5 August 2020

Mazda CX-30 2020 Car Review

Mazda have recently introduced another all-new compact SUV to their fleet, designed to sit between the slightly smaller CX-3 and the larger CX-5.

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Mazda CX-30 2020
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Mazda CX-30 2020
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Mazda CX-30 2020
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Mazda CX-30 2020
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Mazda CX-30 2020
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Mazda CX-30 2020
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Mazda CX-30 2020

The name? Well, there’s already a Mazda CX-4 available on the Chinese market, so in order to stick with Mazda’s alpha numerical naming system the new car is called the Mazda CX-30.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, we attended the virtual car launch for the CX-30, so we were really excited to finally get behind the wheel of Mazda’s new SUV.


Over the last few years, Mazda have produced some of the finest looking cars on our roads, the CX-3 and CX-5 included. One of their prettier models, however, is the Mazda3 on which the CX-30 is based.

Perhaps slightly less elegant than the Mazda3, which was shortlisted for the AA Driven NZ Car of the Year Award 2019, the CX-30 maintains the striking good looks that Mazda are renowned for, but is hindered by large cladding over the wheel arches which flows around to the front and rear bumpers. Aside from this, the two cars are more identical than dissimilar, sharing the same dual-exhausts and large front grill.

One understated feature we loved was the ‘pulsing’ LED indicator bulbs that looks almost like a beating heart, encapsulating Mazda’s ‘car and driver as one’ philosophy.

Size-wise, the CX-30 has over two inches more ground clearance than the Mazda3, and is five inches taller. The Mazda3 is actually longer and has a larger wheelbase than its taller sibling, which results in less room for occupants of the CX-30, although you are blessed with slightly more headroom. The boot can carry 317 litres of load, compared to the 358 litres in the Mazda3.

On the inside, the aesthetic differences between the two cars are even less obvious. Mazda’s build quality is the best in its class, and it’s an exceptionally pleasant place to sit. Almost everything you touch is leather, and all of the buttons and knobs (of which there are very few) feel premium and satisfying to use.

Rear visibility is somewhat limited, although this is made less of an issue with Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and reverse cameras included as standard.

Interior features

Mazda refuse to use touchscreen technology for their infotainment system, citing that it’s much safer to use a rotary controller and the odd button to navigate the menus. This might seem like a counterintuitive way of doing things when compared to the systems used by most other manufacturers, but it feels natural and easy-to-use. If you’ve used one of the older BMW iDrive systems you’ll pick it up without issues.

We tested the CX-30 in all three of its trim levels, starting with the cheapest – the GSX (FWD), all the way to the more expensive GTX and Limited variants (both AWD). All are very well appointed for the price. The Limited starts from $50,990 (over $9,000 more than the GTX) but boasts extras like leather seats, an electric seat for the driver, and a 12-speaker Bose stereo system.

Two USB ports are fitted in all cars, which Apple CarPlay and Android Auto utilises to help you use your smartphone apps through the vehicle’s infotainment system.


On the road, the Mazda CX-30 is incredibly easy to drive, and it feels solid across different types of roads surfaces. The entry-level GSX has a 2.0 litre in-line 4 cylinder 16-valve DOHC S-VT petrol (Skyactiv-G) with i-stop, whereas both the GTX and Limited models have the same engine upgraded to a 2.5L with cylinder deactivation. The difference isn’t as big as you might think.

Mazda have spent a lot of time trying to reduce the noise inside the cabin, and it really shows. Road trips were peaceful, and it certainly adds to the overall driving experience. In the corners, the CX-30 feels planted and not much different from the Mazda3, despite the height difference.

The two AWD variants are capable of 139kW at 6,000 rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and utilise the six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission, which is quite responsive (especially in Sport mode). The FWD GSX produces 114kW and 200Nm and uses the same transmission.

Safety-wise, all variants of the CX-30 are very well equipped, which resulted in ANCAP awarding the car a five-star rating at the back-end of last year. Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane-keep Assist System (LAS) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Intelligent Speed Assistance (SAS) are fitted across the range.

The AWD 2.5L models have a combined economy rating of 6.8L/100km, with Mazda claiming a slightly more economical 6.4L/100km for the FWD GSX. Considering the engine sizes, both fuel ratings are very competitive within the SUV sector.

Value for money

Starting from $41,490 (+ORC), perhaps the CX-30’s major problem is that it’s presented alongside three similar Mazda models that are all available for less money – the cheapest being the slightly smaller CX-3 which starts from $31,995 (+ORC). Yes, the CX30 is good to drive, but so are the other three Mazda models. And yes, it’s full of mod cons and safety features but, again, so are the others. You can also get a much more spacious SUV by purchasing a CX-5 (from $40,995 +ORC).

With all this being said, the overall package you get with the CX-30 is great, as we’ve come to expect from Mazda over the years. The interior matches that of more premium brands like Lexus.

Cheaper options can be found in the Skoda Kamiq and Kia Seltos, although neither of these are finished to the standard found in the Mazda CX-30.


We really do love the Mazda CX-30, but it’s stylish and popular siblings are bound to leave potential buyers spoiled for choice.

In layman’s terms, the CX-30 is a hatch on stilts, and if you want more of an SUV you’re probably more likely to opt for the Mazda CX-5. So who’s going to buy the CX-30?

Like with many similar SUV crossovers, the car in which the CX-30 is based, in this case the Mazda3, would be our pick – mainly because it’s slightly more affordable, better looking, and is very similar in terms of size and practicality. If the added ride height that the CX-30 brings is a deal breaker for you though, then it would certainly be a sound choice for your next car.

At a glance


Mazda CX-30 GSX, GTX & Limited 


GSX - 2.0L in-line 4 cyclinder 16-valve DOHC S-VT (Skyactiv-G) with i-stop, GTX/Limited2.5L in-line 4 cyclinder 16-valve DOHC S-VT (Skyactiv-G) with i-stop and cylinder deactivation


From $41,490

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

GSX - 114kW @ 6,000rpm, 200Nm @ 4,000rpm, GTX/Limited139kW @ 6,000rpm, 252Nm @ 4,000rpm


Six-speed automatic Skyactiv-Drive

Fuel economy

GSX - 6.5L/100km, GTX/Limited - 6.8L/100km

Towing capacity

1,200kg (Braked), 600kg (Unbraked)


GSX - FWD (2WD), GTX/Limited - AWD

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

GSX/GTX - 430L, Limited - 422L

Safety systems

  • Smart Brake Support (SBS)
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS)
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop and Go function
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW)
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a new car:

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