Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Mazda CX-30 2022 review: G20 Pure

An argument for not looking beyond the base model (Image: Tom White).

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Small SUVs are all the rage, and Mazda has no shortage of options for prospective buyers.

While other brands delineate quite clearly between their SUV models though, it seems like Mazda has a fair amount of overlap.

The CX-30 we’re looking at here is a size up from the CX-3 but sits alongside the similarly-sized new MX-30 and below the CX-5 mid-sizer.

Confused? Me too. Through a combination of great looks, appealing specs, and engaging driving dynamics, though, Mazda has found at least some success with every single one of its SUVs.

The question we’re setting out to answer with this review, though, is whether you should consider the Pure, the CX-30’s most basic variant. Does it offer enough to justify this car’s upmarket vibe? Read on to find out.

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

Price is a bit of a funny topic here, because when the CX-30 launched Mazda was talked about as though it was suddenly going ‘upmarket’. With its rivals seemingly forced into a string of price rises though, the gap between the CX-30 and key alternatives has significantly narrowed.

Wearing an MSRP of $30,390, this entry-level Pure automatic is now on-par with its rivals, which in this specific small SUV shape currently include the Toyota C-HR GXL ($30,915), Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style ($35,500), and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES ($30,990).

Mazda, perhaps owing to its lofty ambitions on other CX-30 grades, has packed the Pure with a particularly odd array of standard equipment. For a base model it has an impressive 8.8-inch multimedia screen, push-start ignition, and even a holographic head-up display, but doesn’t include traditionally basic items at this price like dual-zone climate control or even the convenience of keyless entry.

For a base model it has an impressive 8.8-inch multimedia screen (Image: Tom White). For a base model it has an impressive 8.8-inch multimedia screen (Image: Tom White).

Expected base-grade stuff like basic cloth seat trim with manually adjustable front seats is there alongside small 16-inch alloy wheels, but then again, there’s also lovely synthetic leather trim for the steering wheel, door cards, and centre console. The semi-digital dash suite from other CX-30 grades is even included.

It makes this car feel very nice for the price, but the strange set of omissions are clearly designed to encourage you into a higher grade.

The semi-digital dash suite from other CX-30 grades is included in the G20 Pure (Image: Tom White). The semi-digital dash suite from other CX-30 grades is included in the G20 Pure (Image: Tom White).

On the options front there is only the 'Vision Technology' pack ($1500) which includes some of the omitted safety items, like a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise control, driver attention alert, front cross-traffic alert, and front parking sensors. Two shades of grey and Mazda’s signature 'Soul Red' exterior paint colours also wear a $495 optional price tag.

A lot of what goes into buying a car though is emotion, and I can see why prospective owners would easily be swayed into the CX-30 at this price with its upmarket look and feel compared to, say, an entry-level version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

The CX-30 embodies Mazda’s current design ethos to a T. It owns the swoopy lines, silver embossed grille, and tight light clusters which define the brand.

  • The CX-30 embodies Mazda’s current design ethos to a T (Image: Tom White). The CX-30 embodies Mazda’s current design ethos to a T (Image: Tom White).
  • The CX-30 embodies Mazda’s current design ethos to a T (Image: Tom White). The CX-30 embodies Mazda’s current design ethos to a T (Image: Tom White).

This Pure version is no exception, with even the more basic 16-inch alloy wheels finished in a more premium-looking gunmetal hue, and it maintains a sense of presence thanks to its standard LED headlights and dual exhaust.

Stepping inside, there is so little evidence pointing to the idea the Pure is the most basic grade. Sure, this interior feels as though it was built to be accompanied by leather seat trim, but this doesn’t take away from the sleek cabin ambiance built up by a digital dash cluster, attractive steering wheel, and luxurious-feeling centre console.

Inside there is little evidence pointing to the idea the Pure is the most basic grade (Image: Tom White). Inside there is little evidence pointing to the idea the Pure is the most basic grade (Image: Tom White).

