Mazda CX-30 2.0 e-Skyactiv X MHEV GT Sport Edition 5dr
The CX-30 gets the exact same engines as the Mazda 3 hatchback – meaning you now have the choice of two different 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrols (Mazda continues to buck the ‘downsizing’ trend, favouring larger naturally-aspirated engines over smaller turbocharged ones). Both of the petrols now have mild-hybrid tech and there’s no longer a diesel offered, in the UK at least.
The more conventional of the two engines is the 120bhp e-Skyactiv G, which uses an unusually high compression ratio to maintain efficiency. Claims are between 44.1mpg and 47.9mpg and it’ll emit between 134 and 144g/km of CO2. It’s also only available with front-wheel drive.
Happily, there’s also Mazda’s fantastically clever petrol ‘Skyactiv-X’ engine that’s now known as the e-Skyactiv-X. Also of 2.0 litres and four cylinders, it claims to offer the efficiency and low-down grunt of a diesel with the high-revving character and feel of a petrol. Something made possible, says Mazda, by ‘Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition', a system that allows the engine to switch between spark and compression ignition methods as required.
Pretty much all you need to know is that with its additional hybrid boost you now get 183bhp and in real world driving we managed an impressive mid-40s mpg. It’s also far more refined than when it first arrived in 2019.
All-wheel drive is available in combination with the e-Skyactiv-X engine, but even then don’t expect the CX-30 to get very far off-road. That’s not what it’s for. Save your money and some weight by sticking with FWD.
Mazda’s manual gearboxes are usually among the best fitted to mainstream cars (Honda’s are notably brilliant, too), and the CX-30’s is no different. The automatic is of the old-school, torque-converter variety and… it isn’t great. It’ll cost you a fair chunk more than the manual, and it can be a bit clunky and indecisive. Double-clutch transmissions offered by other manufacturers are way ahead, even though many seem to have been somewhat compromised by WLTP economy and emissions testing procedures.
The CX-30 handles pretty well too – something that should come as no surprise, given it’s based on a car that was rather good to drive to begin with, and that it’s not actually much heavier despite its crossover-y-ness. It steers, brakes and corners in the same smooth, fluid fashion. Its ride is broadly ok – it’s well damped, but there’s an initial firmness that introduces a little patter on poorly surfaced British roads.
Overall, it's a very agreeable car to do distance in, it's easy to place in town and on a country lane, you might even find yourself accidentally enjoying life.
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