The Mazda CX-30 is one of those models that has managed to completely evade us, until now. We recently got our hands on the Mazda CX-30 Carbon Edition to bring you this review.

Mazda, like so many other automakers, has moved its focus towards offering a raft of SUV/crossover models. Half of its local range consists of these high-riding options. The least known, according to those we asked and who saw it for the first time, is the CX-30.

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Third Prong

The Mazda CX-30 is the third prong in the company’s local crossover line-up. It follows on from the smaller CX-3 and larger CX-5. The CX-30 is based on the Mazda3 hatchback and shares some of that car’s styling cues.

Mazda’s design language of late has been on the money. While some brands polarise opinion, all who encountered the CX-30 were complimentary about its appearance. The slim LED headlamps, smooth lines, tense surfaces and slightly shallow greenhouse lend it an air of sportiness.

The Mazda CX-30 Carbon Edition, which is the newest variant of the range, boasts a few stylistic differentiators. First up are the black, 18-inch alloys. These are complemented by black mirror caps. Both add to the standard black body mouldings.

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The Carbon Edition treatment continues into the cabin. Most noticeable of the changes is the adoption of cloth upholstery for the seats. These, along with the upper sections of the door trim, dashboard and knee pads, feature red stitching. As this was our first encounter with the CX-30 we were impressed by the sense of solidity in the cabin. The loan unit had higher-than-usual mileage for a test car but it still displayed no signs of hard use. 

A digital display integrated atop the facia is controlled by a scroll-click rotary dial between the seats. This system works well for us as we find it safer not to poke about a touchscreen while driving. Thankfully, Mazda has also kept a full set of independent controls for the standard, dual-zone climate control system. 

The infotainment system features Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free mobile phone operation. There is also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as two USB ports for further media options. Oh, and the screen also displays the animated graphics for the standard rear parking sensors.

Not Too Cramped

The aforementioned cloth covered seats are quite comfortable and supportive. We were surprised at how much range the driver’s chair provided. There seems to be enough space for occupants front and rear. We had a pair of adults on the rear bench, though admittedly not that tall and all four occupants seemed to be comfortable for our extended journey.

Mazda claims 300 litres of boot space, which places it near the top of its rivals in this regard. The boot shape is near square and the loading lip is almost flush with the boot floor. 

Old School

Mazda SA does not offer any option in terms of powertrains when it comes to the local CX-30 line-up. All derivatives are fitted with a 2,0-litre petrol engine. This naturally aspirated unit produces 121 kW and 213 N.m. The torque peak arrives at a comparatively high 4 000 r/min when compared to the bulk of its turbocharged rivals, which produce maximum twist effort at barely over idle speed.

There is also just a single transmission option in the CX-30 family. That is to say a six-speed torque converter automatic. The transmission is not the quickest to respond, certainly not as responsive as most of the twin-clutch units we’ve become accustomed to. However, there is a ‘sport’ mode as well as paddle shifters behind the steering wheel rim to speed up the process.

On The Move

Mazda’s generally tend to ride really well. After experiencing the company’s Miyoshi proving ground a few years ago, we know why. The 18-inch wheels are slightly firm over the harshest road imperfections, but resultant thump is never wincingly bad. Also, there is very little body roll for a car with a handy 175 mm of ground clearance.

As expected, the powertrain does need a good few revs to provide its best work. We often took control of the transmission’s cog-swapping to make safe progress. Our time with the car registered a fuel consumption figure of 8,5 litres/100 km, some way off Mazda’s claim of 6,6.


Mazda is in a strange place in the local market. Here is an automaker with a strong brand recognition, but one that doesn’t quite register in the minds of the new-car buyer. Many are, instead, moving to newer brands, often from the Far East, that offer a better value proposition.

Mazda, like so many others, has tilted its product offering towards the, now popular, crossover segment. The Mazda CX-30 Carbon Edition is a good addition to the range that adds a level of sportiness to attract prospective buyers. 

Model: Mazda CX-30 Carbon Edition
Price: R532 200
Engine: 2,0-litre inline four
Transmission: six-speed automatic, FWD
Max power: 121 kW
Max torque: 213 N.m
0-100 km/h: n/a
Top speed: n/a
Fuel consumption: 6,6 L/100 km