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Car review: I did it MyWay with the Mazda CX-30

Forget what you know about the humble Mazda. The brand new CX-30 is bringing out the big guns in the safety, efficiency and power departments. Muddy put it through its paces with a personalised MyWay test drive.

According to our latest reader survey 29% of you bought a car in the last year (compared to 18% nationally), so clearly keeping your set of wheels up to date comes fairly high on your priority list. But as we all know forking out for a new motor doesn’t come cheap, so you’ll want to get it right first time.

But let’s face it – who wants (or has time) to dissect reams of sales spiel about horse power, mpg and technical specs – yawn! Then there’s all that schlepping across the country to do test drives. Frankly it’s exhausting just thinking about it…

Enter the Mazda My Way experience, available from Milcars, Watford, where the car comes to you, (no more aimless navigating around random industrial estates – hurrah!). You can give it a whirl on your own patch, park it in your drive to try it for size and put it through its paces on your school or work run to see how it handles those familiar road bumps compared to your old wheels. Plus it comes with an expert to talk you through what all the knobs and buttons do in a language that actually makes sense to tech-phobes like moi. Trust me, it’s a breeze, and if you decide to buy the car they’ll deliver it straight to your door, and even pick it up when it’s time to go in for a service – now that’s the kind of convenience I need in my life.

‘Woah, hang on though – did you say Mazda?’ I hear you ask. Yep, I did, but before you balk at the idea of forgoing your allegiances to those trusty brands like Volvo/Audi/VW (delete as appropriate), allow me to steer (sorry) you in the direction of the brand new (literally, it launched mid-Jan) Mazda CX-30. Believe me, there’s a whole lot to love about this family friendly SUV, as I discovered when I took it for a spin… Here’s my two pennies’ worth (without the boring bits)!

 

THE CAR

Mazda is having a moment. Ok, it’s a brand that’s been around forever, but recently it’s been quietly pipping some of the top players to the post on loads of fronts, from safety features to fuel economy, seeing it slowly but surely creep into the premium car category. And the latest model to hit the forecourt (and blow its rivals out of the water) is the CX-30.

This slick-looking SUV replaces the CX3 which has recently gone out of production, and brings with it more boot space (an essential for a family car – it’s cavernous enough to fit buggies and baggage comfortably for short and longer haul drives). In fact, it has the equivalent amount of interior space – that includes legroom in the back – to the Mazda’s largest SUV, the CX5, but with the bonus of a smaller external footprint, making it a bit more manageable to park. Win, win! Plus it’s got bags of other features too – more on that later.

There are five variants, each with different spec packages which keeps things simple – you get what you get with each one, without being bamboozled by options for added extras. The only exceptions are an optional upgrade to metallic paint (£500-£800) or switching to stone colour leather from standard black (£200) on the top model. While some people like the flexibility of choosing exactly what features they want, this often nudges the starting price up astronomically, so personally I prefer the the Mazda way, as it means you won’t be stung with hidden costs on your final bill.

I drove the top spec model – the GT Sport Tech. As I already drive an automatic I found it super easy and quick to adjust to. And although it’s an SUV it felt pretty low to the ground so no need to heave yourself up to the driving seat (or strain to lift the kids into the back either). The seat adjustments allowed me to find the perfect  position making for a really comfortable drive.

 

THE TECHY BITS

Now for the science bit. So the CX-30 is what’s known as a ‘mild hybrid’. In simple terms it stores up kinetic energy when you brake to boost acceleration and power the electrical instruments inside (much like an electric car) which reduces your overall fuel usage, (so fewer trips to the petrol station!). Plus the engine will cut out at junctions and wait til the last moment to kick in again, so it’s not running for a second longer than it needs to. Clever stuff. What’s more, the Skyactiv-X engine (available on the top models) puts this bad boy in the same category as a diesel in terms of MPG (around 40-45 for everyday use), speed and power, but with the environmental benefits of petrol.

And safety-wise this car can’t be beaten – literally! It’s got a 99% industry rating, making it the safest car on the road right now, bar none. How’s that for peace of mind? Here’s why: it monitors blind spots and can even act as your eyes when you’re pulling out of a blind junction, thanks to something called cross-traffic alert; the camera detects obstacles and triggers the car to automatically brake if it thinks you haven’t reacted in time; all models have front and rear sensors – a must if you do a lot of parallel parking! – plus most have an in-built rear reversing camera, too; the top model will even alert you if it detects that you’re nodding off or blinking too much so you can take a break (thanks to a sneaky internal camera).

And if that’s not robot-car-of-the-future enough for you it even intervenes if you start drifting into another lane and gently nudges you back into position – I tested it out (on a nice clear road of course!) and you can actually feel the steering wheel fighting against you. I was a big fan of the heads-up display too, where  your MPH, speed limit and next direction (if you’re using sat nav) are projected onto the windscreen at eye level (so you can keep your eyes fixed on the road).

It’s also got adaptive cruise control which sets a safe distance between you and the car in front, and slows you down accordingly, so there’s no need to keep re-setting your speed. Finally – a nifty little feature – the wing mirrors automatically angle downwards when you reverse park. Ok, it’s a bit more ‘want’, than ‘need’ but I’m forever adjusting my mirrors to park so I’m on board with anything that makes life a bit easier.

 

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: It’s an absolute no-brainer as a main family car, thanks to its top-notch safety specs, spacious interior and affordability. Equally it would make a great runaround second car thanks to the clever tech which saves fuel (which = more money in your pocket), at every opportunity.

Not for: Those who can’t overlook the allure of a premium badge, or who want more freedom to tailor the specs with lots more add ons – each to their own, but for me part of the appeal is having limited options and clear pricing levels, so there are no nasty surprises when it comes to coughing up the cash.

The damage: The estimated on-road pricing ranges from £23k-£33.5k which, for a car with so many bells and whistles feels like a bit of a steal, when you compare it to the straight-off-the-forecourt cost of its nearest rivals.

Fancy a test drive? Give Milcars Mazda a call to book your MyWay experience, and they’ll arrange a time to bring the car to you (it’s totally free by the way). They cover Herts and most of Beds and London, but if you live further afield they’ll be sure to try and accommodate you where possible.

Milcars Mazda, Otterspool Way, Bushey, Watford WD25 8HL. Call 01923 708328.

 

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