Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Mazda CX-30 2021 review: G20 Evolve

There are many CX-30 variants available, but Mazda has loaded each with plenty of kit.

Daily driver score

4.2/5

Urban score

4.3/5

Sorry to break it to you, but Australia has fallen out of love with the humble hatchback. Instead, we’re all going gaga for SUVs, and nowhere is this more hotly contested than the small SUV space.

In a sign of the times, Mazda has come out with the box-fresh CX-30, a new model designed to appeal to today’s trends.

Essentially a jacked-up Mazda3, the CX-30 aims to blend upmarket interior, handsome styling and handling prowess in a so-hot-right-now small SUV body.

But does the CX-30 justify its existence with the CX-3 and CX-5 already in Mazda’s stable?

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Mazda CX-30 line-up kicks off at $28,990, before on-road costs for the base G20 Pure with a manual gearbox, but our G20 Evolve wears a retail price of $31,490.

This makes it the third cheapest CX-30 in the range, behind the aforementioned entry-level variant and its automatic counterpart that is available for $29,990.

For the asking price, a long list of standard equipment is on offer, including automatic LED headlights, LED tail-lights, rain-sensing wipers, push-button start, a 7.0-inch drive display, electronically adjustable side mirrors and a fabric-clad interior.

Multimedia duties are handled by an 8.8-inch screen, which doesn’t feature any touch inputs but is instead controlled by a rotary control knob nestled between the driver and front passenger.

Multimedia duties are handled by an 8.8-inch screen. Multimedia duties are handled by an 8.8-inch screen.

The system includes functionality for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as in-built satellite navigation, Bluetooth pairing and digital radio.

If fact, all aforementioned items are actually standard across the line-up, with the slightly pricier Evolve adding (when compared with the base car) 18-inch wheels (up from 16 inches on the Pure), dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, sunglasses holder and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Stepping up into higher grades will net buyers equipment like heated seats, leather interior, sunroof and keyless entry, but the Evolve seems to sit in the Goldilocks zone for specification – or in other words, the added spec would be nice, but isn’t essential.

Is there anything interest about its design?

Based on the same platform as the Mazda3, its little wonder the CX-30 looks like a high-riding hatchback, mainly because it essentially is.

From the front, the CX-30 wears Mazda’s large front grille confidently, flanked by slim headlights and a chrome surround.

From the front, the CX-30 wears Mazda’s large front grille confidently. From the front, the CX-30 wears Mazda’s large front grille confidently.

The bumper, though, is a dead giveaway for its SUV status, with a large black plastic chin designed to resist the scuffs and dents of steep driveways and large speed humps.

In profile, the black plastic is especially evident, featured prominently on the wheelarches and side skirts.

Mazda’s new design language is also in full effect in the CX-30’s side view, which eschews the heavy creases and folds on the sheet metal for a subtler approach that catches and reflects light across the body.

From behind, the CX-30 wears svelte wraparound tail-lights, a subtle roof spoiler and twin exhaust pipes, but the black plastic bumper also features prominently.

From behind, the CX-30 wears svelte wraparound tail-lights. From behind, the CX-30 wears svelte wraparound tail-lights.

Overall, the CX-30 is a handsome looking car, even if the swathes of black plastic seem to make up 20 per cent of the exterior.

Our test car was also finished in a 'Sonic Silver' colour, which to my eye looks a bit dull on something as confident and stylish as the CX-30.

If it was up to me, I'd go for Mazda’s signature ‘Soul Red’, or even the ‘Titanium Flash Mica’ or ‘Deep Crystal Blue Mica’ finishes.

Our test car was finished in a 'Sonic Silver' colour. Our test car was finished in a 'Sonic Silver' colour.

Stepping inside the CX-30, Mazda’s high-quality design and fit-and-finish can be found everywhere.

The philosophy of driver centricity (or ‘Jinba Ittai’ as Mazda calls it) is evident from the moment you sit in the driver’s seat, with all controls perfectly positioned.

