The five-door MX-30 is Mazda’s first ever production EV. With competitive pricing and a wealth of high-end technology, the SUV is powered by a small 35.5kWh battery that keeps the car’s weight down and also makes charging a quicker process. On the downside, the range is a tad limited although it is deemed ample for 95 per cent of daily commutes.
The goodPrice, running costs, design and performance
The badLow driving range and impractical rear doors
Mazda MX-30 – First Drive (2020)
Mazda has entered the race for pure EV sales with the launch of its first production electric car – it’s called the MX-30 and it’s quite a head-turner
Like all Mazda models, the latest SUV is very easy on the eye with a coupe-like styling and tapering roofline. It features a powerful grille, sweeping light clusters, tinted windows, neat alloy wheels and ‘freestyle’ doors which I will get to a little later on.
Move inside and the MX-30 is modern and upmarket in its design and layout with a keen vision towards sustainability and the environment. Mazda has replaced real leather upholstery with a vegan alternative, the door trim fibres are made from recycled plastic bottles and the floating console is created from heritage cork which has been harvested from the bark of trees without any felling.
Also with an eye on the planet and its limited resources, Mazda has opted to fit a relatively compact 35.5kWh battery to the car. This delivers a maximum 145PS and 271Nm of torque allowing the MX-30 to sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.7 seconds and onto a maximum speed of 87mph.
With prices ranging from £25,545 to £29,845, the MX-30 is available in generously-equipped trim levels called First Edition (limited to 500 models), SE-L Lux, Sport Lux and GT Sport Tech. We tested a left hand drive, pre-production model close to the range-topping GT Sport Tech grade.
Developing a smaller battery to drive the MX-30 is a feather in Mazda’s cap as it creates less CO2. And it’s also beneficial to the ride and handling due to its light weight. However, on the downside, the range is quite low compared to rivals with just 124 miles between charges. This is similar to the Honda e driving range and, as most daily commutes are far shorter, range anxiety shouldn’t be an issue.
The interior of the MX-30 is clutter-free with a wealth of creature comforts to explore. The powered driver’s seat and fully adjustable steering wheel means finding the perfect driving position is simple and there are memory settings to store your favourite set-ups.
There is plenty of high-end kit too with an upgraded 12-speaker Bose sound system, heated seats and steering wheel, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a head-up display, Bluetooth and a DAB radio.
All air conditioning functions are accessed via a seven-inch touchscreen and there is an additional 8.8-inch infotainment screen positioned on top of the dashboard where features are accessed via a rotary dial in the floating centre console.
And credit to Mazda for keeping the screen behind the steering wheel nice and simple. It still shows all the vital stats such as driving range, battery percentage and speed, along with the level of regenerative braking which can be adjusted via steering wheel paddles. But unlike many EVs, it doesn’t leave you suffering an information overload after a few seconds.
When it comes to performance, the Mazda EV remains true to the company’s tradition for developing exciting cars that deliver great all-round handling. The acceleration from a standing start is instant with the false engine noise offering a hint at the power levels being used.
The MX-30 fizzes along country lanes, but the power levels do seem to drop a little at about 45mph when the car is slightly less eager to deliver the goods. But it’s worth reminding ourselves that this Mazda will be mainly driven on fairly short daily commutes and for school drops.
The car is technically a five-door – however, it has those freestyle doors. Basically, the front doors open forwards just like normal, but the rear doors open backwards to create a clean opening free from B pillars. Sounds great apart from the fact that the rear doors cannot be opened without the front ones being opened first. In addition, passenger space in the back is a tad limited as is the view through the tiny rear windows which cannot be opened. Children will love the quirkiness of these doors, but it may not be too long before the novelty wears off.
The fairly soft suspension set-up helps protect occupants when the car hits unexpected bumps and dips, and it also feels nicely planted and balanced into tight bends. The MX-30 has beautifully weighted steering which is fairly light so ideal for weaving through busy city centre traffic and great for parking too.
The boot can swallow 366 litres of luggage, a limit that increases to 1,171 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. This capacity reduces to 341 litres and 1,146 litres respectively if the vehicle is fitted with the upgraded Bose sound system.
In addition, there are numerous storage compartments scattered throughout the car with lots of space beneath the floating console, front and rear cup holders, door bins, a glovebox and a sunglasses holder. There are buttons in the back of the driver’s seat to automatically tilt and slide the seat forward for ease of entry and exiting the vehicle which is handy for back seat passengers.
Another plus factor of fitting a small battery is the faster charging time of three hours from 20 to 80 per cent using AC power or 36 minutes using rapid chargers.
The MX-30 has just been awarded a maximum five star Euro NCAP safety rating and boasts the likes of blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, smart brake support, lane departure warning, hill hold assist, emergency lane keep assist, driver attention alert, a full suite of airbags and e-call with GPS. Our test model also featured a 360-degree camera view, front cross traffic alert, a rear smart brake alert system, plus cruising traffic support.
All in all, the Mazda MX-30 is another welcome addition to the growing fleet of pure electric vehicles on sale at the moment. And for anyone concerned about the limited driving distance between charges, there will be an extended range petrol-EV version introduced in 2022.