by Seán Creedon

Mazda produce excellent cars, but for some reason they are not huge sellers in the Irish market. The Japanese brand has many loyal customers here, but while they are always in the sales charts, they rarely make the Irish Top Ten.

The only Mazda car I ever owned was a Mazda 323 many years ago. It was a fine car, but there was a problem with the CV joint in that edition. You would hear a ‘clicking’ sound when turning the steering wheel and eventually it needed a repair job. But that was a long time ago when we were all young.

Last week I drove the chunky looking CX-30. The test car came in a Soul Red Crystal and externally it looked very impressive, as the black cladding around the base and wheel arches, added to the SUV look. The seats were very comfortable and easily adjustable and there were plenty of storage areas in the cabin for drinks etc.

However, I wasn’t mad about the interior colour scheme. The dash had a minimalist look to it. There was a strange mix of grey and brown which didn’t do much for me. However, a white roof did lift the interior decor. Lots of extras like heated front seats.

The CX-30 shares the same platform as the Mazda 3 and was very classy to look to it. The grille at the front was attractive and was complimented with slit-eyed lights. The rear end was neatly tucked in.

Effectively this version slots in between the smaller CX-3 and the larger CX-5. Mazda claim some of its interior dimensions are up to CX-5 size, but the leg room for the back seat passengers was a bit tight. If you have only two back seat passengers there is an arm rest with cup holders, which can be folded down.

Naturally my passengers paid a lot of attention to the dash, but for the driver it’s all about the road ahead. And the CX-30 has a brilliant ‘heads up’ display where in your line of sight you can see the speed limit on the road you are travelling on and the speed that you are doing. Every car should have this service.

The boot is a decent size and there is a ‘well’ where you could store a spare wheel, but that space is taken up by the Bose sound system box.

I realise that the competition is stiff in the Irish motor trade right now with cars like the Seat Ateca, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq and Toyota C-HR all competing with the CX-30 for new customers. But the CX-30 should be well able to compete with them all.

Mazda cars are full of exciting innovations and while the price of their cars could not be described as ‘cheap,’ neither are they massively expensive.  

Prices start at €29,495, while my test car was priced at €34,545. Road tax is €200. I always like cars with high driving position and all my passengers found the CX-30 very comfortable on the road. There was certainly plenty of power in the 2.0-litre petrol engine of my six-speed manual version.

So there you have it. It’s a classy looking car and it certainly caught the eye in various shopping centre car parks that I visited. But of course car sales are done in the garage forecourts. Take a test drive; I think you will be impressed.