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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Mazda CX-30

Overall verdict
Mazda (mostly) successfully plugs gap between CX-3 and CX-5 with a Mazda3-based crossover


Good-looking, decent to drive, lovely interior


Cramped rear, old-fashioned auto


What is it?

Mazda thinks there’s too much of a gap between its excellent but now quite old CX-3, and the also excellent and slightly newer CX-5. So it’s done a car to plug it – not the CX-4, because there’s already one of those, sold exclusively in China – but the CX-30, a Mazda3 based crossover aimed squarely at young families. Apparently.

At 4,395mm long and 1,540mm tall, the CX-30 is around 7cm shorter and 10cm taller than the hatchback on which it’s based. Shorter because Mazda thinks this makes it easier to manoeuvre around town, which is where all of these things will live, and taller because, well, crossover. If the CX-5 competes with the Qashqai, Tiguan, Kuga and so-on, the CX-30’s rivals must be cars like the Volkswagen T-Roc, and possibly the Honda HR-V or Toyota C-HR. Hyphen-rich class, this.

Mazda reckons the CX-30, which is only the second car in the company’s “next-generation” line-up, could become its best-selling car in Europe – ahead of the 2 and 3 hatchbacks, 6 saloon/estate and CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers. Such is our apparent love for pseudo-SUVs.

As it’s based on the 3, the CX-30 uses the same engines (including the new ‘Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition’ petrol) and gearboxes, and has a very similar interior. Looks similar too, though different enough from the standard hatchback to make it a worthwhile item.

It’s a good-looking thing, the CX-30. Not quite as crisp as the 3, but not too far off. Among the better-looking cars in its class, certainly, even if the plastic cladding along the sills and over the wheel arches looks a bit heavy-handed from some angles.