Mazda, a brand that have always innovated when it comes to engine tech, always pushed the humble diesel and electric to sip fuel as little as possible.
Originally they weren’t sold on electric propulsion, but with governments around the world saying they’ll ban the sale of ICE vehicles within the next 10 years, well, things have had to change.
Alas, Mazda have always done what Mazda do best. Looked at the problem and thought of their own solution, not bowing to mainstream pressures or doing things the easy way.
As you can see by the plethora of HUGE SUV EV’s on the market today, you can’t get long range without a lot of batteries, which makes cars inherently bigger, inherently heavier (unless you’re Tesla).
From the start Mazda have focussed on weight and a range that people can live with for the majority of their driving needs.
Introducing the Mazda MX-30, the first fully electric Mazda. It has a 30.5 kWh battery, a real world range of just over 100 miles, a weight of 1,645 kg and a 0-60 time of 9.4 seconds.
Who could possibly want more for their daily commute, the weekly shop or maybe taking the kids to and from school?
Prices start at £26,045 – now this is the sort of money most people can afford for an EV. Not the £43,490 of a 270 mile Tesla Model 3.
Part SUV, part coupe, the MX-30 can look a little stumpy and ungainly from some angles. Those rear hinged hidden doors are straight from the RX-8.
It’s like a chunky, baby SUV. Think of it as a Nissan Juke but a bit lower, with a far subtler design.
Across the four trims, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport Tech and the First Edition, the only external changes are tinted windows, the C pillar styling strip and bright red rear lamps. Wheels stay the same, bumpers etc, you’ll need a super keen eye to tell the models apart when on the road.
Performance isn’t high on the list when it comes to the MX-30, yes, you do get that shove in the back that EV’s are known for. Off the line it’s just as peppy as any other electric car out there, as the speeds increase that torque kick tails off. But it’s still a hell of a lot better than the Citroen eC4.
At motorway speeds you can plant your right foot and the pace builds relatively quickly for an overtake. It’s not the sedate, mundane, watch gazing affair as with the Citroen.
Even though the MX-30 weighs more, has a slower 0-60 time, less torque but a handful of horses more. It just goes to show you can make a budget EV that drives as an electric car should.
Mazda always nail the handling, the MX-30 is no exception. Power is delivered via the front wheels only, there’s no all-wheel drive offering, nor dual motor to be seen here.
They use the clever torque vectoring system found across other models in their range to help get that power down, it works wonders and allows you to corner pretty damn quickly given the weight and size of the MX-30.
Around town you don’t even notice that 9.1 second 0-60 sprint, anything below 40 MPH is dealt with incredibly efficiently.
Ride is a little on the stiffer side as with the majority of Mazda’s, thankfully there are some deep sidewalls to aid that cushioning effect. Alas, we’d much rather this than a wallow, leaning EV like the MG ZS.
There are no drive modes to be had which is refreshing as they can be horrendously gimmicky. Just get in and drive, as it should be.
You can however make it a ‘one pedal’ vehicle by turning up the regenerative braking. You do this by yanking on either the right or left paddles to increase and decrease the aggressiveness.
On its highest setting you have to simply let off the accelerator and the anchors are already trying to slow you down as quickly as possible.
As for the lack of range, please. Get over yourself. Drive for a week, note down how many miles you’ve covered and see if it’s under 100.
If it’s that much of an issue the MX-30 can fast charge via 50kW DC, going from 0-80% in just 40 minutes, meaning 15-20% to 80% should take 30 mins or less – that’s the beauty of such a small battery.
Inside is where the MX-30 really holds its own, the design and materials throughout are superb. You’ll find cork and what looks like wool along with the usual high quality plastics found across the whole Mazda range.
The cupholders are niftily hidden beneath the cork centre console, each one with a hinged lid to keep them covered when not in use. Heating controls are displayed on an LCD in front of the gear selector, they display this full time, so no swapping or faffing while driving.
No idea why they kept the gear stick, maybe familiarity. But it could have been done away with in favour of push buttons, de-cluttering the centre console even more.
Those woollen looking seats are incredibly comfy, you could easily eat up long distances in the MX-30.
Infotainment is the standard Mazda affair, a sleek 7-inch screen sits atop the dash all controlled via the central jog-wheel. While the screen size pales into insignificance compared to others in the EV domain it remains unobtrusive and is still one of the easiest to navigate on the market.
Rear seat legroom is on the cosier side, fine for kids, but the high windows do make it a rather dark place to be.
At the very back, boot space measures in at 366 litres which is roughly what you’d find in a mid-sized family hatchback.
Mazda MX-30 Conclusion
Mazda have created the perfect urban EV runabout, for some it’s all the car they could ever need. For others an ideal second car. Longer journeys can be achieved with a short stop at a charging station, which for most wouldn’t be an issue.
The fact of the matter is that precious few car owners can see that 100 miles of range is perfectly fine. They’re of the staid mindset that ‘Well, my car can do 300 to a tank, why would I accept a car that can’t do that?!’
How often do any of us drive 100 miles on the regular? It’s a cretinous argument.
Interior quality is sublime, looks are mostly spot on, the range is perfectly fine, and it drives superbly.
For £26,000 there’s no other EV I’d rather buy right about now.