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Five things we love about the Mazda CX-30

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The CX-30 could be seen as the high-riding, crossover alternative to the sleek and sophisticated Mazda3. Slotting in between the CX-3 and CX-5, Mazda is tackling the popular crossover segment, bolstering their range with SUVs and crossovers. In fact, the brand plans on launching even more in the coming years.

The CX-30 is the latest model to be released (if you exclude the BT-50) and goes up against the talented Volkswagen T-Roc, Hyundai Kona and Audi A2. Impressive competition, but the CX-30 can hold its own. Here are five things we love about the midsize crossover.

Styling

Style will always be subjective, but we think the Mazda CX-30 is a real looker. It may not boast the aggression of the T-Roc, the quirkiness of the Kona or the premium persona of the Audi Q2, but the CX-30 is a classy looker. Restrained and tasteful detailing works well with the Kodo design which Mazda uses. Teamed with a gorgeous metallic paint (such as Soul Crystal Red) the CX-30 is stunning.

Interior

Soft-touch plastics and materials create what is truly one of the best cabins in class. The interior is blessed with high-quality materials and damped switches. Everything feels expensive to touch, with only one or two questionable plastics hiding lower down. The R540 000 Individual model receives leather seats, with the driver's pew being electrically operated. Space is generous too, with plenty of room for passengers at the rear. Lastly, Mazda's infotainment system is an absolute joy to use, partly because the brand doesn't believe touchscreens are the way to go. The old-school scroller wheel is refreshing to use and intuitive.

Standard features

Mazda has always been generous with its standard features. Even the R469 000 Active enjoys a healthy does of specification, with seven airbags, air-conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, keyless-start and LED headlamps as standard. The R499 000 Dynamic receives a bit more, with climate control replacing the more basic air-conditioning found in the Active. Dynamic also gains rear park distance control. At R540 000, the range topping Individual model receives a reverse camera and 18-inch alloy wheels. All boast seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts and a full suite of electronic safety features.

Driving

Just one engine/transmission combo is available; a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol mated to a six-speed automatic. While we'd appreciate a diesel in the range (or indeed, a manual) the front-wheel driven CX-30 works well with this motor. 121 kW and 213 Nm of torque may not sound like much, but it is sufficient to haul the midsize crossover with ease. But it is the refinement that impresses. The engine can be a touch noisy when driven hard but, overall, it provides a wonderful companion for comfortable motorway cruising. What's more, the ride is superb - even on the 18-inch wheels.

Value

The value for money on offer is hard to ignore. It has been placed neatly in the middle of the Mazda range, giving buyers more choice. For example, the range-topping CX-3 is more expensive than the base-model CX-30. It depends on what you value most. Higher spec or more space and refinement? Similarly, the CX-5 base-model is priced cheaper than the CX-30 Individual. Mazda has given consumers plenty of choice to work with, in order to find the ideal SUV. But it seems that the CX-30 is the sweet spot, offering nearly all the space of the CX-5 for less money, will borrowing the gorgeous cabin from the 3.

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