It seems that Mazda really knows how to cater to different buyers in the ever popular mid-size SUV market.
In this review, what we see are three Mazda SUVs that are all priced right, appointed right yet each serve a different purpose.
Check out this in-depth review from Car Sales.
We’re a nation mad for SUVs and Mazda has one to suit pretty much every budget and buyer, but naming conventions being what they are, confusing at best, it can sometimes be tricky to unpack it all. So let us help you understand the Mazda CX-30, MX-30 and the CX-5.
Excluding the light-sized CX-3 and the large CX-8 and CX-9, this trio represents Mazda in the most popular small and mid-size SUV segments. And with a sub 30,000 starting price and some overlap between all three, a total of 28 variants spans around $23,000 and tops out at just over 50K.
Before we talk tech and specs, let’s quickly look at the exterior design and dimensions.
The CX-30 brings edgy elements to the otherwise pretty conventional compact SUV shape we know and love.
The coupe-style MX-30 is near identical dimensionally, but, boy, does it push the design envelope.
And the CX-5 is essentially a bigger version of the pint-sized CX-3.
It’s Mazda’s top-selling vehicle and a very safe bet. Now, let’s talk engines, drivetrains, transmissions, and fuel types.
The CX-30 offers 2 or 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engines, including a mild hybrid across its 10 variants. It’s front or all-wheel drive, and only the cheapest grade can be had as a manual.
Until all-electric and then rotary range extender versions arrive, all three variants of the front drive MX-30 M hybrid come with a two-litre four cylinder mild hybrid powertrain matched to an automatic transmission.
The CX-5 ups the ante with 15 variants. It offers a 2 or 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, a 2.5-litre turbo petrol, or a 2.2 litre twin turbo diesel, manual or automatic transmissions, front or all-wheel drive.
Naturally, climbing the variant ladder will cost you as does all-wheel grip.
Inside, the differences become more obvious. We’re starting in the CX-30, and this is the G20 Touring, and it could easily be mistaken for one of those Euro prestige vehicles. The fit and finish is beautiful, the attention to detail, and it’s a really nice place to sit.
Above all, it’s a car that’s comfortable, practical, and user-friendly, a common theme for recent Mazda vehicles. The MX-30 feels so different. I mean, the layout is the same, but the design is fresh, it’s modern, it’s a little bit Scandi style, to be honest, and it’s so different to what we’ve seen in the CX-30.
To be honest, it’s different to anything I’ve seen in a Mazda vehicle to date.
The MX-30 is a step change in design and Mazda’s approach to sustainable materials. It’s a user-friendly Mazda interior, but better.
We’re in the top spec CX-5 Akera now, and obviously it’s larger dimensions come into play. We’ve got more cabin width, but I think it’s that increased ride height that SUV buyers are actually hunting. You do have a more commanding view of the road. Fit and finish and attention to detail is beautiful, but it was also beautiful in the MX-30 and the CX-30.
I think you’ll find as you climb the model variants, it’s more about the kit that you can’t see that you start to get. So, if you’re chasing style over substance, you might find that Mazda’s mid-spec variants are your sweet spot. It’s lovely, practical and user-friendly, but where design aesthetic is concerned, the MX-30 has set a benchmark for the others to follow.
Entry level equipment is pretty standard across Mazda offerings, and then you’ve got options if you’re chasing advanced tech are extra nice to have. Choose cloth or leather-trimmed seats, manual or electric adjust, heated or not, it’s a personal preference and the options are there.
Mazda’s infotainment interface is one of the best out there.
It’s intuitive and easy to use. An eight or 8.8-inch screen is standard player across these three, and it’s more than adequate. It’s only when you see the 10.25-inch screen in the top spec CX-5 that you’re left wanting. Satellite navigation, Apple Car Play and Android Auto bluetooth, voice control, and a review camera are common to all.
A 360-degree camera can be optioned in lower grades as part of a Vision Package. Safety and driver assist technology is good even at entry level spec, but if you want some other things like adaptive cruise control or head-up display, you’ll need to look to options packages or further up the variants.
The CX-30 is, as expected, fit for two and snug for three, but overall comfort is good. The MX-30 is similar to the CX-30 in terms of size, but it’s access that will be a sticking point for many. The MX-30’s reverse opening doors look really cool, but they are incredibly impractical.
You can’t open this door without this door being open, and you’ve got to close this door before you can close this door. Getting out from the back seat, this door has to be open to make that happen. It’s gonna be a nightmare if you’ve got children, and it’ll probably be just horrible for adults back there. We’ve seen them before in the likes of the RX-8 and also in the BMW i3. They add some drama, but I’d say, have a really long hard think about how you’re gonna use your MX-30.
The CX-5 is medium SUV goodness. It will comfortably accommodate three occupants. Now for the all important cargo space, and it’s pretty simple maths really, 317 litres, 311 litres and 442 litres. The hard part is you figuring out how much gear you’re gonna carry on a regular basis.
All vehicles feature spec fold seats for extra versatility, 60-40 in the CX-30 and MX-30, 40-20-40 in the larger CX-5. Anchor points and charge points are common to all. It’s no surprise that the CX-5 is the hero where towing is consumed, it’s got a good turning circle too.
Almost Mazda’s come with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, five years roadside assist, and a five-star NCAP safety rating. As you can see, while all three vehicles have many similarities, and climbing the variants will get you the kit that you want, they each have their own strengths.
The CX-30 is a small all-rounder, the similarly sized MX-30 pushes the design envelope, love it or loathe it, and then there’s the larger hugely popular CX-5, where the sheer amount of choice makes it hard to go wrong.
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