Mazda CX-30 Review
The Mazda CX-30 is a stylish crossover SUV that’s good to drive, comfortable and well-equipped
Strengths & weaknesses
The Mazda CX-30 is a small SUV that sits halfway between the Mazda 3 hatchback and a full-size SUV like the brand’s CX-5. It’s styled to look like an off-roader, but it mainly uses parts from the Mazda 3 hatchback - things like the engines and interior are shared.
That means there is a choice of two petrol engines, a normal 2.0-litre 'Skyactiv-G' motor with 122hp and a more powerful 'Skyactiv-X' petrol which is also a 2.0-litre unit, but it has 186hp and uses clever technology to reduce fuel consumption.
The latter motor uses tech related to diesel engines to make it more efficient, but keeps the quietness and smoothness of a petrol engine. The CX-30 is available with manual and automatic gearboxes, and either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
The CX-30 has an upmarket interior with plenty of standard kit, and it’s great to drive, comfortable and quiet. Next to rivals such as the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008, it’s not quite as practical, and the engines can feel a little lacking in punch, but it’s still an excellent left-field choice.
Trim levels go from SE-L to GT Sport Tech, and you can read on to find out more about all the different versions of the Mazda CX-30 to help you discover if it’s right for you.
Should I get a Mazda CX-30?
✔ Great to drive and comfortable
✔ Excellent interior
✔ Very smart looks
✘ Not as practical as some rivals
✘ Engines not as punchy as turbo ones in rivals
✘ Limited engine range
The Mazda CX-30 is a very stylish, upmarket, and comfortable family car, so it’s a great buy, especially as a used car. It’s not perfect, as rivals such as the Skoda Karoq have quite a bit more space inside and a more appealing engine range, but the CX-30 is fantastic to drive and has one of the best interiors available in this type of car.
The petrol engines don’t look amazing on paper, and they do require more work than the motors in rival cars to pick up speed, but unlike many cars, they tend to be able to match their on-paper efficiency rather easily.
This means that the CX-30 looks like it might be less economical than rivals, but in reality, it’s no worse than other SUVs of a similar size. With a manual gearbox and two-wheel-drive, both engines in the CX-30 are quiet, smooth, fun to use, and well-priced.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best Mazda CX-30 for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-G
There’s only one body style for the Mazda CX-30 but you may see the two terms ‘Skyactiv-G’ and ‘Skyactiv-X’ in the range. These refer to the engines; the former is the normal petrol engine. It’s a 2.0-litre motor with 122hp and is claimed to return around 48mpg fuel economy.
Some models (badged 'e-Skyactiv G') are mild hybrids, which means there’s a tiny electric motor that helps boost the efficiency of the petrol engine. It can’t drive the wheels itself - it’s just a fuel-saving measure that helps out the engine a little.
Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-X
The Skyactiv-X model uses a unique 2.0-litre petrol engine developed by Mazda. It runs a bit like a diesel engine at low engine speeds - you can actually hear it rattling slightly at idle like a diesel does. This means it’s more efficient - it returns about 50mpg, which is good for this type of car - but if you bring the engine speeds up, it behaves more like a petrol engine again.
This means it’s fun to use, has good performance, with a reasonably strong power output of 186hp and is quiet and smooth. It’s an excellent engine but it’s a bit more hard work than the turbocharged engines in rival models, as you need to work the engine harder to access the engine's power. This can be fun with the excellent manual gearbox for those who enjoy driving, but it’s not for everyone.
Like the Skyactiv-G engine above, there is a mild hybrid version of this engine known as 'e-Skyactiv X'.
|SE-L is the entry-level model and it comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an 8.8-inch media system with smartphone connectivity, air-conditioning and plenty of safety kit including blind-spot monitoring.
|SE-L Lux trim adds a reversing camera, parking sensors front and rear, heated seats in the front, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry.
|Sport Lux trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels and some different exterior trim, plus a power boot door, tinted windows, LED rear lights, and adaptive LED headlights.
|This version has leather seats, electrically-adjustable seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display and a Bose stereo with extra speakers.
|GT Sport Tech
|This top-spec model comes with a 360-degree parking camera and extra safety features including cross-traffic assist, rear braking support, and driver monitoring.
There are only two engines in the Mazda CX-30, and both are 2.0-litre petrol motors. The normal petrol motor is better value for money, as it’s cheaper to buy, but with only 122hp and no turbocharger, it does feel a little underpowered for this size and weight of car. It will be fine for those who don't want something particularly quick or mainly drive at low speeds, though, so it’s a good option for some buyers.
We prefer the Skyactiv-X model, though. It’s more efficient while also being more powerful than the other petrol engine - it has 186hp, so around 50% more power than the Skyactiv-G alternative. It’s just as smooth and quiet, so the only drawback to this motor is the higher purchase price.
