OVERVIEW – What is it?
We've poked fun at this crossover's name a few times already now, so we'll elect not to be a broken record for once here. Just remember that the CX-30 model range fills the gap between the Hiroshima brand's CX-3 and CX-5 models, and that's despite what its price suggests – it costs more than both.
Yep, it may fight equally-sized things like the HR-V, C-HR and the upcoming Kona, but the price figure the CX-30 commands definitely punches more like things from a segment up, thus making a certain recently launched local alternative sound all the more tempting.
Of course, at TGM, we always try to find a silver lining in things, and the biggest one we we found in the CX-30 lay in the way it drove – perks of being based on the Mazda3 platform, we reckon. On top of which, there's this oil-burning variant featured to consider if you seek a slightly different flavour.
Cleverly, Mazda Malaysia specced this lone diesel offering in high fashion where it even stood as the range-topper before the AWD-equipped, petrol-powered flagship was announced. This, then, got our curiosity running, and it didn't take us long to get our hands on one and find out what life with one was like.
DRIVING – What is it like on the road?
Given how good it drove in its most basic and petrol-powered form, our expectations naturally ran high. As always, the news are both good and not so good, but its more of the former as far as on-road driving mannerisms are concerned with this oil-burner.
We start with the bad news first, which revolves around the brakes, specifically in the pedal action. Unlike the petrol-powered variants, which felt very progressive and precisely even, this oil-burner's felt surprisingly vague, and that's further compounded by its long travel action.
This is something potential suitors need to take note of and get used to, which is annoying given just how peppy this variant of the CX-30 is when getting off the line. Much of the latter is the result of this CX-30's 1.8-litre 4cyl turbodiesel heart's meaty 270Nm of twist available.
Typically, like most turbodiesels, it does feel a tad gutless in the higher revs, but it's no deal breaker considering how this torquey mill effortlessly gets this crossover's claimed 1,514kg bulk going and up to typical highway cruising speeds in a respectably rapid manner. Best of all is the ease of accessing said torque – from as low as 1,600rpm – thus making it ideal for lugging people and things about.
Apart from those quirks, this crossover offshoot based on the Mazda3 doesn't feel too dull nor harsh in its drive, offering a balanced setup with its springs and dampers to match and, in turn, imbue greater driving confidence. So as long as you don't mind the truck-like engine idle soundtrack, this oil-burner drives almost as good as its gasoline-powered twin so to speak.
ON THE INSIDE – Layout, finish and space
In terms of outright cabin space volume, Mazda's never topped this front. Mazda makes up for this through elegant minimalist design, a plush and comfy ambience, and having enough bells and whistles to make life on the road all the more bearable – GVC, active cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
If utility is what you're looking for, the HR-V is a better bet, but it will also mean losing out on much of the pretty and plush amenities this Mazda has to offer. Also, just before any of you claustrophobic lot ask, yes, life in the back seat of this Mazda feels way more welcoming than that of the C-HR's.
Effectively, if you already fancied the Mazda3's innards, then the CX-30's is a winner too, more so in this highly-specced diesel version that's brimmed with plenty. If we were to nitpick, reverse camera display didn't make full use of the sizeable 8.8-inch infotainment screen – similar effect to watching a 4:3 scale video on a 16:9 scale screen.
Beyond that, there are little to no faults with this crossover, more so considering the amount of standard safety features and driver aids it's brimmed with. We'll not get into details, but just know that the latter's count of things in acronyms justifies this crossover's title as the 'world's safest car'.
OWNING – Running costs and reliability
On this front, we're glad to report that most Skyactiv Mazdas rarely go wrong over time. If anything, Mazda Malaysia's offer of a 5-year or 100,000km warranty coverage plus a 5-year or 100,000km free service package ought to ease any doubts.
Drive this oil-burner in particular right and it promises to be quite frugal if its claimed 4.9 litres/100km average (NEDC) is anything to go by. In contrast, its petrol-powered (and front-wheel-drive) twin's claimed figures are a tad higher a 6.4 litres/100km (NEDC). Just don't forget to keep it to a strict diet of clean Euro 5M-rated diesel fuels that is.
The only uphill climb left then is meeting the CX-30's price, and this diesel-powered one commands quite a princely figure – RM167,673.60 excluding insurance until December 31.
Yep, unlike the bigger and equally-priced variants of its CX-5 sibling slotted above, which is a localised (CKD) product, the CX-30's status as fully-imported (CBU), Japan-made offering means prices will remain eternally stiff, as does its competition if price was everything in fight.
However, as with the case with most CBU Mazda's, we reckon those willing to meet its price, let alone venture into the left-field for this oil-burner, will not be disappointed. Let's not forget, there's also the CX-30's good looks to bask in too – something we know has won plenty of hearts and minds already.
In short, if you fancied a diesel flavour to your compact crossover dish, then this Mazda is arguably the tastiest of the lot. Tasty enough to convince prospects in meeting its stiff price tag? Perhaps...
Good looks, plush features and amenities, and drives respectably good too
Very pricey. Also not the most utilitarian in class, and that long brake pedal travel...
PRICE: RM167,673.60 (excluding insurance until December 31)