This basic version of the CX-30 is defined by a blue interior theme rather than the brown theme which appears on higher-grade models, and upon closer inspection you’ll notice the areas where the Pure differs from higher grades, like the more basic air-conditioning controls which replace a more premium looking dual-zone climate control set.

Basic air-conditioning controls replace a more premium looking dual-zone climate control set (Image: Tom White). Basic air-conditioning controls replace a more premium looking dual-zone climate control set (Image: Tom White).

Sure, it’s missing some of the extra silver trims here and there, but for a base offering the CX-30 Pure is hard to go past, forgoing nasty plastics and major missing features of some of its rivals. For an SUV at this price, it is hard to do better.

How practical is the space inside?

Sadly, the CX-30 was never the most practical of the small SUV bunch, and more basic grades even miss out in some areas.

Front passengers are treated well with ample width and headroom on offer, and the big centre console box not only offers a large storage area but will accommodate two elbows on top with ease.

On the topic of elbows, the front seat also offers lovely soft trims in the doors, as well as a large storage bin and bottle holder underneath. There are also a set of two bottle holders in front of the gearshift, and a small tray for phones and wallets under the air conditioning controls.

The screen looks great and is mounted in just the right spot but is only controlled via a dial. While it is easy to navigate the simple menus of the stock software this way, controlling phone mirroring software with it is clumsy to say the least.

The back seat is nowhere near as accommodating as the front, with my knees close up to the front behind my own driving position.

The back seat is nowhere near as accommodating as the front (Image: Tom White). The back seat is nowhere near as accommodating as the front (Image: Tom White).

Headroom is decent although getting in requires you to duck under the descending roofline. Amenities in the base Pure grade are also limited, with a single bottle holder in each door, a single pocket on the back of the passenger seat, but no power outlets or adjustable air vents. At least the soft elbow-pad is maintained in the door trim.

The boot is also far from the largest in this class, at just 317 litres. It could just fit the full set of three CarsGuide luggage cases, but required the removal of the luggage shelf, and would have had the medium case obscuring your rear view.

  • The boot is also far from the largest in this class, at just 317 litres (Image: Tom White). The boot is also far from the largest in this class, at just 317 litres (Image: Tom White).
  • The boot is also far from the largest in this class, at just 317 litres (Image: Tom White). The boot is also far from the largest in this class, at just 317 litres (Image: Tom White).
  • The CX-30 has a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor (Image: Tom White). The CX-30 has a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor (Image: Tom White).

The CX-30 has a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor, as well as dual ISOFIX and three top-tether mounts across the rear row.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The CX-30 Pure has a decidedly low-tech 2.0-litre four-cylinder non-turbo petrol engine, which drives the front wheels via a six-speed traditional torque converter automatic transmission. It is the least powerful of the three engine options available in the CX-30 range, producing 114kW/200Nm.

The CX-30 Pure has a decidedly low-tech 2.0-litre four-cylinder non-turbo petrol engine (Image: Tom White). The CX-30 Pure has a decidedly low-tech 2.0-litre four-cylinder non-turbo petrol engine (Image: Tom White).

It would be nice to see a parallel hybrid option here, but Mazda instead offers its semi-compression ignition engine technology at the top-end of the range.

How much fuel does it consume?

This little 2.0-litre engine seems to have to push hard to keep up, and while the CX-30’s combined cycle fuel consumption number comes in at 6.5L/100km, in my real-world week-long test I saw an alarming 9.0L/100km average.

To be fair, my driving was almost entirely confined to city limits, but it is still above this car’s official ‘urban’ number of 8.0L/100km.

A small reprieve, this most basic engine option can consume entry-level 91RON unleaded fuel.

The CX-30 has a 51-litre fuel tank, which using my real-world average consumption translates to a range in excess of 550km.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The CX-30 comes with a high base level of active safety equipment, coming with radar-based auto emergency braking which works to freeway speeds detecting cyclists and pedestrians during the day.

