roominess makes for a comfortable ride all round - critical in a crowded part of the car market where virtually every auto manufacturer wants to play.

Prices are still to be announced and the car is not due to come to the UK until the end of the year but Mazda says it will be close to that of the Mazda3 which costs from just under £22,000.

It will be powered initially by Mazda's 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine and its 1.8-litre diesel and we have just grabbed an early drive in the petrol CX-30 with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The car was front-wheel-drive but Mazda is planning to make the CX-30 available with all-wheel-drive as well as automatic gearboxes.

On the road it performs in a lively fashion - 0 to 60 is 10.6 seconds and the top speed is 116mph - and for an SUV the ride is nicely accomplished.

Quietness levels are well suppressed, especially at cruising speed and the overall feel is of a premium quality.

Interior layout and trim is almost identical to that of the Mazda3 with soft-touch finishes, an 8.8-inch display screen on top of the middle of the dash and the car we tried had a head-up display for the driver.

Cabin space for an SUV of this class is generous - almost that of the CX-5 - and with the rear seats folded luggage space increases to a maximum of more than 1,400 litres.

Fuel economy from the petrol engine is rated officially at 46 to the gallon with emissions of 141g/km and that looks close to the mark with the car returning an average of 44mpg on our run.

Mazda says it plans to include its new SkyActiv-X compression ignition petrol engine in the CX-30 range and that is likely to be a better bet with more performance and greater economy.

The diesel, with its added pulling power and up to 55mpg is realistically going to be attractive only to those who do more miles.

With demand for SUVs showing no signs of abating it's likely the CX-30 could become a best seller for Mazda - it's impressive on every front, much more user friendly than the CX-3 and with the new SkyActiv-X engine it should be a compelling choice.

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