Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
To be honest, neither engine in the Mazda CX-30 is the best in the class. We much prefer the turbocharged petrol engines in the Seat Ateca, Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008. They have more guts at low to medium revs, which makes them more relaxing to drive.
The entry-level 2.0-litre e-Skyactiv G is the pick of the range, mainly because it keeps the price low. With 120bhp, it'll accelerate from 0-62mph in around 10.6sec, which is hardly any quicker than the 1.0 TSI 110 engine in the Karoq. Despite having twice the engine capacity, the CX-30 only feels quicker when you push it past 4000rpm.
The upside of the CX-30’s firmness is that there’s little of the float and wallow you get in some cars on fast, undulating roads that can induce nausea.
The CX-30's steering doesn't feel particularly quick, but it is precise and has a more reassuring, progressive weight build-up than the Qashqai's. Its taut suspension means there's minimal body lean when you scythe through twists and turns.
The harder you push, though, the less impressive it becomes. The CX-30 runs out of front-end grip earlier than the Karoq, while our handling benchmark in the family SUV class, the Ateca, is much more agile and satisfying to drive spiritedly.