What is it like on the inside?
It’s more or less the same as the Mazda 3 in here, which is fine by us. The dashboard is as simple as they come, with easy-to-use tactile climate controls separated from the infotainment screen, which can only be operated with a clickwheel on the centre-tunnel (note – Mazda says there’s as much space between the front seats as there is in the bigger CX-5).
The user interface is superb – it looks smart and is devoid of any unnecessary complication, something German systems tend to specialise in. Conventional dials, too. Well, the speedometer is technically a screen, but it still looks like a conventional dial and is flanked by two others. Very clear, very easy to use. Very Mazda.
It's also worth noting the quality of materials is extremely impressive. If the last Mazda you travelled in was a shonky holiday hire car or tired stag night taxi, don't dismiss this CX-30 (or any current Mazda) as cheap and not-very-cheerful Japanese whitegood fare. The soft-touch dash, grown-up switchgear and crisp graphics all lend a feeling of deep quality to this car. We'd argue it's a much more expensive-feeling environment than you'd find in a VW Golf or Audi A3.
Is it comfortable?
The front seats are superb, though the bases could be longer to better support the thighs of taller drivers, and the driving position is particularly good, with loads of adjustment in the steering wheel (you can pull it right the way out of the dashboard). Things are less good in the back. The Mazda 3 isn’t especially spacious, and remember the CX-30 is yet shorter.
Headroom is okay and more glass means it’s brighter back there than the hatch, but taller adults may struggle for legroom. You can at least slide your feet under the front seats (getting them out again is a bit awkward, mind), but if you’re 6ft (or even a few inches shy) your knees will be rammed right up against the backrest of the seat ahead of you.
The boot isn’t bad at 430 litres, but the load-bay itself isn’t as clever as some rivals. No tie-downs, cubbies or split-level floors in the cars we tested.