A family car with style? We're already hooked...
Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader
Mazda is often overlooked by car buyers, but the brand offers zippy petrol engines, comfy rides, sporty performance and strong residuals. You normally end up getting a lot of car for your money. Everyone knows about the Mazda MX-5, but few will have heard of the new CX-30, a small SUV/pumped up hatchback which will be by far Mazda’s most popular model in the UK.
Mazda has improved the look of its cars considerably in the last few years, and they now look sleek and dynamic, and, importantly, European, instead of oddly Japanese. Inside, it’s all darks leathers (we had brown leather inserts on the dashboard and doors which looked very smart) and black soft-touch plastics, and digital displays that are backlit in blues and reds instead of the Nineties when every Japanese car seemed to have a weird orange glow inside it, and the scratchy plastics faded in the sun. Order yours in the fabulous deep sparkly red (Soul Red) that is Mazda’s signature colour these days.
Our car was the GT Sport trim level, and so came with a fantastic 12-speaker Bose surround sound system, a head-up display showing speed etc, privacy glass, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Mazda’s satnav, which is easy to operate but the graphics are starting to look a bit old now. You also get rear parking sensors, dual-zone air-con and front parking sensors above a certain trim level. Best of all, there’s adaptive cruise control as standard which is the business these days – set your speed and you can step off both accelerator and brake, which keeps you much fresher on long journeys.
Mazdas are incredibly comfy: the ride is never as harsh as German rivals, but neither are they spongey and bouncy. Inside, there is plenty of room for two adults up front and two in the rear, or there are four easily reachable IsoFix bars behind plastic caps if you have young ones. The boot will swallow most family needs – we fitted three suitcases and a collapsed buggy in it.
On the motorway, it’s very quiet, which is normally the hallmark of a car costing at least £10,000 more.
Mazda doesn’t offer a diesel engine for this car which is just as well because you wouldn’t want it when the petrols (called SkyActiv engines) are this good. Our car had a 2.0-litre engine with 180 horsepower and a smooth, quick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. It feels light and perky round country roads in a way that most small SUVs don’t: Mazda petrol engines like to be revved high so for most kicks keep the revs between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm. You’ll reach 62mph in 8.5 seconds which isn’t bad at all when you’ll also be getting about 45mpg – very decent indeed for a family car.
Our car, which was near the top of the trim tree, costs £28,875 (the model starts at about £22,000), but then we added nicer paint (£550), bringing it to £29,425. Personal finance contracts will vary depending on your initial contribution, your mileage and the length of your contract, but monthly prices seem very reasonable to us, compared with the competition, and how premium this car feels to drive. There’s a three-year/60,000-mile warranty on it, which is the industry average, but Mazda builds very reliable cars in general.