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red mazda cx-30 driving

Mazda CX-30 review

With compact crossover SUVs becoming more and more popular, the Mazda CX-30 has timed its entrance into the market perfectly. Based on the impressive Mazda 3 hatchback, with which it shares a very capable chassis, the CX-30 is one of the most stylish cars of its type.


Borrowing its sharp, elegant lines from the Mazda 3, the CX-30 is a handsome addition to the family. Even though the CX-30 is taller than its hatchback cousin, its chunky black wheel arches and sill cladding keep the proportions just right, while stylish LED headlamps and taillights give the car a premium, contemporary look that’ll have you glancing back at it after you’ve parked up.

Borrowing its sharp, elegant lines from the Mazda 3, the CX-30 is a handsome addition to the family.

What’s it like to drive?

A slightly raised driver’s seat and optimal all-round visibility are good starting points for the CX-30’s sporty, dynamic driving experience. While the car’s suspension set-up is a little on the firm side when negotiating city streets, out on faster A-roads and motorways the CX-30 delivers a smooth ride and planted, confidence-inspiring handling that isn’t adversely affected by its added height. Like its sports car stablemate the MX-5, the CX-30 is an intuitive, thoroughly enjoyable car to drive. 

Both the CX-30’s petrol engines are snappy performers, delivering enough oomph for B-road overtaking manoeuvres and plenty of power for smooth motorway cruising. Mazda’s mild-hybrid technology helps further by gathering energy when the car brakes and then using it to assist the engine during acceleration.

red mazda cx-30 driving off-road

Like its sports car stablemate the MX-5, the CX-30 is an intuitive, thoroughly enjoyable car to drive. 


The Mazda CX-30's comfortable, multi-adjustable driver’s seat and excellent driving position lend the car serious sporting appeal from the moment you get behind the wheel. Its dashboard is sleek and unfussy, with an emphasis placed on driver-focused ergonomics. The contoured steering wheel feels similarly sporty, bolstering the car’s purposeful intent.

Mazda's crossover SUV is similarly equipped to the Mazda 3, which is no bad thing. Entry-level SE-L trim models include an 8.8-inch colour touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, as well as a head-up display with traffic sign recognition and rear parking sensors, while SE-L Lux versions add heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera and a powered tailgate. Top-spec Sport Lux and GT Sport cars include a range of further luxurious appointments such as privacy glass, an electric sunroof, leather upholstery and an upgraded 12-speaker sound system.

The CX-30’s interior is a very nice place to be, with high-grade plastics, soft-touch materials and a well-thought-out, intuitive design putting it some way ahead of its nearest rivals. Buttons and switchgear fall easily to hand and boast the same tactile, well-engineered feel that you get with the rest of the cabin. 

mazda cx-30 interior


As the CX-30 is a driver-focused crossover SUV, it doesn’t offer quite the same amount of interior space and storage as you’ll find in bigger, boxier rivals. However, there’s still plenty of head and legroom up front, and a decent amount of space in the rear compartment for a couple of regular-sized adults to travel in relative comfort over long distances. 

There’s a generously sized boot, which is big enough to pack for a long weekend away. Load capacity can be increased by dropping the CX-30’s 60/40 split rear seats, while the wide tailgate opening should take the pain out of loading and unloading larger items.


Running costs and reliability

The Mazda CX-30 is one of the most affordable compact SUVs to run on the market. Its 2.0-litre Skyactiv-X petrol engine, which offers class-leading fuel efficiency thanks to Mazda’s proprietary compression ignition technology, will return between 40.4mpg and 47.9mpg depending on transmission and two or four-wheel-drive layout, while the less powerful Skyactiv-G unit will deliver 45.6mpg for a front-wheel-drive, manual car. 

Skyactiv-D diesel engines offer similarly impressive frugality, although these were discontinued for the 2019 model year.

red mazda cx-30 rear

What we love

We love the CX-30’s sharp, purposeful looks. Considering it’s a crossover SUV, this is a very sporty-looking car. And its driving dynamics more than bear that out. The CX-30 is genuinely fun to drive, a rare thing in this sector of the market. 

It’s safe too, with a generous roster of standard safety kit including autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control with Stop & Go function, blind spot monitoring and lane-keep assist.GT Sport Tech cars come with 360-degree cameras, front cross-traffic alert and a driver monitoring system – which warns the driver to take regular breaks – as well. The CX-30 also has a maximum five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating.

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If you like the Mazda CX-30...

While many of its rivals may not be able to match the CX-30 for sportiness and driver appeal, there’s still fierce competition when it comes to interior space and practicality. Here are the Mazda’s main challengers:

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Perfect for

Town and country drivers




If you’re after a compact SUV that offers practicality over everything else, then the CX-30 may not be for you. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a little interior and boot space for sleek eye-catching design and genuinely sporty driving dynamics, we’d strongly advise adding the CX-30 to your shopping list.

This review was