THE compact SUV segment is a congested one and it certainly helps contenders if they can stand out from the crowd.
Mazda's CX-30 certainly manages to do that.
It's a very good looking and stylish vehicle that has enough about it to give premium models a run for their money as well as its mainstream competitors.
People who aren't keen on SUVs criticise them for being rather staid and dull looking but the CX-30 certainly bucks this trend with a curvy profile that can make people stop in their tracks to take a look.
It won me over instantly and drew plenty of admiring glances during the week I drove it.
It sits between Mazda's CX-3 and CX-5 models and if you're wondering why it didn't get called the CX-4 it's because Mazda has a different model in China with that particular monicker.
On the inside the CX-30 is nicely done out and the cabin is surprisingly roomy.
The dash and instrumentation are particularly splendid and a world away from the Mazdas of relatively recent years I recall driving.
While there wasn't necessarily anything wrong with the instrumentation and switchgear of old everything always seemed a bit spartan and functional.
I was struck by a modern and quality character overall in the CX-30, that - like its looks definitely - errs towards the premium rather than the mainstream.
The roomy feel extends to the rear where there's plenty of room for two, though a third passenger might feel a little squeezed.
The boot offers 430 litres of space, which extends to 1,406 litres with the rear seats folded down.
There are two 2.0-litre petrol engine options with the CX-30, a 120bhp Skyactiv-G or a 178bhp Skyactiv-X.
This car had the higher-powered one and it proved a capable performer. To be honest there isn't a huge difference between them, though bizarrely the more powerful engine has lower CO2 emissions.
There's no turbo but the mild hybrid system offers an acceleration boost, particularly from a standing start, helping to give it a sprightly feel.
The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and slick but you can opt for a six-speed automatic transmission for an extra £1,500.
The 178bhp manual model will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 8.5 seconds and take you on to a top speed of 127mph.
I fond it fun to drive, the steering is precise and it feels very flat and composed through the bends, with a stiff and sporty kind of feel.
While ride quality is decent enough you can feel the lumps and bumps at times, so if comfort's a priority it might be advisable to stick to the smaller alloy wheel options.
Equipment levels are decent, there are six trim options and prices range from £22,940 to £34,065.
Rear parking sensors are standard on all models and all bar the entry-level one have front sensors and a reversing camera.
Every CX-30 also has a full colour head-up display, forward collision avoidance, LED headlamps and radar controlled cruise control.
If you're not a fan of touchscreens that control pretty much all the car's functions you'll like the CX-30 - it still offers a familiar array of dials and knobs.
Mazda say this was a conscious decision to limit driver distraction.
All models have a central 8.8in infotainment display operated by a rotary controller and shortcut buttons. It's an easy system to get to grips with.