A Goldilocks car has arrived to fill the crucial hole in Mazda’s SUV family.
The CX-30 is more than just a looker, although Mazda’s signature ‘Kodo Design’ gives it a much smoother style than most of the boxy SUVs in showrooms.
It’s the right size with the right badge, although the price is not as sharp as many of the rivals.
The CX-30 sits and fits between the undersized CX-3 and the family-first CX-5, and is baited with that smoothly elegant styling and the usual Mazda quality.
It’s hitting the hottest SUV segment in showrooms today, as well as sparking a red-hot rivalry with the Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos, as well as a broader sweep of contenders including the Nissan Qashqai.
There is a lot to commend and recommend in the CX-30, starting from a mechanical platform that is – finally – shared with the Mazda3.
That means a basic 2-litre petrol engine and front-wheel drive, as well as plenty of safety systems, and a back end that gives a much bigger boot and rear seat than the CX-3.
It also means the size and refinement that buyers expected from the CX-3, but never got because it’s based on the smaller Mazda3.
But then there is the price.
The cheapest CX-30 is $29,990 and it’s possible to spend up to $43,490 with all-wheel drive and all the fruit.
The design of the CX-30 is lovely, from the headlights through the cabin to the boot, and the Mazda3 package means it’s calm and refined, nicely finished, and sits where more and more SUV shoppers are looking.
But the boot could still be bigger, and rear vision is poor, and there is not much space for teenagers in the back.
Not only that, but the driver-assistance technology is far too intrusive. Lane changes can be jerky on radar cruise, the car beeps if you touch the brake and accelerator at the same time, and the test car did a full auto panic stop for a wheelie bin on a corner.
The test car, a basic G20 and not the punchier G25 with all-wheel drive, performs well, with solid sprinting and fuel economy better than the claimed 6.5 litres/100km from the Skyactiv four-cylinder. It is very quiet and relaxed at highway speeds.
Corning is good with no protests from the tyres at family-car speeds, it stops well, and there is plenty of safety equipment and good headlights.
The CX-30 is definitely a winner for Mazda, and a genuinely impressive newcomer that’s likely to be a contender for Car of the Year awards at the finish of 2020.
It’s not perfect, and it’s not cheap, but it’s good.
Has a boot
Transmission: 6-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Position: compact SUV
THE TICK: Yes