Mazda plugs SUV gap

with CX-30

 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, side, static
 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, rear, action
 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, interior
 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, rear seats
 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, engine
 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, boot
 Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-X, 2019, badge
 Mazda CX-30 SkyActiv-X, 2019, front, action

MAZDA has launched a new SUV that slots in neatly between the CX-3 and CX-5 models in the company's line-up and it's yet another top quality option for those who simply can't get enough of practical family cars.

In fact, the SUV sector has now overtaken the hatchback segment in the popularity stakes, so little wonder we are seeing new models introduced on a regular basis.

Logic would suggest that the new Mazda would be called the CX-4 to fit in perfectly with the existing range, but that's not the case as that title has already been snapped up by another Mazda car that is sold exclusively in China.

So, instead we have the all-new CX-30 and it is quite the all-round family vehicle.

Priced from £22,895 to £33,495, the CX-30 is available in trim levels called SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Lux.

There are no diesel versions, but the car is powered by two petrol engines. The first is the 2.0-litre 122ps SkyActiv-G engine that features cylinder deactivation and the second is the 2.0-litre 180ps SkyActiv-X petrol engine that features Spark Controlled Compression Ignition.

This ground-breaking powertrain is offered on all CX-30 grades and, from Sport Lux upwards, has the option of Mazda's all-wheel drive system.

All cars feature 24-volt mild hybrid technology and when you factor in the choice between manual or automatic gearboxes, plus front or all-wheel drive, the model line-up totals 26.

There's no denying the fact that the CX-30 is a great looking car thanks to its sleek styling, gloss black grille, LED headlights with signature LED daytime running lights, a gloss black roof spoiler, privacy glass, power-folding door mirrors, plus a choice of 16 or 18-inch wheels.

Mazda loves to throw Japanese words into the mix when describing its car design and the CX-30 is aptly summed up as Sori which means curves with poise, along with Utsuroi which is the play of light and shade.

Move inside and the interior is true class with the finest leather upholstery and lots of soft-touch surfaces. It is minimalist in its layout but packed with technology.

All models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and there is the choice of a high quality eight-speaker sound system on lower trims or a 12-speaker Bose system on the higher grade cars.

Other creature comforts, dependant on model, include a head up display, Mazda Connect with 8.3-inch screen, powered and heated seats, a heated steering wheel and plenty more besides.

The car is driver-focused with all dials, controls and readouts perfectly positioned or angled for ease of use and comfort levels are high with space for a couple of adults in the back or three at a squeeze.

The boot, which is accessed via a powered tailgate, has a capacity of 430 litres increasing to 1,406 litres with the rear seats dropped flat, or 422 litres up to 1,398 litres on cars fitted with the high-end Bose sound system as it eats into the boot space slightly.

We tried a couple of models on an extensive road route through the Devon countryside that incorporated motorways, narrow lanes, sweeping country roads and busier town centres.

First up was the CX-30 GT Sport powered by the SkyActiv-G 2.0 122ps, 213Nm engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox in 2WD.

This car, costing £27,095, could sprint to 62mph from a standstill in 10.6 seconds and maxed out at 116mph.

According to official figures, it delivers 45.6mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.

Although those performance stats may not sound that thrilling, the way the CX-30 handles is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Mazda is renowned for developing cars that score highly when it comes to performance, handling and driving dynamics and the CX-30 lives up to that reputation.

The acceleration is sharp with ample power on tap for overtaking and the road holding, with the assistance of the clever G-Vectoring Control system, is ultra grippy.

It eats up motorway miles with ease and is agile weaving through more congested town centres.

The second car was also in GT Sport grade, but this time powered by the SkyActiv-X engine delivering 180ps and 224Nm of torque.

It was a six-speed manual with 2WD and cost £28,875. This car could sprint from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and topped out at 127mph while delivering 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 105g/km.

This car also ticked all the right boxes. The higher power output was noticeable on longer inclines or when short bursts of pace were required and once again the car was beautifully composed out on the open road without the slightest hint of body sway or loss of grip.

One area where SUVs need to excel is safety - after all the vehicle is likely to feature regularly on the school run with pedestrians, cars, pushchairs, bikes and children appearing from all angles.

The CX-30 not only features great safety specifications, it excels in this department.

It secured a maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP rating and achieved the highest ever score of 99 per cent for adult passenger safety.

So, the CX-30 seems to have it all. It looks gorgeous, drives well, is packed with kit and covers the practicality and safety bases too.

Little wonder then that Mazda is confident the CX-30 will rapidly become its best-selling model across the UK and Europe.

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