If you’ve been left perplexed as to where the CX-30 stands in Mazda’s model hierarchy, you have every reason to, but don’t. The simple answer is that car buyers around the world are still very smitten by SUVs while falling out of love with traditional body-styles.

So yes, when the CX-30 eventually arrives next year (probably first half of 2020), it is expected to co-exist with the more compact CX-3 and the larger CX-5 in the model line-up.

In fact, it may even encroach upon the price territory of the CX-5 as the CX-30 is built on the same C-segment platform as the new-generation Mazda 3, which retails between RM 140,000 to RM 160,000. Of course, the price prognosis could still change if distributor Bermaz Auto somehow manages to get the CX-30 into local production along with some government incentives.

Expect the CX-30 to arrive in Malaysia with the latest iteration of the 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G petrol 4-cylinder with mild hybrid system, mated to a 6-speed automatic.

Such is the demand for SUVs and crossovers that many carmakers are uncovering niches where none existed before. In the case of the CX-30, the gap which it’ll fill has to be where customers shied away from in recent years – C-segment sedan and hatchbacks.

The fully-imported Mazda 3 may be gorgeous but even if it’s offered in friendlier CKD prices, there won’t be as many takers as Bermaz would hope for, as proven by the last generation local assembled Mazda 3. Consumers appreciate the flexibility of SUVs and the higher seating position, they may not utilise all of the space all the time but knowing that you’re getting more car for the money is powerful.

The new CX-30 we checked out at the Tokyo Motor Show offers what the Mazda 3 can’t – a more spacious cabin with much better headroom for rear passengers, more accommodating foot space, a larger loading capacity at the back (430 litres) and a higher hip point that makes getting in and out easier, yet retaining all the sexy bits, premium quality and the latest tech of the new Mazda 3.

The exterior styling of the CX-30 is predictably Mazda, perhaps too derivative of the current Kodo look but it is still a rather handsome crossover. It may be the case that the CX-30 will end up cannibalising a certain portion of the CX-5’s sales, but the nett gains will eventually justify its existence.

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Denis Wong
In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.