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Expert Review

Mazda CX-30 SUV (2019 - ) review

The Mazda CX-30 is a sleek compact SUV that’s a rival for cars such as the BMW X2 and Toyota C-HR. Read our expert review to find out why it’s well worth a look.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The CX-30 has a lot going for it, offering smart looks and a very high level of safety equipment and standard kit for the money. It’s good to drive, too, and provides a decent practicality. Sitting somewhere between a conventional hatchback and an SUV in character, it’s well worth considering as an alternative to either.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickReally classy cabin
  • tickVery well equipped
  • tickComfortable ride

At a glance:

Mazda CX-30

Running costs for a Mazda CX-30

You can argue a case for all kinds of cars being rivals for the CX-30, taking in slightly smaller alternatives such as the Ford Puma, Nissan Juke and Volkswagen T-Roc and those of a similar shape and size such as the BMW X2, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Toyota C-HR. Prices for the CX-30 sit somewhere between the two groups, so it’s decent value for money. Residual values are expected to be strong, too, to the benefit of both long-term costs and finance and leasing deals. The petrol-only engine line-up means that the CX-30 can’t offer the very low emissions of rivals available with hybrid powertrains, but Mazda’s latest petrol engines use some advanced technology to make them impressively efficient nonetheless. Each one features mild hybrid technology that stores the energy created by braking to and then uses it to reduce the load on the electrical system and petrol engine, thereby saving fuel. The range-topping ‘Skyactiv-X’ engine also has a new type of ignition system that helps it to match the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of the cleanest diesel alternatives, according to official figures.
Expert rating: 3/5
Mazda CX-30

Reliability of a Mazda CX-30

Mazda has a so-so reputation for reliability. As the CX-30 is new we don’t have any historic reliability data, but as a brand Mazda sits just below the industry average score in JD Power’s 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks the major manufacturers. The Warranty Direct Reliability Index makes much better reading for the brand, because it’s rated fifth out of 40 manufacturers. Should anything go wrong with your CX-30, Mazda offers a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is pretty standard for the industry but not as good as the five-year warranty that Toyota offers on the C-HR.
Expert rating: 3/5
Mazda CX-30

Safety for a Mazda CX-30

The CX-30 scored a maximum five stars when tested by Euro NCAP in 2019, and it comes packed with the latest safety features as standard. On top of the usual airbags (including one for the driver’s knees) and electronic driver aids, even the cheapest CX-30 has an automatic emergency braking system, a blind-spot monitoring function and rear cross-traffic alert, which will let you know if a vehicle is approaching when you’re reversing out of a parking space. There’s also traffic sign recognition, radar-based cruise control and a driver alertness function that warns you if it detects you’re getting sleepy at the wheel. Higher-spec models come with a front cross-traffic alert system and Cruising & Traffic Support, which automatically keeps the car a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and centred in its lane, in slower traffic. While most rivals are available with these kind of safety features, they are cost options for some of them.
Expert rating: 5/5
Mazda CX-30

How comfortable is the Mazda CX-30

The CX-30’s sleek exterior is matched by an interior that oozes style and sophistication. It’s almost identical to that of the closely related Mazda 3 hatchback, with the same simple, sporty design and high-quality materials. This is a cabin that you’ll be happy to jump into, time and again. The seating position is quite low for an SUV – you could easily think you were in a hatchback – but there’s a good amount of adjustment on both seat and steering column to get your preferred position. The infotainment screen on top of the dashboard looks great, although it’s small compared with those of some rivals. It’s operated via a dial between the front seats, rather than a touchscreen, and we’ve found it quick and easy to use. Practicality is surprisingly good, given that the CX-30 is lower and more compact than more conventional SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai. Headroom and legroom are fine and the boot, at 430 litres (or 422 if you opt for the Bose stereo), is a good size and well shaped. There are plenty of storage spaces around the car, too, including large door pockets, a space under the centre arm rest and cupholders ahead of the gearstick. The CX-30 has a comfortable ride that smooths out most road imperfections, and it’s impressively quiet at motorway speeds. While it’s not as sporty as some Mazdas the CX-30 is a good car to drive, with responsive steering and excellent composure, both at speed and through corners.
Expert rating: 4/5
Mazda CX-30

Features of the Mazda CX-30

Mazda likes to put plenty of equipment in its cars and keep optional extras to a minimum, and the CX-30 is no exception. Go for the basic model and standard features are anything but, including air-conditioning, LED headlights, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, electric folding door mirrors and an infotainment system with sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. You also get a head-up display and adaptive cruise control, making this an unusually high spec for an entry-level car. Move up to the mid-spec trim levels and you gain extras such as keyless entry, heated front seats, front parking sensors and dual-zone air-conditioning. The high-spec trims are very plush, with features such as leather upholstery and an upgraded 12-speaker Bose sound system as standard.
Expert rating: 5/5
Mazda CX-30

Power for a Mazda CX-30

Petrol power is the order of the day for the CX-30, with no diesel or hybrid versions offered. Instead there’s a choice of two non-turbo 2.0-litre petrol options. The cheaper of the two is called Skyactiv-G. It has 122 horsepower, which isn’t an awful lot to play with. Outright performance is okay, but this engine needs to be worked quite hard to get the most out of it. The other option is a new engine called Skyactiv-X, which has 180 horsepower and a lot of unconventional engineering inside it. Mazda claims it offers the performance and fuel economy of a diesel at the price of a petrol, but that’s overstating it. It does give more oomph at low revs than the Skyactiv-G, and stronger performance outright, but it’s not as gutsy as the smaller turbocharged engines used by many rivals. Both engines come either with an excellent six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic, which is also pretty good. Skyactiv-X models are available with four-wheel drive as an option.
Expert rating: 3/5

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