On the road: The new Mazda CX-30
On the road: The new Mazda CX-30

Ian Lamming weathers the storm in Mazda’s latest CX-30

THE motorway is a river, but that’s ok.

Three lanes of standing water turned to spray by a stream of juggernauts, but it’s fine, really. In fact I’m as happy as Larry, heading home, as I am in complete comfort and the protective embrace of Mazda’s CX-30.

It needs moments like these to separate the wheat from the chaff. Extreme weather conditions show what vehicles are made of otherwise it’s not a proper test. Today’s deluge is more than your average downpour so the conditions are perfect for a splash and a dash.

CX-30 is more than at home in the wet conditions, in spite of being just two wheel drive, and when there’s little to catch the eye in the inclement gloom your gaze starts to wander around its excellent cabin.

Funnily enough the car before the Mazda and the one after were Germanic budget affairs and in contrast the quality of the Mazda shines through in a way the sunshine isn’t managing today.

There are heaps of SUVs on the market to choose from but few feel as special and luxurious as the CX-30, thanks to the obsessive nature of Japanese technicians.

It’s not a big car, considerably smaller than its sibling the CX-5, but it is beautifully put together with lovely instrumentation and ergonomics, a fab Bose hi-fi and pleasingly easy to use tech. So I crank up the sounds and never mind the weather.

Barely audible under the bonnet is a 186PS 2.0 litre petrol motor and it is doing a fine job swimming against the tide. It is happily cruising along the motorway and still returning decent miles per gallon, more than 50 in fact.

When things do fair up CX-30 has the spirit of its sports car cousin the MX-5. I have to admit being an auto-man but the six speed manual gearbox is as good as any you will come across and is a delight to stir. The ratios slot home like the MX-5 to the point where you change just for the fun of it.

Stir the box, stir the motor, and the true power is released. Get to about 4,500rpm and things start to move providing all the performance you would ever want. Steering and handling are a perfect match for performance and in the CX-30 you have a vehicle that relishes being driven.

You also get amazing styling, aesthetics that definitely set CX-30 apart from the masses. It has the familial look of the CX-5 but is very much its own model. The front is uber-sleek with great lights and the rear sweeps back to muscular haunches; it really is a great looking car. The 18in alloys set it off a treat and the lights not only look great they also illuminate well as they are LED and adaptive.

Specification is high. I’ve already mentioned the Bose hi-fi, which has 12 speakers and surround sound by the way, which sits among some impressive infotainment gubbins that can be operated from a handy mouse rather than having to reach forward to a touchscreen, which I prefer. There’s a useful rear view camera, which I didn’t realise I’d come to rely on until the following week when it wasn’t there.

Head-up display, powered tailgate, lots of leather trim and high quality fixtures complete an excellent package that leaves the driver feeling good and enjoying the ride, whatever the weather.

Fact File

Mazda CX-30 2WD GT Sport

Engine: 2.0 e-Skyactiv-X petrol

Power: 186PS

0-62mph: 8.3

Top speed: 127mph

Combined MPG: 49.6

Transmission: Six-speed manual

CO2 g/km: 128

Price: From £31,415.00