BY BRIAN BYRNE
DOES any mass-market carmaker make cars as beautiful as does Mazda? In my opinion, no. The Japanese company’s current design flair is top of the heap and, I would suspect, a source of some envy amongst its competitors.
I have to say, though, when they introduced the new CX-30 last autumn, I wondered why? It seemed very close in size to the CX-3 from just two years ago.
When I checked the actual dimensions, the newer crossover is the same width, just 5mm higher, though a good 120mm longer. It has more ground clearance than its little brother, and somewhat less than its bigger sibling, the CX-5.
Maybe they realised that, certainly for the European markets, they needed something that could in size match the big hitters in the genre, the Kia Niro, Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR and the new Peugeot 2008. Where these are, is the big market space. And so in Ireland they have dropped the CX-3 rather than have two so close together.
In style, well, it is truly beautiful to this writer’s eyes. A little more restrained than the sporty sense of the CX-3, a grown-up elegance perhaps. To run one’s gaze over the lines is a soothing experience.
Inside, when you compare it to the smaller Mazda, it also seems a more smooth creation. The dashboard style makes the car feel wider. The central infotainment screen is better balanced into the whole design. Again, that somewhat higher sense of elegance.
The instruments are as we get in current Mazdas, the traditional style dials in modern execution. Somehow the lack of hi-tech jazziness feels the right thing. The usual thoughtfulness in the knobs and switches, and not a trackpad in sight ...
I’ve said it feels bigger than I expected, maybe in part due to the extra few mils of head space. The seats are comfortable as expected — indeed, I’ve been trying to think of any model in any brand now that produces anything uncomfortable, and none comes to mind.
There’s decent space for those behind, and the boot capacity is a good 100 litres more than was in the CX-3. That will attract the buyer in the compact family scenario.
The review car was a petrol model, with Mazda’s SkyActiv X engine that incorporates some diesel characteristics into the engineering. I had similar in the Mazda 3 recently, and in this one it performed just as well as there. A slightly unusual timbre to the engine sound is pleasant.
It was one of those weeks when I did get the opportunity to extend the driving, with a couple of nights in the south of Ireland before the coronavirus closed off such travel pro tem.
There was mixed weather, a good mix of roads especially on the way back home when we decided to cross-country a bit rather than use the motorway.
The experience left me with a really good feeling about the CX-30.
Handing it back, I felt a little wistful watching it being driven away for the next press rotation.
What I liked: The soothing experience of the style.
Price: From €29,495.
The puzzle: For just €1,200 more you can have a larger CX-5.