Mazda put a new player on the field when they introduced the CX-30, a new small SUV on the roster that slots between the CX-3 and CX-5.

One might ask why not a CX-4 as that seems to be the likely candidate for a name, however, there is already a CX-4 that is available in both China and Japan. Being the global company that it is, Mazda had to come up with a new name for the new model, hence the all-new CX-30 was born.

The SUV was introduced to the U.S. market last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is the second model from Mazda to use its latest evolution of Kodo design.

Mazda points out that, in using this type of design, the vehicle has both the flowing beauty of a coupe along with the bold proportions of an SUV. After a week with the sleek new compact SUV, we had to agree that it had both coupe-like and SUV qualities that we came to adore.

One of our favorite things was how easy it is to get in and out of the new CX-30 as the designers have moved the seating position higher, not only to give the driver a better field of view but also to make it easier to get in and out.

Additionally, the door panels have been designed with a slightly rounded shape, so if you happen to rub your leg along them getting out, it feels more natural.

This and other design elements contribute to the human-centric approach to making all Mazda vehicles more inviting and more a part of the owners’ lives more than just a way to get around. Mazda has tried to think of every little detail and redefine it for the betterment of the owner.

A slight angle to the footwall in the rear seat makes for a better, more-relaxed ride for passengers. Moving the bass speaker from the door to the cowling by the front occupants’ feet makes for better sound and also shuts out road noise from coming in through the front door.

To even give a deeper ownership experience this year, the company is introducing Mazda Connected Services, which will allow owners to keep tabs on their vehicle through an app on their phone.

This app will allow for remote locking and unlocking of doors, remote start, along with checking oil information and tire pressure. It also will be able to notify the owner of recalls and other important information from Mazda and will make the vehicle Wi-Fi ready as a hotspot if desired by the owner.

One of the favorite parts of our test drive was the way the front seating wrapped itself into the entire dashboard, drawing us in each time we were in the SUV. The door panels were curved and flowed seamlessly into the dashboard, with the 8.8-inch infotainment screen slightly angled toward the driver to make sure it was easy to read and understand.

The center console consisted of a shifter, controls for the infotainment through a rotary dial along with cup holders that all seemed to be placed in the perfect position for us to reach. Getting used to the Mazda control for the infotainment screen may take a couple of days, but after a while it became second nature for us to use.

We were provided with the premium edition of the CX-30 that came with most every upgrade offered by the company, which of course made the drive even better, however the price was very competitive coming in at just over $30,000 before the delivery charges were added.

The new Mazda comes with a 2.0-liter engine and a class-leading 189 horsepower that was more than enough motivation to propel the compact SUV around. We managed a very nice 30 miles per gallon combined after close to 530 miles of driving. This was 3 miles per gallon better than the EPA estimate.

The premium package also came with something we would not have expected on a vehicle under $30K, and that was a large full-color, heads-up display that provided all kinds of information on the screen in front of the driver’s eyes. Speed, cruise control information, radio and even when there was another vehicle in our blind spot it was put on the windshield.

This just added to the value of the new I-Activsense system inside the SUV that uses both infrared camera and infrared LED to monitor the driver and how he is doing. It keeps track of if his eyes are open, the number of times he blinks, and the angle of his mouth and face in order to determine if he is drowsy or fatigued.

The system worked very well as we were able to take a Sunday drive down into Sanpete County, and after about two hours of drive time, the Mazda was recommending that we take a break from the road. It is very cool technology that convinced us to take a break when it was needed and also made us more aware of our surroundings.

The CX-30 Premium came loaded with all kinds of other great safety features including radar cruise control with stop and go, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, adaptive forward lighting, forward collision warning and braking, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.

Originally, we would have thought our needs would be more along the size of the CX-5, but after a week we thoroughly enjoyed the new CX-30 and could see us as empty-nesters getting very used to driving this awesome new addition to the compact SUV lineup.

Base price: $29,600

Price as driven: $30,225

Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville, Utah.

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