There are only two engines in the CX-30 range, and the main factor in choosing between them is budget, so you don’t have a wide range of models to pick from here. Nevertheless, we’ve picked out some options for a variety of buying situations below to help you decide which model is best for you.
|Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-G SE-L: The entry-level model is fantastic value, as even though it looks basic on its 16-inch alloys, it’s actually packed with tech and is great to drive, affordable to buy, and comfortable as well.
|Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-X SE-L Lux: The SkyActiv-X engine makes a lot of sense for families because the extra power will be useful when the car is loaded up with kids and bulky luggage, plus it’ll be more efficient. SE-L Lux adds a useful reversing camera, too.
|Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-X GT Sport: The fastest model is the two-wheel-drive manual version with the 186hp petrol engine. It goes from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, so it’s punchy enough, though no version of the CX-30 is particularly fast.
|Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-X AWD Auto GT Sport Tech: The most expensive version is also the least appealing. It’s not worth the money for the small amount of extra kit, plus the automatic gearbox isn’t as good as the manual and four-wheel-drive adds weight and reduces fuel economy.
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There are lots of rivals for the Mazda CX-30 because it’s a mid-sized family SUV. This is one of the most popular kinds of cars at the moment, so all kinds of car makers are producing models that fit the description. The most direct rivals are the Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan, although all of these are more practical than the Mazda and not quite as upmarket.
There are also other crossover models such as the Kia XCeed and Citroen C4 that are halfway between hatchbacks and SUVs. These are similar to the CX-30 in concept but again, the Mazda is a more luxurious car than these models.
Mazda CX-30 practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Mazda CX-30 is 4.4m long, 1.5m tall and 1.8m wide (with the mirrors folded), which is about the same size as a Nissan Qashqai and average for this type of car.
The CX-30 is spacious enough for families, as kids won’t have any trouble fitting in the rear seats, but it’s not ideal for carrying four adults as headroom is a little tight in the rear seats. Access is also a pain, although once you’re inside there’s enough space for most people to sit up straight.
|Weight 1,452kg - 1,629kg
If you choose a high specification version of the Mazda CX-30 with a Bose stereo fitted, the amount of boot space you get goes down slightly. Most models have 430 litres of space with the rear seats up, but Bose versions have 422 litres - it’s not a big difference, but is worth knowing about especially when picking a used example.
With the seats folded down, the maximum available space rises to 1,406 litres. This is less than many of the car’s rivals, such as Skoda Karoq, which has much more luggage space as well as being roomier for passengers.
|Seats up 422-430 litres
|Seats down 1,398-1,406 litres
The Mazda CX-30 didn’t appear in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Mazda’s other SUV, the CX-5, came in a very impressive 3rd place overall. This means we would expect the car to be very reliable overall.
Since Mazda as a brand came in fourth place in the manufacturer section of the poll, you would expect the ownership experience in general to be very good with the CX-30.
The Mazda CX-30 comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, which is an industry standard level of cover. Most cars you’ll also consider will come with the same amount of warranty cover, but there are some cars that come with more.
You can extend the warranty by paying extra to Mazda, but Kia, Hyundai and Toyota all offer similar-sized cars with much longer warranty cover at no extra cost. Hyundai offers five years' of warranty, with Kia extending that to seven years and Toyota up to 10 years - provided you get the car serviced with Toyota every year.
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £617
The Mazda CX-30 is not the best option if you are looking for the most practical SUV you can get for your money. However, it’s among the best cars of this type in several other areas. When it comes to comfort, driving enjoyment, and interior quality, there’s not much else that can match it, and it’s also good value in lower trim levels, quiet inside, well equipped and should be reliable.
We’d have no qualms about buying a used CX-30 in any trim level, so you’re free to focus on how well any potential purchase has been looked after. The engine range is limited, but aside from the expensive all-wheel-drive, automatic versions, there isn’t a bad choice in the entire range, so you can’t go far wrong.
Best Mazda CX-30 deals
The best value CX-30 model is the entry-level trim, but there are more Sport Lux models available used, as new buyers often want to upgrade to a higher trim level and that’s reflected in the used market. That’s good, because this version is really well equipped and has everything you could need.
Go for a model with the Skyactiv-X engine if you can afford the extra purchase price. The engine is more powerful and also more efficient than the Skyactiv-G alternative, thanks to clever technology developed by Mazda. It’s a quiet and smooth engine. The newer e-Skyactiv X should be more efficient if you can stretch to more recent cars.
A high-specification GT Sport model might be a further option if you want something a bit more stylish. It comes with larger alloy wheels and some different trim, which adds to the car visually, although it’s hard to argue that it’s good value next to the lower trim levels.