Fitting neatly between the CX-3 and CX-5 SUV models, reports Iain Robertson, the latest addition to Mazda’s UK model range is gunning for a good January 2020, when it goes on sale officially, priced judiciously from a value-for-money £22,895.
Seldom do I start a story by highlighting a price tag but Mazda possesses an unerring ability to produce new models that defy conventional pricing…they always look considerably higher in price than they are and I cannot make close proximity guesstimates with any confidence. Well, the company has done it again, with its all-new CX-30.
Mind you, I harbour a wee problem in that size-wise CX-30 is like a coupe-ised version of the CX-5 and is clearly much larger than CX-3 but, for the love of me, I cannot comprehend why the company elected not to name it ‘CX-4’ instead. Of course, Mazda is an ‘old hand’ in the SUV scene and what it does not know about producing this class of car is scarcely worth knowing. Yet, it manages to introduce successive new models (witnessed by the all-new Mazda3, earlier this summer) that incorporate such freshness and unbridled newness that they give off the impression of startled noviciates.
Do not misunderstand, Mazda is a very competent carmaker that understands how to stretch every single unit of currency to its blinding limit. It remains one of the few carmakers these days that relies on full-size clay modelling in its design studios, for instance, believing that a traditional ethos creates significantly better end products. It is an argument with which I shall not disagree, as every Mazda that I have either owned, or driven in the past forty years, has never failed to satisfy and pique my interest levels like few other brands.
The sheer effortlessness of Mazda’s KODO design philosophy must be the envy of the entire motor industry. The manner by which it is able to make each successive model look as though its body panels have been formed in molten metal, finished in paint that is so light reflective that it still looks wet, is both subjectively attractive and something at which to marvel. That Mazda remains independent as a world carmaker, in an industry that demands strategic partnerships, and can suffer from a shortage of resources for new model developments, makes the magical CX-30 all the more special.
After the visual appeal of Mazda’s design aspects but central to its arrival is the latest visceral and technological development in the form of the Skyactiv-X engine. Intriguingly, although petrol powered, the unit embodies a lot of compression-ignition diesel technology. Due to its unique combustion method, by which spark plug ignition is used to control compression ignition, the resultant efficiency means that the 177bhp petrol engine delivers diesel rivalling fuel economy, combined with low CO2 emissions and exceptionally flexible performance.
You might well ask why other (probably better resourced carmakers) have not gone there beforehand, but Mazda is a stoical player and, when markedly larger engineering departments within major car companies stumbled in their developments, it refused to give in. It is a matter of pride, after all, and Mazda has worked tirelessly over the past couple of decades to refine the technology to match its enviable reputation for total dependability. With CO2 emissions as low as 105g/km and WLTP combined fuel consumption posted at 47.9mpg, the Skyactiv-X 2.0-litre engine is the ideal response for both private and company car customers and you can be sure that the Mercs and Fords of this world will follow suit soon…patent infringements notwithstanding.
Interestingly, Mazda is not ditching diesel and is continuing the development of next-generation clean diesel engines for several markets. They may even return to the UK, when our government wakes up to reality. However, the abilities of Skyactiv-X and the diminishing consumer demand for diesel engines mean that, in the UK at least, the Mazda CX-30 will be sold exclusively in petrol form. The new engine is supplemented by the 2.0-litre 119bhp Skyactiv-G (also petrol) alternative.
The line-up of 26 model variants, which can be ordered now, starts with SE-L trim, progressing to SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech, with a choice of fully automatic, or 6-speed manual gearboxes. While the standard alloy wheel size is 16.0-inches diameter, all versions from Sport Lux upwards obtain 18.0-inch upgrades which, even riding on low-profile tyres, fill the wheel-arches better. The slim head and jewel-like tail-light units are all LED type and factor-in a bit of exterior bling on a car that relies on natural light deflection for its sense of beauty.
Crack open the driver’s door and the reassuring whiff of hide upholstery on GT Sport/GT Sport Tech versions emanates from a most elegant but thoroughly conventional cabin. High-quality dark grey cloth, with dark blue accents, is standard in a most tactile environment. However, CX-30 features a generous standard equipment tally across the entire model range, each version featuring a colour, windscreen projected, head-up display, radar cruise control, climate control and the customary raft of driver safety and connectivity options. The wing-like instrument pod is totally analogue, apart from its digital information display, and is none the worse for the quality and clarity of its graphics. The central touchscreen has been updated and provides a platform for multi-media, including sat-nav and customisable features.
Cabin space is also generous, with copious amounts of head, hip and legroom in the front seats and abundant space in the rear, supported by a 430-litre boot that can be extended easily to almost treble the CX-30’s carrying capacity. Although this is just a preview report for the new model, the UK test drive session follows in just a few weeks’ time. This new model represents another confident step in Mazda’s high value-for-money remit. Seldom the first brand to be contemplated in the class, with plenty of street presence, Mazda is ensuring that the CX-30 will certainly not be the last, especially for the business sector.