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April 12, 2021

How the 2021 Mazda CX-30 Embodies Beautiful Functionality

When beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you can be sure that the beholder has one discerning eye. And it caters to his own definition of beauty, of what is right. For instance, to a photographer, perspective is everything. That is, his own perspective and the emotions that he sees through the lens. In the same way that when you come across a car that feels like it was made for you, it is only you that can explain that undeniable connection. And with Mazda, connection is everything, as the brand has emphasized several times over—from its design philosophy to the meticulous streamlined detail that goes into every finished product.

But when we speak of beauty in the context of a car, it is an emotion that is felt, as much as it is seen. While Jinba-Ittai is mentioned repeatedly when it comes to Mazda, the case of the CX-30 is not simply about the driving experience. What is special about the CX-30 is that Jinba-Ittai extends to the entire vehicular experience.

That’s how it was when the car arrived in all its Soul Red Crystal glory. The CX-30 was simply the most adorable thing to me. It looked petite, but not really; longish, but not so much, either. Unlike the previous generation Mazdas, its sloped front hood was not as long and imposing, and the line that connects its nose to the elegantly curved hatch had no edge. The Kodo design philosophy also shined the brightest, seen particularly in the vehicle’s streamlined style that makes it one attractive crossover.

Sitting inside the cabin of the CX-30 was like fitting snugly into a cocoon. The CX-30 is decidedly smaller and is clearly not made for everyone—no one above the average male, that is. The low ceiling of the cabin meant that the doorway is particularly low, requiring the driver or passenger to bend and slide into the seat. However, for the right person, once inside, the seats fit like a glove, carefully hugging its passengers in place. For functionality, the layout and size of the dashboard and panel is complementing to the driver, with the standard and pertinent controls positioned within easy reach. The new design of the 8.8-inch monitor display also means that it is within the eye-level of the driver and its matte finish prevents any kind of glare from bright sunlight.

What is consistent in every Mazda is its elegant interior. The CX-30’s cabin is finished in premium leather details, from the seats and upholstery, to the steering wheel wrap, to trim. This sophistication extends to its audio acoustics, with the 12-speaker Bose Premium Sound System, now a staple in most Mazda variants and offering uncompromising sound quality, in whatever form of media connectivity that you choose. A point of consideration is that there is still a wait time for when you turn on the unit and expect the system to detect your device right away. In spite of the Mazda Connect feature, I find myself having to manually reconnect my device each time.

Still, despite these small nuances, the overall experience with the CX-30 is consistently seamless. The connection was present from the first time I met the car in our driveway, to the multiple times that I sat in its cabin, and more so when we traveled through Manila on lockdown. As the driver, being solidly wrapped in the seat meant that I was not sliding around with every turn that I make and I was comfortably supported from my back, down to my legs.

With a 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic, the CX-30 offered a smooth and peppy driving experience that could only be appreciated on a long, continuous drive. Being positioned lower near the ground meant that you could feel more of the unevenness of the road. However, it redeems itself with a steady suspension, allowing you to go over speed bumps without experiencing too much bounce and roll. This, together with the brand’s attention to detail, make the CX-30 a car that can be taken as a daily workhorse and also as a weekender.

Choosing the right—or, best—car for you should start with how it resonates from the get-go. Knowing that you will be spending nearly half your day on the road means that it is not enough for it to have a pretty face, but it should also carry with it an entire package. The Mazda CX-30 gave me just that kind of experience. It is not perfect, but the pros outweigh the cons. I can say that the overall beauty of the CX-30 comes in how its size, functionality, and drive complement my needs and my style.

Words and Photos by Gen Tiu.


  1. The CX30 is never gonna "happen". Way too overpriced. Its a pretty car but everything else about it is just mediocre.

    1. it's pretty, reliable, comfortable, superb drive and handling (compared to its competitors), and has a premium interior.

      I agree that the performance is a bit meh. But you're not gonna use it on your track days anyways so people who actually wants one won't mind.

    2. nah man. Its not comfortable cause the ride is too stiff. Handling, even the old forester xt handles much better. Interior is far from premium. In reality it feels just the same as any other modern cars nowadays. It aint premium bruh. Lexus interior now thats premium. Mazda is said to have premium interiors because Mazda and the paid journalists says so. The readers, the sheep that they are did not bother to check, and just believe every crap mazda and reviewers throw at them

    3. Well, being a CX30 and LC200 owner, I guess I have pretty bad taste when it comes to comfortability.
      There's a difference between "premium" and "luxurious".
      Mazda started the premium interior philosophy in its price range way back in 2014-ish. They were already using soft touch interiors compared to their competitors which still used hard plastics. I'm no journalist nor a paid sheep, just trying to express my views about the car.
      Cheers, man!

  2. Nah all reviewers abroad are saying the same thing, this car is premium

    1. Subukan mo sumakay sa lexus o bmw. tapos subukan mo pumunta sa mazda. itong cx30 sa pinto pa lang ang nipis sa pakiramdam ng pinto. walang man lang heft. walang substance yung pakiramdam ng mga dials pati ng soft touch materials. ang layo sa premium. grabe hype ng mazda at reviewers na bayaran.. nadadala talaga kayo ano?

  3. Checked this out at the Bangkok International Motor Show and found the interior cramped. Visibility is an issue imo. Interior quality is better compared to similar Toyota and Honda models.


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