N OBODY COMMENTED much on the Mazda CX-30 while it was in my tenure. Despite being one of the first on the road in Oz, not a single person asked what it was. Itís pretty much the invisible car, a small SUV in a vast ocean of rival offerings, not helped here by its dour grey paint finish.

Where Kirby was mobbed by groupies wanting to borrow his Jimny and Inwood was desperately cobbling up excuses not to let the keys to his Fiesta ST leave his person, I knew that the Mazda would always have my seat, mirrors, and phone settings in place.

Despite its anonymity, I found myself growing to enjoy its quietly handsome styling. Iíd find myself catching a glimpse of the CX-30 on the CCTV camera monitors at home and being struck by the coupe-like swoop of the glasshouse. Likewise, the cabinís considered finish, quality touch points and unfussy practicality were features that grew in importance over time.

Strangely, for a Mazda at least, it was the way the CX-30 went down the road that left me largely cold. While the ride quality was good and the steering accurate, the tyres on the CX-30 and the vehicleís comatose body control never really got me juiced to drive it. Couple that with a flat-sounding 139kW and itís not a recipe for much in the way of excitement.†

Dial things back, accept that the CX-30 isnít going to be much of a corner carver and itís all perfectly pleasant. And for many people in this price bracket, perfectly pleasant is more than an acceptable measure of success. It does have its quirks, though. The keyless unlocking seemed to have a mind of its own, usually managing to figure out when the key†was in your most inaccessible pocket and then refusing to unlock the door when giving the handle a tug.

Despite some minor peccadilloes, the CX-30 was a very easy car with which to live, with excellent reliability, decent comfort levels and steadily improving fuel economy. In recent months it was routinely dipping into the sixes, which isnít far off its ADR of 6.6L/100km for this front-driver.

On test against the Kia Seltos and Toyota C-HR, the CX-30 proved the lightest, quickest, best finished and most comfortable. Its 317-litre boot may be an impediment to family buyers, though. Better for qualityconscious empty-nesters. People of my demographic, in short.

We tend to think of pleasantness as a measure of damning with faint praise when assessing cars. Itís usually a fallback option in lieu of overt talent. Yet sometimes making a car quietly endearing and fuss-free creates the basis of a very solid longterm relationship. The CX-30 is a slow burn yet, over time, youíd never regret your purchasing decision.




Price as tested: $42,490†

This month: 1846km @ 6.9L/100km

Overall: 5279km @ 8.0L/100km