COMPACT crossovers and pseudo-SUVs continue to be all the rage with car buyers across the globe, it seems, and Mazda's offerings have carved out a reputation in the sector for their good looks and driveability.
The stylish CX-30 is no exception. Based on the popular Mazda 3 it bears the curvy, coupe-like styling of its hatchback sibling, beefed up with the essential raised suspension and black plastic cladding along its sills and wheel arches.
Five trim grades offer prospective buyers plenty of choice with prices starting from an affordable £22,945 and rising to £34,245.
All versions come with decent equipment, with an intelligent start/stop system, head up display, push button start, cruise control, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, navigation, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking all standard across the range.
Our flagship GT Sport Tech car adds bells and whistles such as climate control, keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats with automatic adjustment for the driver, heated steering wheel, 360-degree view camera system, powered tailgate, sunroof, a premium Bose sound system as well as a range of enhanced safety and driver assistance features.
Diesel is eschewed by Mazda for the CX-30 but its approach to petrol power goes slightly against the trend too. Where most car makers go for downsized engines with turbochargers, the Japanese marque offers a couple of 2.0-litre units featuring its Skyactiv suite of technologies, which it is confident delivers the same benefits in terms of efficiency.
Both power plants are boosted by a 24-volt mild hybrid system and mated to a six-speed manual transmission with the option, depending upon trim, of a six-speed automatic and adding all-wheel drive.
Our test car featured the more powerful 186PS e-Skyactiv X system which will shift the CX-30 from 0-62mph in a healthy 8.3 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 127mph, while offering average fuel economy of close to 50 miles per gallon.
Outright speed, then, is not an issue and the unit, paired with the six-speed manual gearbox in our car, proves particularly punchy and responsive in urban traffic - where most family SUVs do their day-to-day driving.
Power tails off slightly at the top end and you may find yourself having to drop down a gear if you want a sharp injection of pace for overtaking on the open road, for instance, but cruising at motorway speeds is smooth and relaxed.
As with all Mazdas, the CX-30's dynamics are on point too, with accurate, well-weighted steering and a taut chassis offering some fairly nimble handling and minimal body roll in corners - resulting in an engaging driving experience which is further enhanced by the short throw on the gearshift.
The pay-off for all this agility is a slightly firm ride that, in turn, sees some fidgeting over imperfect road surfaces but this doesn't stray into uncomfortable territory for passengers, who are also well insulated from road and wind noise.
The CX-30 also offers a surprisingly upmarket environment in which to travel, with plush, soft-touch surfaces, high quality materials and a standard of fit and finish that rivals competitors bearing more premium German badges.
It's pretty roomy up front, with plenty of space and adjustment for drivers of all shapes and sizes to get comfortable, but head and leg room in the back is a little tighter and those who are six feet tall or more will feel a little cramped on longer trips.
The boot, at 430 litres, is big enough to cope with the weekly shop and most day-to-day family needs but there are more versatile SUVs out there in terms of practicality.
The CX-30's folding rear seat back is split 60-40 and there is an adjustable boot floor on higher spec models that doubles as a load separator - but that's as far as it goes in terms of flexibility of load space.