Here’s the most salient fact you need to know about Mazda Motor: the products are stronger than the brand.
Consider the newest Mazda, the CX-30. It’s a kind of hatchback/crossover hybrid that is prettier than something comparable from Mercedes-Benz (the GLA at $43,600 to start) or BMW’s X1 ($42,100). Audi’s Q3 is apt rival and goes for $38,900 until you option it properly.
Mini’s Countryman ALL4 also lands near the CX-30. It lists for $31,690, but if you want performance and equipment comparable to the CX-30, you’re writing a bigger cheque.
To which you should say, “Yeah, but the CX-30 GT, at $35,931, isn’t cheap.” And you’re correct.
I’d then say this: the least expensive CX-30 GX starts at $26,031. It’s plenty of car (2.0-litre I4 engine, 155 hp, automatic gearbox and up to 7.1 litres/100 km using regular fuel) – stylish, quick through a corner, delightful cabin design (for up to five adults) and the same slightly higher height that is appealing in the age of SUVs.
The top CX-30 is the GT (2.5-litre I4 ;186 hp; up to 7.4 litres/100 km), with its excellent all-wheel-drive system and striking 18-inch alloy wheels in gunmetal finish. The GT in Soul Red Crystal Metallic is breathtaking and expensive-looking ($450). Pair it with the black leather interior (no charge).
Mazda offers a couple of different wheels ($1,100 to $1,500), and you can pay extra for remote start ($730), a wireless smartphone charger ($382), and other oddments. I’d be inclined to drop an extra $674 on a roof rack.
Facts and lists aside, though, what’s stunning about this new model is the thorough refinement. This car looks, feels and drives better than any of the smaller German luxury models. You get much more for the same or less money and everything is beautifully executed — from the design triumph of the 8.8-inch full-colour centre display, to the exterior with its Kodo design language.
If any of the Germans had this rig, buyers would drool. Especially at this price. The Mazda brand, however, doesn’t play in the automotive Bundesliga. Here’s the rub: the CX-30 outstrips the brand and its contemporaries.
Buyers usually shop for a particular model or vehicle style and if the brand fits, they buy. Mazda has spent a decade gently moving its brand up-market but the marketing lags the products.
Believe me, if you drive the CX-30, you’ll agree.
2020 Mazda CX-30 GT
Engine: 2.5-litre I4 (186 horsepower/186 lb-ft of torque).
Transmission: six-speed automatic.
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 9.5 city/7.4 hwy using regular fuel.