Ian Lamming celebrates a century of Mazdas with a special edition of the latest CX-30 .
JUST sneaked this one in as Mazda completes a year of celebrations.
This particular CX-30 comes heavily loaded to mark 100 years of making Mazdas.
Often, it needs a landmark to take a closer look at a Japanese manufacturer that is too easy to take for granted. When you do you find a host of did you knows.
For instance, did you know Mazda started life as a cork producer until industrialist Jujiro Matsuda took charge of Toyo Cork Kogyo Co and transformed the business first into a machine tool producer and then a vehicle manufacturer. I did not know that.
Neither did I know that Mazda was the first Asian brand to win the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1991.
I did appreciate that Mazda commercially launched the first Wankel rotary engines for the iconic Cosmo Sport 110S, created the world’s best-selling two seat roadster in the Mazda MX-5, which has sold over one million cars since its launch in 1989 and with Skyactiv-X introduced the world’s first production compression ignition petrol engine.
What has been all too apparent along the way is that Mazda has had the courage to question common practices and forge its own paths in engineering and design, many of which others consider unfeasible.
So in an era where many are either turning to three-cylinder turbo-charged petrol motors or petrol hybrids, Mazda is happy to launch a hi-tech normally aspirated 2.0 – and that’s what you get in the latest CX-30.
The 100th anniversary model adopts a white-and-burgundy two-tone exterior/interior combination, inspired by high-grade versions of Mazda’s first passenger car, the Mazda R360 Coupe.
Snowflake White Pearlescent exterior paint contrasts with burgundy interior carpet and burgundy leather seats.
Additionally, the 100th Anniversary Special Edition models feature a host of bespoke touches including a unique badge on the burgundy floormats, key fob and embossed into the headrests. Externally, the same badge is on the wheel centres and the side of the car.
Vehicles arrive with a bespoke key presentation box and customers also receive a crafted, limited edition book documenting the 100th anniversary of Mazda, as well as a 1:43 model of the Mazda R360 that inspired the range.
Mazda’s 100th Anniversary models can’t fail to be collectable as only 100 examples are coming to the UK.
If you remember, CX-30 fits between CX-3 and CX-5 in the Mazda SUV range. I know, it should be CX-4, but four in Japanese (shi) means death and is to be avoided.
As it sits in the drive, resplendent in white livery, CX-30 is a very smart vehicle, eye-catching with its modern lines with attractive lights and hi-set rear end. It is nicely proportioned and good looking from every angle. I can see the appeal.
It’s the same inside. There are so may SUVs to choose from nowadays but if you value workmanship and quality then the feel of the CX-30 will suit you down to the ground. It feels expensive, well equipped and luxurious.
On a cold wet day the interior is particularly welcoming as you know the seats and steering wheel heat up quickly to make you cosy.
There’s a pleasant virtual dash and tactile materials, a transmission tunnel knob to operate the infotainment and satnav on the large dash screen and head-up display. It all feels very sumptuous.
It’s a manual, which prompts a quick eugh after a string of autos, until you start to drive and the gearbox feels like an MX-5 sports car. Nice short accurate shifts which are an absolute pleasure to use and remind me not to be so lazy in my driving. The 2.0 litre engine is refined and if you use the revs feels powerful thanks to the 180PS on tap. Ride, handling and grip are exemplary.
Making the CX-30 a special edition seems appropriate enough as it celebrates the latest incarnation of 100 years of innovative thinking and certainly worthy of popping the corks.
Mazda CX-30 100th Anniversary
Engine: 2.0 Skyactiv-X petrol
Top speed: 127mph
Combined MPG: 43.5
Transmission: Six-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 111