IHAVE TAKEN to keeping a copy of Wheels in the seatback pocket of the Mazda CX-30.

That and an email from Victoria Police ought to prove to any testy roadside rozzer that this is a test car that requires driving, something I clearly canít reasonably do at my desk at home.

That said, a couple of other engagements have meant that my use has been strictly local, the CX-30 doing a sterling job of bumping up dirt tracks in the hills to spots where my partner and I can go for a walk in complete isolation. As a result, the†body surfacing that Mazda is so proud of is frequently plastered with mud.†Inwood claimed to need the CX-30 recently for a TV shoot, so I took it to a jetwash and removed the most egregious spatters only to find that the plastic body mouldings, which look pristine when wet, later dry to a muddy brown. A bit of elbow grease is required for these to come up clean.

As time passes, Iím appreciating some of the CX-30ís genuinely thoughtful touches. I love the subtle red line on the analogue speedo that indicates where the speed limit is.†The deep central storage box can keep all manner of gear out of sight when you leave the car for a few minutes, while the keyless go is a boon if, like me, youíre particularly pernickety about hand cleansing and cross-contamination.

One thing is irking me and itís the standard sat-nav. Itís directed me up roads that donít exist, and I havenít discovered a way for it to auto-dim the glaring white screen when the sun dips behind the horizon. Thankfully, thereís always Android Auto to the rescue. Iíve just treated myself to a†new subscription to the Tidal music streaming service to keep me sane at home, and flicking through tracks on Android Autoís interface is simple using the wheel-mounted controls.

The front-drive CX-30ís fuel economy, which looked worryingly high when Cam Kirby handed the vehicle over to me, has now settled nearer to what Iíd originally expected from it Ė a more modest 7.4 litres per 100km.†Good, but not great in the overall scheme of things, and still a little way off Mazdaís 6.6L/100km ADR figure.

Would I recommend the CX-30 to a friend? Certainly. Itís a very good thing, and the longer I spend with it, the more Iím keying into its lowmaintenance, easygoing personality. It just takes a bit of knowing.




Price as tested: $42,490

This month: 545km @ 7.4L/100km


I havenít figured out why the CX-30 needs two fuel gauges, displayed in such close proximity. Thereís both a digital meter with a range figure and an analogue-style needle gauge. Both agree with each other and both go down too quickly, due to the CX-30ís dinky 48-litre fuel tank.