When your car is reckoned to be one of the best designed three in the world by people who know, then you must be pretty happy about it.

Step forward the Mazda CX-30 which ironically is in competition against one of its garage mates – the Mazda3. Not bad to have two of three in this competition with the Kia Telluride being the third. Choosing the vehicles is an 86-member jury of auto journalists from 25 countries. 

But Mazda is used to this attention. Four years ago the Mazda MX-5 won the top design award and that it is without doubt one of the world’s most beautiful cars.

The CX-30 is a new compact SUV which was launched at the end of last year and along with the Mazda3, which is in its fourth generation, are available with the revolutionary Skyactiv-X engine. 

This is the world’s first mass-production petrol engine with compression ignition for superior performance and efficiency. It has the Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which helps deliver effortless Jinba Ittai (driving fun,) and Mazda’s mild hybrid system, which is standard on all petrol versions of the two vehicles. No diesel engines available.

The CX-30 sits between the CX-3 and CX-5 and the two petrol engines have spark plug controlled compression ignition technology which is said to combine the free-revving performance of a petrol engine with the fuel economy of a diesel. All petrol engines feature mild hybrid technology using an electric motor and a 24V lithium-ion battery mounted between the wheels.

Prices start at £22,670 and even though it’s a petrol model you’ll get almost 50 miles to the gallon with some sensible driving. There is a towing capacity of 1.3 tonnes and the transmission is available with either a six speed auto or six speed manual. And there is also a four wheel drive option.

The CX-30 is basically a family hatchback which can easily fit in four adults or two adults and three children.

While the CX-30 is bigger than the Mazda3 it is surprisingly shorter yet is taller, has more space with more legroom and headroom. Go figure that! There is even a decent sized boot with twin level floors and plenty of cabin storage. 

Like all Mazdas there is always good interior quality and every version gets a high-grade infotainment screen, a big and clear semi-digital instrument panel, soft touch surfaces and all well designed.

The CX-30 has superb sound insulation. Among other things, Mazda uses a “two-wall” structure with space between the floor carpeting and body panel to produce a higher quality of cabin peace. Buyers have a choice between the newly developed 8-speaker Mazda Harmonic Acoustics and 12-speaker Bose® premium audio system with BassMatch. 

The latter is based on a speaker layout concept conceived in house at Mazda. It places audio components in unconventional locations inside the vehicle to achieve clearer, smoother and more balanced audio through its BassMatch system configuration. 

On the road the CX-30 is excellent with tremendous handling. It is a pleasure to drive and one of those cars that you’re happy to stay that extra mile just because the car is fun to drive.

It has been awarded the maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP in its latest series of tests. Following the Mazda6 last year and the All-New Mazda3 earlier this year, this is the third Mazda to achieve an overall five-star rating under the new, more stringent 2018 Euro NCAP crashworthiness ratings. Basically that means the CX-30 is among the safest cars on the road.