With its compact size, design tweaks and mild-hybrid efficiency there’s a lot to like about Mazda’s CX-30 SP MHEV Blackout Edition, but could they have done a little bit more? Mazda NZ gave us the keys for a few days to find out.
Alright, so when a vehicle brand usually releases a ‘Blackout Edition’, visions of jet black paint, black trim, black badging and black wheels immediately springs into my mind, however, this was not such a case when I first met my SP20 review model – in fact mine came in ‘polymetal grey’. (But as it turns out, you can get a myriad of colours including Soul Red and of course, black).
Size wise, the CX-30 sits below the CX-5 and above the CX-3, with its 4.4m (+120mm) length, 1.80m (+30mm) width and 1.54m (+5mm) height, offering more space for those inside too, more on that in a moment.
As with virtually all Mazda’s right now, the CX-30 SP wears its Kodo design with pride, with its profile in particular using light and shadow play to offer an eye-catching appearance regardless of the weather. The Blackout Edition enhances this further with deep black 18-inch alloys, black mirror caps, black roof spoiler and black privacy glass for the rear.
Under the bonnet lies an e-SKYACTIV G 2L with a 24-volt mild hybrid system, which despite the model’s SP title, isn’t the most performance ready heart in the CX-30 range (for that you’ll need to look at the GTX). However the 114kw at 6,000rpm and 200Nm at 4,000rpm, is more than sufficient to get you around town and beyond.
The MHEV system does add an extra (albeit not massive) dimension to this CX-30 variant, offering 6.3L/100km (+0.2 over the GSX) in fuel-efficiency and emissions of 165g/km (WLTP) a reduction of 4g/km, and runs on 91 octane. Every little helps and I guess it all adds up over time.
The interior has been enhanced too, with its cloth, black/grey furniture made mode sporty with some contrast red stitching, a recessed 8.8-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an 8-speaker stereo. The rest of the cabin is Mazda through and through, with a minimised and uncluttered feel, upmarket finishes in well-used touch points and an immediate sense of belonging.
Being slightly larger than the CX3, the CX-30 gives the cabin an extra breath of room, meaning that, particularly those in the rear, there’s minimal sardine feel. What’s more, Mazda’s attention to NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) means that on the road, the cabin is quiet and the ride less coarse.
Something that the front wheel drive Mazda CX-30 SP MHEV does have in spades, is cornering confidence. Despite being classed as an SUV, its ground clearance is only 175mm so is still pretty low to the floor below, and when you combine this low-ish centre of gravity with Mazda’s upgraded G-Vectoring Control Plus suspension, you can take the curves like a champ as the advanced system works seamlessly behind the scenes keeping you on the straight and narrow should you run out of talent (as if).
Having a compact family dynamic like mine means that in terms of size, the CX-30 fulfils and surpasses most of my physical demands. It’s small enough to nip around the city and outlining ‘burbs and yet spacious enough to take five of us to the game or venture beyond the city limits. The MHEV SP Blackout Edition is just the icing on top.
The additions are subtle, baby steps even, but they all seem to add up. It is a more attractive model and therefore easier to spot at the mall carpark. The interior feels elevated and modern and with Mazda’s suite of driver and safety aids, including head up display and traffic sign recognition, it’s a compact SUV that protects all inside (and those outside too).
On top of the above is the MHEV system that again, albeit small, reduces costs on both your wallet and the environment, which has to be a good thing.
Last but not least is its value, the Mazda CX-30 SP MHEV Blackout Edition sits just above the GSX in price but comes oozing with extras, and not just the black ones. So, summing up, it may be mildly-hybrid and mildly-black but it really is full on Mazda.