Mazda CX-30 long-term test review: report 4

The new Mazda CX-30 is the first coupé-styled SUV the company has ever made, but do its rakish looks compromise its family friendly practicality? We're finding out...

Mazda CX-30 long-term test review

The car Mazda CX-30 2.0 180PS 2WD GT Sport Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor

Why it’s here Slotting in between the smaller CX-3 and the family-friendly CX-5, the new CX-30 offers plenty of style, but can it be as practical as the best family SUVs?

Needs to Blend style with a rewarding driving experience and enough practicality to justify its purchase over more conventional rivals

Miles covered 5755 Price £29,140 Target Price £28,346 Price as tested £29,930 Official economy 47.9mpg Test economy 36.0mpg

6 November 2020 – Our Mazda is put on the rack

In everyday use, the Mazda proves perfectly practical for the school run, dog walking and the weekly shop, but with a family holiday to south Devon looming, it was clear that there was no way the CX-30 was going to accommodate us, our two kids, plus two dogs and a week’s worth of luggage, bedding and food without some extra help.

Mazda CX-30 long-term test review

A roofbox seemed the obvious answer, so I ordered a set of roof bars, but fitting them for the first time isn’t a DIY job unless you fancy yourself as an amateur mechanic. From the factory the CX-30 has built-in mounting points for the bars, but they are covered by a flush-fitting trim strip that must be ditched and then replaced by one with removable caps to allow you to access the mounts. Quite why it doesn’t have them from the start is beyond me.

Mazda CX-30 long-term test review

To be fair to the team at my local dealership, Croydon Mazda, they fitted me in without delay and the coronavirus precautions on site were well thought out. I was given a lift to a nearby coffee house, and one large Americano later the car was ready for me to collect, with both trims replaced and the roof bars fitted. That just left me the simple job of bolting on our roofbox, and we were ready to pack.

There was still some careful stashing to be done to get everything in, but here the split-level boot floor proved particularly useful because we could secrete all of our bottles and food for the week in the bottom, safe from the prying eyes – and hungry mouths – of the dogs sitting on the false floor, oblivious to the treats beneath them.

Mazda CX-30 long-term test review

I should also make an honourable mention here to the storage bin between the front seats. It’s so huge that I’ve taken to filling it with all kinds of useful junk, and it’s always ready to hand should I need it rather than having to lean over to the glove compartment on the passenger side.

With our luggage problems solved, the CX-30 dispatched the drive down to Devon with ease, though the additional height made it more prone to crosswinds, and also hampered the fuel consumption. But the most noticeable change was to the car’s refinement. It’s usually remarkably quiet at motorway speeds, with its slippery shape, its muted engine noise and the brilliant ‘silent wipers’ with their built-in washer jets. But with the car so heavily laden, the engine takes on a harsh note as you deploy the additional revs required to get it up hills, overlaid by the roar of the wind whistling between the roof and the drumming box above it. 

Mazda CX-30 long-term test review

Fortunately, my car is in high-spec GT Sport trim so the sound system is excellent, easily good enough to drown out the extra din, and the Mazda is otherwise a comfortable mile-eater – particularly if you’re lucky enough to be in the front. The rear passengers were a bit more snug but still comfy enough, though my youngest Niamh was cursing the fact that there are no outlets in the back for her to charge her phone.

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