I'm just going to put this out there - I'm not a massive fan of the Mazda CX-3. It looks nice, sure, with its stylish exterior design and cute-as-a-button cabin. But it's truly as practical as a perforated umbrella, with a tight backseat and small boot that pretty much rules it out as a vehicle for a growing family, or even as vehicle to take longer road trips in.
That SUV is too small, then.
The CX-5? Now that I do like. But it's really too big to suit my needs, what with our family consisting of my wife and I, plus our tiny corgi, and while we take a lot of cross-state road-trips, we're not circling the country, so the harder to park/navigate through city streets versus all that extra space equation just doesn't work out for us.
That SUV is too big, then.
The CX-30, though? It's not too big, and not too small. In fact, it could be just right for what we need. And yes, I appreciate I'm sounding a little Goldilocks here. But that's entirely the point of the CX-30, isn't it? A car that neatly fills the gap between the CX-3 and CX-5, which also just happens to be the life-stage my wife and I are currently occupying.
But size is only part of the SUV story, of course. And so the question now is can the CX-30 deliver in the other important areas? We'll be answering that and more in the coming reports.
But first, what are you looking at here? We've got the fanciest of the CX-30s, the G25 Astina, which will set you back a not-to-be-sneezed-at $41,490 for the FWD we have, or $43,490 for the AWD version. It sits near the tippy-top of the CX-30 family, above the G20 Pure, Evolve, Touring and Astina, and then G25 Touring, too, but will soon be pipped by the X20 Astina, which is fitted with Mazda's clever compression-ignition SkyActiv-X engine, and which is yours for $46,490.
The G25 bit, by the way, refers to the engine. While the G20 cars get a 2.0-litre engine good for 114kW and 200Nm, the G25 cars - including ours - get a bigger 2.5-litre petrol unit delivering a hefty 139kW and 252Nm, partnered with a six-speed automatic transmission, which in our car drives the front tyres. It will sip a claimed 6.6L/100km on the combined cycle.
So what do you get for that investment. Leather seats arrive as standard - and ours are trimmed in a fancy "Pure White" - as well as chrome exhaust exits, a rear spoiler, a powered sunroof, an automatic tailgate, adaptive LED headlamps and LED DRLs, keyless entry and push-button start
Inside, you gets that plush while trim, of course, but you'll also find dual-zone climate control with rear vents, heated front seats and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cup holders and bottle storage everywhere.
On the tech front, you'll find a 8.8-inch colour central screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which pairs with a very good Bose 12-speaker stereo, and gets DAB+ and sat nav was standard, too. There's two USB inputs, and a second 7.0-inch screen in the driver's binnacle.
Finally, lets's talk safety - because this top-shelf Astina gets a lot. Deep breath now: you get seven airbags, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise, a driver attention alert system, Forward Obstruction Warning, Front and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System and two ISOFIX and three top-tether points.
Now, let's go to practicality for a moment. The CX-30 is an SUV in the loosest sense of the term, looking and behaving more like a hatch than a traditional 4WD. The boot space is listed at 317 litres VDA - which isn't massive - and while the backseat is plenty plush, it's not massively practical, so full-size adults back there for longer distances might be a stretch.
Now it's usually at this point that I'd tell you what the CX-30 is like to actually drive, but that's going to a be a two-parter this time around, I'm afraid. Because what I like about the drive experience is grand, but what I don't like about it? Well, there's a real chance that's about to be fixed.
See, as an everyday driver this Astina largely excels. There's connectedness between car and driver that's refreshing in this class, with the steering a little more meaty than some other competitors, while remaining direct and confidence inspiring.
The ride, too, is a tick in my book, with the CX-30 feeling in touch with the road surface below, but without feeling jarring or uncomfortable. But all of these we will come back to in the next dispatch. And by then, our major gripe with the CX-30 might well be fixed, too.
See, we collected the vehicle with around 10,000kms on it, meaning it's well and truly run in, and shortly afterwards the "service soon" light flashed up on then dashboard. It's appearance was like a Christmas present, because it's not often we are able to put the dealership experience to the test - something we'll be reporting back on shortly.
I have also noticed, though, a kind of confusion in the way the gearbox operates, like it's never entirely certain on when and where to shift, which can result in jerky, unexpected changes. Not all the time, mind, but often enough to be annoying.
Having never spend time in a CX-30 before, it's hard to know whether this is a driving quirk and owner has to get used to, or a minor niggle that will be hunted down and repaired when it's being serviced. Either way, I'll be reporting it to the dealership technicians, and then reporting the outcome back to you, dear reader.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, for a detailed impression of how the CX-30 drives, you'll need to wait. But not too long, I promise.
Acquired: September 2020
Distance travelled this month: 367km
Average fuel consumption for September: 10.4L/100 (measured at the pump)