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Following on the heels of just about every other carmaker, Mazda introduced a compact SUV to their local mix last month. The new-generation CX-30 slots in neatly between the CX-3 and CX-5, on everything but price.

Covid-related manufacturing and distribution delays have caused something of a new compact SUV explosion in South Africa this year. Adding to the flood of new cars in this segment, Mazda dropped their CX-30 bang in the middle of their existing crossover/SUV lineup.

Typically-slick Mazda KODO design language, up-to-the-minute engine tech, and loads of fashion appeal, promise to lure a fair chunk of buyers in this segment to Mazda dealerships, that is, if said buyers don’t opt for the larger CX-5 instead. The latter is, after all, priced on par with the newer, but smaller, CX-30.

Such a scenario is not entirely unheard of, and the question buyers will ask themselves is whether the CX-30, ultimately, offers enough value at its price parity with the CX-5 for them to sign on the dotted line.


Before looking at what the CX-30 offers, let’s look at where it fits into the market. The car might be smaller than a CX-5, but it is longer than a Volkswagen T-Roc and similar in size to an Audi Q3 or BMW X1, so it’s not a small car. Mazda also firmly positions (most) of its products at the premium end of the value spectrum – backed-up by their undeniable quality – making the CX-30 an enticing choice for fashion-conscious buyers who value a high degree of tech advancement.

CX-30 buyers have a choice of three equipment grade levels, named according to Mazda’s standard protocol: Active, Dynamic, and Individual.

Starting things off, the base model CX-30 2.0 Active boasts a hearty standard spec list that includes LED headlights with automatic levelling; driver, passenger, knee (driver), side- and curtain airbags; an 8.8” touchscreen (that is larger than in the CX-5) with MZD Connect infotainment system; head-up display; cruise control, keyless entry and push-button start. The CX-30 also gets a new-generation version of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system that augments handling characteristics using the braking system.

Added to this, the CX-30 2.0 Dynamic gets rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Both cars are equipped with 16” alloy rims, while the range-topping Individual gets upgraded 18” silver metallic alloy rims instead. I have never been a fan of Mazda’s entry-level rim designs, but the multi-spoke offering on the CX-30 does impress.

Naturally, the 2.0 Individual model gets an additional layer of swag in the form of leather seats, interior accents with a black and brown colour combination, and an electric sliding sunroof. 

All three models are available with a choice of nine exterior colours.


The new CX-30 is powered by the same 2.0-litre normally aspirated SkyActiv-G petrol engine that also does duty in the CX-5. Keeping up with the times, Mazda only offers the 121 kW (at 6,000 r/min) engine with its six-speed automatic transmission, while the CX-5 is available with a manual option. 

Although the 213 Nm torque figure compares favourably with rivals in this segment, we will reserve judgment on the CX-30’s performance and handling for the June 2021 edition of Driven


Since its launch in 2019, the Mazda CX-30 has received many international accolades, including winner of the Car of the Year 2020 in Thailand, winner of the 2020 Red Dot Design Award, winner of the 2020 Design Trophy in the SUV category in Germany, and was a finalist in the 2020 World Car of the Year competition. It also earned five stars and the highest safety rating in the Euro NCAP. 

Whether the car makes a similar impact on the local market and wins over the hard-earned cash of recession-weary buyers, only time will tell. Considering, however, the brand’s reputation for delivering consistently excellent products and their bold after-sales support promise (standard three-year unlimited kilometre service plan, three-year factory warranty, and three-year roadside assistance plan), the CX-30 makes a compelling case that can’t be matched by some more expensive, and some larger, rivals.


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