The strong-selling Mazda CX-30 for 2021 kicks off from a lower price point than before, thanks to an expanded model line-up that now includes a manual transmission option for the first time.
With stock arriving in dealers this month, the CX-30 is now expected to start from $28,990 before on-road costs, meaning that the base Pure grade with a six-speed manual gearbox would represent a $1000 saving over the six-speed automatic alternative with the same G20 2.0-litre four-cylinder front-wheel-drive configuration.
The manual gearbox will not be available on any other grade above Pure, leaving the rest of the range (G20 FWD in Evolve, Touring and Astina, G25 FWD in Touring and Astina, all-wheel-drive G25 Touring, Astina, and X20 Astina 2.0-litre supercharged compression-ignition engined models) as auto-only propositions.
As we revealed earlier this month, Mazda switched sourcing the CX-30 from Thailand to Japan beginning from July production in a move designed to shield the small SUV range from fluctuating currency issues.
For the same reasons, the older and smaller CX-3 had also changed its manufacturing base for Australia to Japan from Thailand late last year.
Along with a lower starting price, the G20 Pure manual brings slightly different fuel consumption figures; while its published 6.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle is the same as the G20 auto equivalent, it uses 0.2L/100km less petrol on the extra urban cycle but 0.3L/100km more in the city cycle. Kerb weight also falls by 24kg to 1418kg.
Mazda’s decision to include a manual gearbox model in the CX-30 makes it a rarity among small SUVs, since – out of over 20 models – only a handful follow suit.
These include the Mitsubishi ASX ES (from $23,990), Nissan Qashqai ST (from $28,290), Suzuki Vitara (from $22,990), Skoda Kamiq 85TSI (from $26,990) and Fiat 500X Pop (from $24,990).
In the past, and despite often representing less than five per cent of overall Mazda sales volumes, the Hiroshima-based company has stated that manual transmissions are important in adhering to the company’s driver-focused ‘Zoom-Zoom’ philosophy.