Instrumentation is crisp and clear, and can be adjusted to show desired information, while the high-set multimedia screen means satellite navigation or radio data is right within your field of view when looking out across the bonnet.

There are blue leather touches throughout the cabin, which is standard on the CX-30. There are blue leather touches throughout the cabin, which is standard on the CX-30.

I especially like the blue leather touches throughout the cabin, which is standard on the CX-30, while higher grades will score a full leather interior, replete with brown accents.

The steering wheel is also a particular highlight, looking like it could have been lifted straight from a premium German model, while it also features ergonomic controls, and an appropriate thickness and feel in hand.

How practical is the space inside?

Measuring 4395mm long, 1795mm wide, 1540mm tall and with a 2655mm wheelbase, the CX-30 sits comfortably between the CX-3 and CX-5 in size.

The CX-30 measures 4395mm long, 1795mm wide, 1540mm tall and has a 2655mm wheelbase. The CX-30 measures 4395mm long, 1795mm wide, 1540mm tall and has a 2655mm wheelbase.

The light and airy cabin affords plenty of room for passengers in the front row, while the manually adjustable seats in the Evolve grade offer enough flexibility for drivers of all shapes and sizes.

Electronic seat adjustment is available to front occupants in the Touring grade and up, but honestly, it’s not missed in the Evolve, especially given the attractive price point.

The light and airy cabin affords plenty of room for passengers in the front row. The light and airy cabin affords plenty of room for passengers in the front row.

Storage options in the front include an average size door bin, large central storage cubby, two cupholders and a little tray for your smartphone or wallet.

As for the second row, I was worried my 183cm (6'0") frame wouldn’t fit given I cannot sit straight in the back of a Mazda3 hatchback, but was pleasantly surprised with the CX-30’s space.

Storage options in the front include an average size door bin. Storage options in the front include an average size door bin.

Don’t get me wrong, headroom is still a little tight, and the thick C-pillars and high shoulder line make it feel even more claustrophobic, but children or pets won’t have any problems spending extended periods of time back there.

Headroom is a little tight in the second row. Headroom is a little tight in the second row.

Of course, the two outboard seats are the most comfortable, as the middle seat is compromised by the intrusive 'transmission tunnel' and narrower back rest.

Second-row amenities include door bins that will accommodate a large water bottle, backseat map pockets, air vents and a fold-down armrest with two cupholders.

Second-row amenities include a fold-down armrest with two cupholders. Second-row amenities include a fold-down armrest with two cupholders.

Opening the boot reveals a 317-litre cavity, which can be extended to 430L with the 60/40 rear seats folded flat.

The boot features a high load lip, meaning it can be a bit tricky unloading larger, cumbersome items (like a stroller) from the rear.

  • Opening the boot reveals a 317-litre cavity. Opening the boot reveals a 317-litre cavity.
  • The boot capacity can be extended to 430L with the 60/40 rear seats folded flat. The boot capacity can be extended to 430L with the 60/40 rear seats folded flat.
  • The boot capacity can be extended to 430L with the 60/40 rear seats folded flat. The boot capacity can be extended to 430L with the 60/40 rear seats folded flat.

There are also no bag hooks back for groceries, but there are a few tie-down points.

Overall, though, the CX-30 is a much more practical alternative to the new-generation Mazda3 hatchback, which has actually taken a step back in space, but buyers should be aware that an SUV body style doesn’t always equal capacious room.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

Powering the Mazda CX-30 G20 Evolve is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which outputs 114kW/200Nm.

Peak power is available at 6000rpm, while maximum torque comes in at 4000rpm.

Paired to the engine is a six-speed automatic transmission, which exclusively sends drives the front axle.

As a result, the CX-30 will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 10.2 seconds.

Powering the Mazda CX-30 G20 Evolve is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Powering the Mazda CX-30 G20 Evolve is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

While none of this sounds all too exciting, the CX-30 Evolve actually outclasses the likes of the Toyota C-HR, Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos at similar price points.

