The Mazda CX-30 could prove to be Mazda’s greatest hit in the highly-competitive crossover market, if not for one small problem here in Singapore
Photos: Mazda, David Smith
What is the Mazda CX-30? On paper, as a small SUV, it’s what Mazda will field against the Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai.
If you’re wondering why it isn’t called the CX-4, well that’s because there already is a CX-4 produced and sold by Mazda.
That model is only available in China however, and is more of a sleek coupe-wagon-crossover thingy in the vein of the BMW X4.
The CX-30 is a proper, practical crossover that Mazda says is aimed at young couples and families looking for a car that’s ‘just nice’, offering plenty of space in a compact package.
There’s only one fly in the pudding: The CX-30 will already begin at a disadvantage against its rivals, thanks to its 2.0-litre powerplant instantly shafting it straight into COE Cat B.
Consider the fact that the Nissan Qashqai has a 2.0-litre variant – but it costs S$159,000 with COE, compared to S$129,300 with COE for the more expensive 1.2-litre variant.
Mazda has not indicated any plans to introduce a smaller engine for the CX-30, but judging by the fact that the CX-3 doesn’t have one either, the chances of that happening seems fairly minute.
It’s such a shame, because by all accounts, the CX-30 is a wonderfully engineered product which demonstrates that practical SUV motoring need not be a dull affair.
The car we drove on the international test drive in Frankfurt was a European-spec car, with a 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol producing 120hp and 213Nm of torque.
The official word from Mazda is that the CX-30 is unlikely to receive the smaller 1.5-litre powerplant (seen with a mild hybrid system in the new Mazda 3).
Chances are Asian markets will get a more powerful unit, most likely using the new Skyactiv-X 2.0 engine from the Mazda 3, which has around 180hp.
On the road, the engine proved adequate enough for regular driving around town, although it does seem to run out of puff at the top end when blasting down the autobahn. But unless you’re travelling at 180km/h on a regular basis, it’s unlikely to be much of a problem.
Where you’ll find the most enjoyment however, is in the corners.
The CX-30 boasts a remarkably deft touch through the bends, taking on the winding German country roads with great poise and agility.
There’s very little body roll to speak of, which is quite a feat for an SUV, and the CX-30 does offer genuine car-like handling ability.
An extremely well-sorted car at that, with decent steering feel, plenty of grip, and a nimbleness that brings to mind Mazda’s other similar-sized cars, such as the 2 and 3. The suspension also feels well set-up, offering a nicely pliant ride quality while still able to cope with the handling demands.
Mazda touts its human-centric design philosophy for the CX-30, with an objective of making its occupants feel as comfortable as possible.
The interior certainly lives up to that, with a driver-focused setup as indicated by the 8.8-inch infotainment display screen that is angled slightly towards the driver.
Premium quality materials give it an upmarket ambience, and dashboard clutter is kept to a minimum with the presence of just a handful of buttons and dials operating the climate control system.
There’s a decent amount of room for rear passengers, at least for those of an Asian stature anyway, thanks to the 2,655mm long wheelbase, although taller people may find it a bit of a squeeze.
The boot is also quite a fair bit bigger than the CX-3, offering 430 litres of cargo capacity, although it still doesn’t quite match up to some of its class rivals.
In many respects, the CX-30 absolutely has the potential to dominate the compact crossover market, given its many talents of great driving dynamics, excellent interior packaging, and high quality build.
However great it may be though, its chances of success here in Singapore could end up being hampered, through no fault of its own, by some backwards, old-fashioned thinking.
Mazda CX-30 Skyactiv-G 2.0
|Engine||1,998cc, inline 4|
|Power||120hp at 6000rpm|
|Torque||213Nm at 3000rpm|
|Fuel Efficiency||6.6L/100km (estimated)|
|VES Band / CO2||TBC|
Verdict: Extremely well-sorted and genuinely fun, but a 2.0-litre engine might hamper its chances here