THE new Mazda CX-30 enters the booming SUV sector in January.
Sitting between the CX-3 and CX-5 in the company's line up, the newcomer will be priced from £22,895 for the 26 models in five trim levels and a choice of rear or all-wheel-drive depending on the selection of 122ps or 180ps 2.0-litre SkyActiv petrol engines, six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Both units feature the latest 24-volt mild-hybrid powertrain to stretch economy and the higher powered engine has compression ignition for further efficiency.
With this power boost it builds on the launch earlier this year of the Mazda3 and the new CX-30 was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The CX-30 has already picked up a five-star Euro NCAP rating for its adult occupant safety and range of i-Activesense safety features such as lane and overtaking warnings, sensors and driver assistance technologies.
The 122ps 2.0 engine takes 10.6sec to hit 62mph and has a maximum speed of 116mph while the 180ps 2.0 is good for 127mph and 8.5sec 0-62mph.
Mazda has taken the decision to sell only the petrol versions of the CX-30 in Britain but diesels will be offered in other markets and we will see an electric version on UK roads early in 2021.
The SkyActiv petrol engines as fitted to the Mazda3 have earned a reputation for responsiveness, power delivery and economy with low emissions and those of the new CX-30 are as clean as 105g/km.
All models are well equipped with standard head-up display, radar cruise control and LED headlights. As you move up the range you get upgraded sound systems including CD player and climate controls, additional driving and safety aids as well as bigger wheels and tyres.
For families it has a nominal 430 litres bootspace rising to maximum 1,406 litres, standard cloth upholstery with leather on top models. The prices go from £22,895 to £33,495.
First impressions of the CX-30 with the 122ps engine was its refinement and smoothness, but it had to be stirred along through the gears on steeper roads or gentle gradients of our very extensive route through Devon.
The anticipated best selling 180ps version was sharper, responding with a slightly firmer ride as well and we appreciated its agility but bemoaned a slow reacting auto-headlights system on busy country roads.
The fact we did not have to work it so hard was reflected in our average of 44.4mpg compared to 35.2mpg in the less powerful stablemate.
Both were roomy had excellent seats, decent sized boot, and very good instruments display particularly head-up onto screen. Controls were easy and slick with a multi adjustable steering column, strong brakes and safe handling.