If you are in the market for a compact SUV, you’re well-catered for, with an abundance of choice. The 2022 Mazda CX-30 G20e Evolve rises above the crowd though, offering a refined drive and sophisticated cabin for less than the equivalent Euro offering.
The hybrid CX-30 is a well-proportioned vehicle that looks more SUV than ‘lifted hatchback’ in the flesh. To the untrained eye, it is a photocopy of the CX-5, with a slightly shorter wheelbase, but that’s not a criticism.
On the contrary, the Japanese marque’s design language is modern, tasteful and inoffensive. We adore the CX-30’s humble grille, the sleek headlights that slash into it and the body crease that runs through the doors.
The real treat are the symmetric exhaust tips at the rear. The Evolve is fitted with silver 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, which also contribute towards its upmarket appearance. The paint palette is rather tasty too.
Our vehicle was finished in Snowflake White Pearl Mica, which we think is a standout, but there’s also Mazda’s signature Soul Red Crystal Metallic and Polymetal Grey Metallic, in a range boasting eight shades.
From the ringed taillights to the subtle roof spoiler, we find the CX-30 to be a handsome vehicle. However, we wonder how it would look without that plastic cladding around the wheel arches.
For many, Mazda is a ticket into accessible luxury, and the Evolve’s cabin certainly does not disappoint. In fact, we were astounded by the sheer build quality and extensive use of soft-touch materials throughout the interior.
Everything from the indicator stalk to the climate controls was premium to the touch. Well, apart from the cloth seats, as leather seats are only available in the Touring trim and above. The interior ergonomics are brilliant though.
Everything is where you would expect it to be, and thankfully, you won’t find a whacky gear shifter or touchscreen climate controls either. Your gauge cluster is a 7.0-inch TFT display, which can be configured to display various metrics at the push of a button.
While the screen is easy to read, the resolution is not what we would call crisp. Meanwhile, the 8.8-inch infotainment screen is slim and perfectly positioned. It’s too far forward to be operated as a touchscreen, so Mazda provides a swivel wheel to control the system.
It’s a breeze to operate on the fly and the system is reasonably intuitive. That said, the destination input screen was unresponsive for over 30 minutes during one of our drives. We’ll give Mazda the benefit that it’s a problem unique to this particular vehicle.
Besides, most buyers will likely use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are standard across the CX-30 range. The head-up display is a bonus, negating the need to take your eyes of the windscreen ahead too.
While it projects all other relevant information perfectly, the traffic sign recognition is often inaccurate when it comes to local speed limits. Overall though, the CX-30’s interior is a jack of all trades, and a master of none, and that’s a good thing.
It nails the fundamentals and prioritises ergonomics, which is exactly how a daily driver should be. Marketed as a family car, the CX-30 also boasts plenty of rear legroom and headroom, and it’s suitable for individuals over 190cm.
You have your usual armrest and rear air vents, but there isn’t much in terms of backseat amenities. Nevertheless, the eight-speaker sound system entertains the most ungrateful of brats on long journeys.
Though we never felt the need for a better stereo, Mazda will throw in a 12-speaker Bose system if you step up to the Astina trim. The practicality continues with ISOFIX anchor points and top tethers across the rear seats, making it perfect for young families.
The boot is reasonably generous too at 371-litres, trumping the 295-litres in the Mazda3 hatch which the CX-30 shares its underpinnings with. If you needed a reason to step up from the CX-3, the extra 107-litres of boot space should help your case.
While its perfect for your trip to the local IKEA, the real selling point is the 5-star ANCAP safety rating. As standard, you get a reversing camera, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and Mazda’s smart brake support, which can detect pedestrians and cyclists.
Being the G20e Evolve, our vehicle was also fitted with a slick 360-degree camera, and it made Sydney’s hellish carparks a little less spooky. On the road, it’s nothing short of supremely comfortable. Outward visibility is good all-around too, with no fatal design flaws.
There is only one thing you should be aware of: the passenger wing mirror is convex, while the driver mirror is flat. This means that the field-of-view in the driver mirror is a little narrower, but objects appear at an accurate distance. We were able to get used to it.
Under the bonnet is a naturally aspirated, 2.0L e-Skyactiv G inline-four engine, delivering a refined 114kW and 200Nm of torque to the front wheels. In the everyday commuter’s world, the Evolve has all the power you could possibly need.
The power delivery is smooth, the suspension is sophisticated, and you have the confidence to hit most potholes. It’s no Mazda MX-5, but the Evolve handles it 1460kg-kerb weight relatively well in the bends.
If you really need that extra punch, slap it into ‘manual mode’ and watch the revs climb. Note though, the gear changes in this 6-speed automatic transmission are a little sluggish.
We experienced the occasional lurch forward at low speeds, which we suspect may have something to do with either the transmission or the 24V mild-hybrid system.
While it makes the start-stop system almost seamless, the inclusion of the lithium-ion battery barely improves the combined fuel economy figure from 6.5-litres/100km to 6.3-litres/100km.
In other words, you may want to consider the non-hybridised, less expensive G20 Pure or G20 Evolve and spend the extra change on options. Depending on what wheels you choose, it should set you back around $42,000 drive away.
We could compare the CX-30 to dozens of compact SUVs, but we reckon the worthiest competitor is the Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style, which can be had for an identical price with similar options.
With a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, you can’t go wrong. The Evolve is a sensible purchase for practical folks – it’s worth a test drive. You can build your own on the Mazda website. If you’re keen to own one, and need finance, visit CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Mazda CX-30 G20e Evolve, contact your local Mazda dealer.