The new Mazda CX-30 SUV is now on view in Mazda showrooms in Ireland priced from €29,495-€43,115, writes Trish Whelan.
These are left hand drive models borrowed from another market as the Irish company’s first allocation won't arrive until December - in good time for January 2020 sales. As they are static display models, they are not available to customers for test drives. However, a number of customers have already placed deposits on the back of these display cars with first customer deliveries due in January.
Mazda believe this compact SUV will be a very important addition to their line-up and expect to sell around 35,000 units of the model in Europe.
CX-30 enters the rapidly growing compact crossover SUV category which is a new market segment for them. Competitors here include the Audi Q2, Hyundai Qashqai and VW T-Roc.
Size-wise, CX-30 sits between the best-selling Mazda CX-5 and the popular CX-3.
It comes with a world-first. A new type of engine, in this case a 2.0L Skyactiv-X commercial petrol unit which combines the spark ignition of a petrol engine with the compression ignition of a diesel.
I’ll explain further. This groundbreaking new engine combines the free-revving performance of a petrol engine with the superior response of a diesel making it both fuel efficient and powerful, providing drivers with responsive acceleration and lower C02 emissions.
I got to test drive this new engine at the car’s international launch at Girona in Spain. With 180hp on tap, it has a claimed combined fuel consumption of circa 6.5 L/100kms (WLTP) and emits 146 g/km C02 (again WLTP rating). I will report more on it when I get to drive it back home on Irish roads.
The SkyActiv-X is one two petrols in the range; there’s just one diesel. All petrols come with Mazda’s new Mild Hybrid system with electric drive technology which features a belt-driven integrated starter generator and a 24V lithium-ion battery mounted between the wheels. It helps with better fuel economy and drivability.
Engines are available with front- or all-wheel drive, as well as six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. The 26 model line-up features four grades GS, GS-L, GT and GT Sport. All are well specced with every car featuring a colour windscreen projecting head-up display, radar cruise control and LED headlights.
The Advanced Safety Pack option is available on the GT Sport grade with the Skyactiv-X engine and includes a 360 deg View Parking Monitor, Driver Monitor which reads facial expressions for signs of fatigue, and the latest semi-autonomous feature - Cruise and Traffic Support, among its many features. This GT Sport is also available with AWD.
While the Skyactiv-D and Skyactive-G cars we drove at launch were full production models, the Skyactiv-X was a pre-production unit.
We travelled the 104kms from Barcelona airport northwards to our hotel in the SkyActiv ‘D’ 1.8L 85kW (116hp) with manual transmission. Reaching our destination, it had registered 4.8 L/100kms fuel consumption which was really good economy over the mix of motorways and country roads. The spec had shown a claimed fuel economy of 6.5 L/100kms (WLTP). The diesel we took out later, this time with automatic transmission, showed a fuel return of 8.8 L/100kms, a figure accumulated from journalist’s test drives on the day. This was my favourite of all three cars and was quite fun to drive. It also looked really stunning in Mazda’s Soul Red Crystal exterior with black leather upholstery.
The company claim the newly developed 122hp 2.0 'G' petrol engine with the Mild Hybrid System and the Cylinder Deactivation systems, ‘ensures the perfect balance between efficiency and dynamic driving’ and is exclusively matched to front-wheel drive with a choice of auto or manual transmission across all four trim levels. On a short trip, I felt this engine was somewhat underpowered. Perhaps it was the local roads we travelled but it was my least favourite. The trip computer showed a fuel return of 6.8 L/100kms. There again, it could be a very different outcome when I get to drive it for a longer test drive back home.
At the Girona launch, Avril Brophy of Mazda Motor Ireland said: “We are entering a new segment which is growing and we expect CX-30 to be one of our volume sellers over the next 12-18 months. We very much see this as entering us into the premium car market and gaining conquest customers; mostly people with young families.” Indeed the CX-30 is a very practical car for families with lots of room and luggage space and is easy to manoeuvre in urban areas.
Mazda people spoke of the Skyactiv-Vehicle as harnessing peoples’ inherent balance ability for more control of the vehicle and Jinba Ittai, the perfect connection a rider has with their horse so that the car feels like an extension of your body. Mazda’s Kodo Soul of Motion styling is hugely important for the company as it is inspired by minimalist elegance and Japanese art.
Designed in Europe, this car is beautifully elegant with flowing curves. I liked how the light caught those curves to give gentle surface reflections. The reflection is made in an ’S’ shape which disappears when the car is moving. Strong black cladding on the bottom of the car adds to that SUV feeling while the top more resembles a coupe style.
A very high level of craftsmanship is evident throughout the car’s interior. Mazda’s Product People say they relied on ‘the high skills of their designers to use their hands to create surfaces which are unique’.
Interior space allows for generous room between front seats, good rear seating and easy entry and exit. The cabin is upmarket with leather seats. Customers have a choice of rich brown combined with leather seats in black or white genuine leather, or navy blue with fabric upholstery offered in a choice of Greige or Black.
The sides of the dash are wing-shaped giving those in front a very snug, cocooned feeling and everything is angled towards the driver for an engaging drive.
A commander knob located between the front seats is used to operate various features, with a stand alone screen high on the dash. You also get a head-up display on the windscreen which really helps when you are driving abroad. The Mazda Connect system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, via USB connection.
The tailgate opening is wide and low for ease of lifting things in and out. Luggage space is a good 430 litres which will easily fit a baby buggy and bag, or bulky cargo.
Customers have a choice of nine exterior colours.
Mazda say they will launch a very clean, new diesel next year and will also show their first electric vehicle in Tokyo in 2020 followed by their first Plug-In-Hybrid vehicle, as well as showing a co-pilot concept.