THE very handsome new Mazda CX-30 compact crossover joined the company's award-winning SUV line-up at the start of this year.
The good-looking newcomer slots between the CX-3 and flagship CX-5 and could not be called the CX-4 because the company already uses that on a model for the Chinese market.
Prices for the 26 model range start at £22,940 for the entry-level SkyActiv-G powered car and top out at £33,865.
The CX-30 borrows styling cues fromthe multi-award winningMazda 3hatchback and is sure to be just as successful. Mazda expects it to be its best-selling model throughout Europe.
And it's not just its good looks that impress - its cabin and kit levels are just as impressive.
Five trim levels are available. The base-modelMazdaCX-30 SE-L comes as standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlamps, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, LED taillights, rear parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. The entry-level CX-30 also offers radar-guided cruise control, lane-keeping assist and a blind-spot monitoring system.
Standard features include cloth seat upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, air-conditioning, an electronic parking brake and a head-up display. Mazda has also fitted a seven-inch digital instrument binnacle as standard, along with an 8.8-inch infotainment system with support forApple CarPlayandAndroid Auto.
The mid-range Mazda CX-30 SE-L Lux starts at £24,440 and adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a reversing camera, a power-operated tailgate and keyless entry. Buyers will also get heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a single in-dash CD player.
The CX-30 Sport Lux models start from £25,540. This trim-level adds 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, restyled taillights, chrome interior trim, rear privacy glass and, for cars fitted with the 178bhp SkyActiv-X petrol engine, a powered sunroof.
The GT Sport models are priced from Â£27,340. Additions include leather seat upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a 12-speaker Bose surround sound system and an electrically adjustable driver's seat, with a memory function linked to the driver's door mirror and head-up display position.
The range-topping Mazda CX-30 GT Sport Tech version starts from Â£28,240 and features a 360-degree camera, a driver monitoring system and front cross-traffic alert. Mazda's cruising and traffic support system is also included. This system automatically operates the car's throttle, braking and steering in low-speed traffic taking some of the stress out of driving.
Mazda offers two mild-hybrid petrol powertrains in the new CX-30. The entry-level model is powered by Mazda's 2.0-litre four-cylinder SkyActiv-G unit, which produces 122bhp and 213Nm of torque. It feeds power to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and is available across the entire CX-30 range.
The engine features a cylinder-deactivation system which shuts down two of the engine's four cylinders when all the power is not required and this helps it achieve 45.6mpg with emissions of 116g/km.
As there is no diesel available the star of the show is the more powerful SkyActiv-X mild hybrid powertrain which the Japanese firm claims offers the performance of a petrol engine with the efficiency and economy of a diesel.
It features Mazda's innovative spark controlled compression ignition system and is well worth its price premium.
I have been sampling it in the two-wheel-drive (2WD) GT Sport version. It is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor, for a combined output of 178bhp and 224Nm of torque. The unit can also be specced with Mazda's i-Activ all-wheel-drive system and, like the SkyActiv-G unit, it can be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
It is very smooth and is good for a0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 127mph. This front-wheel-drive model has a claimed 47.9mpg figure with emissions of 105g/km. I averaged a sound 44.2mpg during mixed driving.
Most buyers will be won over by the CX-30's stylish sporting looks but they will also be delighted with the premium cabin quality.
The car was finished with Stone leather and Rich Brown accents - a Â£200 extra that really gave the cabin an up-market luxury feel complement its extensive kit list.
The classy cockpit will be familiar to all Mazda fans with everything exactly where it should be and easy to read and use instruments and controls.
The CX-30 is also very practical with 430 litres of boot spacewhich increases to 1,406 with the rear seats folded and there is also lots of storage inside the cabin.
On the road it is very composed with excellent driving dynamics. It is very agile and is great fun on country roads as well as being an ideal motorway cruiser.
The CX-30 newcomer also features great safety specifications. 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.