Despite the higher outputs though, the engine is let down a little at slower speeds and around town, as maximum torque is available quite high in the rev band.

This means the CX-30 feels most rewarding on a long stretch of road, where you can get up to speed and stay there, but when ducking to the supermarket or navigating inner suburbia, the engine is just fine.

How much fuel does it consume?

Official (combined cycle) fuel consumption figure for the CX-30 G20 Evolve is 6.5 litres per 100km, while we managed 7.1L/100km in our week testing the car.

Much of our experience in the CX-30 was in inner-city and suburban streets, which actually bettered the claimed 8.0L/100km figure for urban use.

The CX-30 G20 is also rated to take 91RON fuel, keeping costs down at the bowser.

For a small SUV with this much practicality, we’d rate the CX-30’s fuel usage as excellent.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Mazda CX-30 was awarded a maximum five-star safety rating from ANCAP in February 2020.

The CX-30 boasts the highest adult occupant protection score of any car listed on the ANCAP website with a 99 per cent result, beating out the Tesla Model X, Mazda3, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Volvo XC60, that have all hit the 98 per cent mark.

The child occupant protection test yielded a 98 per cent result for the CX-30, while the vulnerable road user and safety assist assessments scored 80 and 76 per cent, respectively.

Standard safety across the CX-30 range includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, driver attention alert, forward collision warning, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, tyre pressure monitoring and hill-start assist, as well as seven airbags.

According to ANCAP, the AEB system is operational from 10-80km/h, and will function in both day- and night-time conditions.

Buyers can also option a surround-view monitor, front parking sensors, front cross-traffic alert and a more advanced drive monitoring system in the $1500 'Vision Technology Pack.'

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Like all new Mazda vehicles, the CX-30 comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, as well as five years of roadside assist.

Service intervals are every 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

Like all new Mazda vehicles, the CX-30 comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Like all new Mazda vehicles, the CX-30 comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Mazda falls a little behind in this regard, as competitors servicing intervals are generally longer at 15,000 or 20,000km, so bare this in mind if you plan to pile on the mileage in the CX-30.

The first five scheduled services will cost $1991 according to Mazda’s online service calculator, with the cheapest services at year one and five at $315 each, and the most expensive at year four ($531).

What’s it like to drive around town?

Chances are the majority of CX-30s will live out their lives on the blacktop of inner cities and suburban sprawls, not on open roads and unsealed pathways.

Luckily then, this is where the CX-30 Evolve shines brightest.

The ride is comfortable and compliant, traits that are hugely desirable in a car of this class, with the CX-30 able to easily keep occupants protected from the little bumps and road imperfections you would find on Melbourne roads.

Even the Evolve’s standard 18-inch wheels don’t upset the silky ride, likely due to the thick 55 profile tyres.

The taut chassis and direct steering also make it pretty fun to dart from street to street, but (as mentioned above) the car is let down a little by an engine that needs to be wrung out to get the best out of it – sometimes a tricky thing to accomplish around town.

If you wanted more driving thrills or regularly like to take long road trips, the brawnier 139kW/252Nm 2.5-litre engine of the G25 will be a much better choice.

The upside of the smaller engine though, is remarkable fuel economy, especially for a car this size that offers this level of practicality. We’ve certainly seen higher consumption figures on smaller and less capacious cars.

Finally, the brake pedal offers fantastic feedback when the need to shed speed arises, feeling progressive and bitey without any of the sponginess of some other cars in the same class.

Given our current love affair with SUVs, the Mazda CX-30 could very well overtake the Mazda3 and become the brand’s second-best-selling model in the near future. And we reckon it would deserve that spot.

The CX-30 is a well-equipped and attractive package for the everyday buyer. Sure, the engine is a bit of a letdown in this Evolve grade, but the taught chassis and driver-focused ergonomics elevate it above the competition.

Around town? This CX-30 Evolve will happily ferry you from brunch to the boardroom, and look super-stylish doing it.

$31,490

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4.2/5

Urban score

4.3/5