It also has rear auto braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition as standard, with the surprising inclusion of rear-facing items like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, both of which are rare on entry-level cars at this price.

Omitted items on this base Pure grade, which include the 360-degree parking camera, front parking sensors, the full adaptive cruise control suite, driver attention alert, and front cross traffic alert can all be optionally included as part of the $1500 Vision Technology pack on automatic versions. Arguably worth it.

Rounding out the CX-30’s equipment is the standard array of electronic brake, traction, and stability aids, alongside a suite of seven airbags (the standard dual front, side, and curtain, as well as a driver’s knee).

The CX-30 range is covered by a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating to the 2019 standard, scoring an impressive 99 per cent in the adult occupant protection category.

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

Mazda covers its entire passenger car range with a competitive five year and unlimited kilometre warranty, which also includes five years of roadside assist.

  • Mazda covers its entire passenger car range with a competitive five year and unlimited kilometre warranty (Image: Tom White). Mazda covers its entire passenger car range with a competitive five year and unlimited kilometre warranty (Image: Tom White).
  • Mazda covers its entire passenger car range with a competitive five year and unlimited kilometre warranty (Image: Tom White). Mazda covers its entire passenger car range with a competitive five year and unlimited kilometre warranty (Image: Tom White).

Some notable newcomers are moving to seven-year warranty promises, which should increase pressure on established players like Mazda in this space.

The CX-30 needs to be serviced once every 12 months or 10,000km, and pricing alternates between $316 and $361 per visit, for an annual average of $334. It’s not as cheap as some Toyota servicing programs but is certainly at the most affordable end of the market.

What's it like to drive around town?

The CX-30 feels slick and sporty from the get-go, with direct steering and an engaging ride. In most city-based scenarios this is a zippy little car which offers decent comfort levels and a lovely cabin ambiance, too.

Mazda maintains a traditional six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which pairs nicely with the 2.0-litre engine to make for a predictable experience under acceleration, forgoing the nasty rubbery feel of many rivals’ CVT automatics, or the glitchy take-off from other dual-clutches.

The engine does leave a little to be desired however, with hollow power delivery in the mid-range meaning you’ll need to push it hard in overtaking and uphill scenarios.

It feels a bit rudimentary in today’s car landscape of hybrids and turbocharged engines, but Mazda has at least made it sound good, with a warm thrum rather than a nasty rattle at higher revs.

If you’re considering solving this problem by shopping further up the range, the alternate 2.5-litre four-cylinder behaves largely the same with a little extra power.

The CX-30 also maintains a particular firmness which permeates Mazda’s cars. While it imbues this small SUV with an engaging road feel and fun handling, big bumps and corrugations will rattle through the steering and A-pillar, making the whole car feel light and fragile and taking away from the CX-30’s otherwise semi-premium ambiance.

Ironically, the Pure improves this issue by having the smallest alloy wheel out of any CX-30 grade, providing a bit of extra tyre to soak up the worst jolts the road might offer.

The Pure has the smallest alloy wheel out of any CX-30 grade (Image: Tom White). The Pure has the smallest alloy wheel out of any CX-30 grade (Image: Tom White).

The active safety items punch above their weight at this price point, making the Pure feel as though it has your back, particularly with those rare-at-this-price rear-facing items.

Like a lot of new-generation Mazdas though, the CX-30 suffers from a limited field of view from its disturbingly close rear-vision mirrors.

Overall, the CX-30 Pure offers an engaging drive experience paired with a lovely cabin ambiance. The engine and transmission are feeling a bit dated, and the ride trades comfort for sportiness, so it may not be for everyone, but ultimately Mazda’s signature drive experience is maintained, even at this lower end of the price scale.

At roughly $30,000 it’s hard to do better than Mazda’s base CX-30 in the small SUV space when it comes to cabin ambiance, premium looks, and safety equipment.

While popular variants further up the range sell well, I’d recommend you resist the urge to upgrade as this version has almost everything you could need in a good-looking and relatively fun-to-drive package. 

$30,390

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.8/5
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.