While some drivers will still prefer the easy nature of a turbocharged gasoline engine, Mazda’s improved e-SkyActiv X mild hybrid powertrain has its advantages. Linear and responsive, it rewards drivers who want to use its smooth manual transmission to take advantage of its surprisingly wide power range. The CX-30 has perfect handling to match it, but it’s a smaller SUV with less room for rear passengers and trunk than some rivals, which holds it back from the best in the class.
Mazda is a manufacturer that likes to do things differently, so while virtually all of its competitors have turned to turbocharging, Mazda’s innovative SkyActiv X technology avoids it. Instead, it uses a nifty compression-controlled spark ignition to borrow some of the best aspects of a diesel engine, with all the benefits of gasoline at high revs.
Not content to stop there, the brand’s engineers have now added mild hybrid technology and updated the 2.0-liter engine, badged “e-SkyActiv X”. The addition of a starter-generator, modified pistons, revised intake valve timing and lower compression ratio added 6 hp and 16 Nm of torque, while boosting efficiency.
Horsepower can reach 184 hp, but there is a reduction in CO2 emissions of between five and 11 g / km depending on the car’s specifications, while fuel efficiency is up to 2.5 mpg better. Seemingly minor changes, but particularly welcome reductions for company car drivers looking to save on monthly benefit-in-kind payments.
Car group testing
Mazda’s attention to detail also shines through in the integration of the Mild Hybrid System, as careful software tuning has been done to ensure that the torque injections of the Mild Hybrid hardware are imperceptible to the driver.
Compared to the plethora of small, turbocharged gasoline engines found in competitors like the 1.5-liter turbo SEAT Ateca, it takes a few miles to accommodate the normally aspirated e-SkyActiv X engine, which doesn’t There is no torque boost to drive from around 1,500 rpm.
Instead, the driver is rewarded with a responsive and linear motor, but one that has to work a little harder and is therefore a little more vocal. Its maximum torque of 240 Nm is now only 10 Nm less than that offered by the 1.5 TSI EVO engine of the Ateca, but it only arrives at 4000 rpm.
If you just want an SUV that’s easy to drive, you might find the CX-30 e-SkyActiv X a little frustrating as a result. However, if you’re an avid driver, you’ll be happy to shift one or two gears with the smooth six-speed manual transmission to get back into the power range and shut off the engine as you go up gear. That’s part of the fun, because the gearbox only requires a flick of the wrist and is incredibly precise.
The responsive, rev-hungry engine doesn’t seem out of whack with the CX-30’s chassis, which feels much closer to the Mazda3 hatchback than that of the larger CX-5 SUV.
Much like the Cupra Formentor, it would be easy to forget that you don’t drive a sports hatchback without the high seating position. Its steering is light, but feels linear and natural, with just enough information at hand to telegraph road conditions.
The CX-30 excels at keeping the operator engaged, even at normal speed. Equipped with 18-inch alloy rims, the bearing is firm enough to contain body roll, without disturbing passengers, and only the manhole covers and deep potholes send a thudding sound through the body structure. the car.
Mazda’s driver-centric approach is reflected in the rear, where passengers approaching six feet tall are likely to find their knees brushing the seat in front. Headroom is also tight, and a large C-pillar and small windows, combined with a rather upright seat, mean long journeys are likely to feel a bit claustrophobic.
The trunk measures up to 422 liters (430 liters without the Bose subwoofer fitted in our test car), which is a marked improvement over the 334 liters in the Mazda3, but far behind the 510-liter trunk of the SEAT Ateca, with its more upright and square body.
It’s also worth noting that the cargo figure includes a storage area under a removable trunk floor, which creates a smooth cargo lip when left in place. There is thoughtful storage dotted around the interior, including a large locker between the front seats and large door bins. It’s a shame that the front cup holders are ahead of the shifter, as it can get a bit awkward while driving.
A simple thumbwheel on the center console can be used to control the 8.8-inch infotainment screen. It has a minimal menu system with clear graphics with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although you still need a cable plugged in as they aren’t wireless yet.
The e-SkyActiv X engine is available in SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech trim levels, starting at £ 26,305. The top-of-the-line GT Sport Tech costs from £ 30,505, with features like a heated steering wheel, 12-speaker Bose sound system, leather seat upholstery and a 360-degree camera. There is also active safety technology to help avoid collisions, including when making lane changes on the freeway and when backing up.
Mazda CX-30 2.0 186ps 2WD GT Sport Tech
MHEV 2.0 liter 4 cylinder petrol
|Power / torque:||
184 hp / 240 Nm
Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
|Top speed:||127 mph|
|Fuel economy:||49.6 mpg|
|CO2:||128g / km|