It’s that level between the ‘Rangerovosphere’ and declining ‘Hondosphere’ in terms of scientific-sounding made-up automotive layers. Some experts (read: me) occasionally refer to this as the ‘Premi-ish Zone’, a boundary which is both accessible, and yet pretty jolly nice. Batting outside of one’s average if you will.
Our long-term 2020 Mazda CX-30 G25 Astina AWD is very much a resident of this region, or at least it tries to be. In this update, I’ll look at what makes the CX-30 a solid premi-ish player and where it probably needs to work a bit harder.
As a recap from our introductory instalment, our CX-30 is the range-topping (until the Skyactiv-X X20 Astina hits showrooms) $43,490 AWD G25 Astina, finished in Machine Grey (a $495 option) over the Pure White leather interior. It’s a full-house package with such niceties as a 360-degree surround camera, adaptive cruise control, 18-inch wheels and DAB radio all part of the standard equipment list.
Under the bonnet is Mazda’s 2.5-litre naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G petrol engine, with 139kW and 252Nm available, and the car is driven via a six-speed automatic transmission and an active constant all-wheel-drive system.
Now I know that numbers rarely sound luxurious, so we’ll first turn our attention to the CX-30’s premium positioning in terms of style.
Does it fit in amongst Lexus and Benzes parked along the Hawksburn shopping strip? Well, yes. Mazda has done a great job of being a brand who’s product is universally suited, regardless of the demographic. Pick any suburb in any city and the CX-30 won’t look out of place.
Better yet, pop your keys down on a coffee table and, assuming we’re able to meet friends again, the new square Mazda fob won’t stand out in any measurable way.
It improves when you step inside, where the soft white leather is among the softest I have ever experienced.
The cabin of the CX-30 really is excellent, well the front is at least. The materials feel high quality and everything feels very solidly built. Aside from being lovely and comfortable, the seats are supportive and while the driving position isn’t much different to the Mazda3 hatchback, the new dash and instrument binnacle design envelops you as a driver, making it a very nice place to spend time.
The resolution on the 8.8-inch media screen is sharp, and the interface more cleanly designed than what you find even in the updated CX-5. The maps look good, the depth of personalisation is plentiful and the speed to connect to Apple CarPlay is also impressive, giving a very upmarket feel and sense of usability,
Sure, a touch-interface would make it easier to use when parked, or for passengers to stab at, but the MZD Connect ‘jog wheel’ is functional and the comparisons to the early BMW iDrive implementation can’t be a bad thing.
The driver tech works well, the knurled dials are nice, mix all of that in with heated seats and a heated steering wheel, and the CX-30 from the driver’s seat could almost be described as lavish.