Mazda’s world first SUV put to the test
Mazda's small CX-30 SUV is proving popular with buyers, but does its new range-topper with a world-first engine live up to the hype? We tested the X20 Astina model.
The top-spec Mazda CX-30, priced at about $51,500 drive-away, is a tough sell, especially considering the most affordable model in the line-up is close to $20,000 cheaper.
But for the extra spend you get all-wheel drive, tons of equipment, a luxury interior, oodles of safety gear and, most importantly, the brand's new fuel-efficient petrol engine.
They may have thrown everything bar the kitchen sink at the Astina, but $50,000 for an SUV that is smaller than the popular CX-5 is a big ask.
The CX-30 shares much of its Mazda3 donor car's good looks, but chunky guards running along the base and around the wheels dim some of its elegance.
The Japanese brand does win back some points with a respectable five-year/unlimited km warranty, and servicing is good value at about $1800 over five years.
The interior is where the Mazda excels, with soft-touch materials and European-quality finishes throughout.
Highlights include an 8.8-inch infotainment display that is smartly angled towards the driver and controlled via a rotary dial rather than touch to reduce the time your eyes are off the road.
A booming 12-speaker Bose stereo combines with digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to round out the entertainment.
Plush leather trimmed and heated front seats are firm and supportive. The 10-way adjustable driver's seat allows for excellent vision and the two memory settings work well for a two driver household.
The rear seat room is adequate but a slightly raked window line makes it feel a tad claustrophobic. Two rear air vents win back some points. Boot space is small compared to most rivals.
Name an active or passive safety feature and the Mazda is likely to have it. There are auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist and front and rear cross-traffic alert with braking.
Parking and tight spaces are a breeze with the 360-degree camera and front and rear parking sensors.
A five-star ANCAP rating and seven airbags add extra peace of mind.
The CX-30 is based on the excellent Mazda3, but the shift to a high-riding SUV body relegates the CX-30's driving experience to the middle of the pack.
A new fuel-efficient petrol engine makes 132kW and 224Nm - that's 7kW and 28Nm less than the 2.5-litre unit in cheaper variants. It feels peppy around town but can sound coarse and unrefined under heavier acceleration. It also requires expensive premium unleaded.
The steering is sharp and the ride smooth, making it comfortable around town and on longer drives.
Cabin noise is acceptable, although the tyres will roar on coarser bitumen.
Mazda's claimed 6.0L/100km fuel use is hard to hit; we saw mostly 7s during long stints on the freeway.
It's safe, good looking and packed with equipment, but that can't make up for the high-price and gruff engine.
Volkswagen T-Roc 140TSI, from about $45,600 drive-away
Punchy engine and classy, tech-heavy cabin. Thirsty.
Kia Seltos GT-Line, $43,290 drive-away
Great value small SUV with class-leading warranty. Expensive to service.
Toyota C-HR Koba Hybrid, from about $41,600 drive-away
Properly fuel efficient and an engaging drive. Cave-like back seat and tiny boot.
MAZDA CX-30 X20 ASTINA VITALS
Price: About $51,500 drive-away
Warranty/servicing: five years/unlimited km, 1780 over five years
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol, 132kW/224Nm
Safety: Five stars, seven airbags, auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, front and rear cross traffic alert with auto brake, parking sensors, 360-degree camera.
Originally published as Mazda's world first SUV put to the test