We’ve seen new electric models recently, some from manufacturers with no previous experience in the EV market. one such example is the Mazda MX-30. it’s got a relatively modest 35.5 kWh battery and a 124-mile range. but it’s an important car for Mazda. with a history of large-capacity petrol engines, it needs this car to lower its overall co2 average. but is it just a box-ticking exercise, or is it a real rival for cars like the mini electric Renault Zoe, or even the Kia e-Niro?
When to expect? and Prices
The Mazda MX-30 is available to buy now, with first deliveries expected in spring 2021. prices for the flashy first edition model start from about $33,500. also, there’s a less expensive SE-L Lux version, costing about $31,000.
Standard kit includes 18-inch alloy wheels, led headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, and automatic lights and wipers.
inside, there’s a 7-inch driver’s display, a head-up display, and a 7-inch touchscreen for climate control. Android Auto and Apple Car Play are also standard operated on an 8.8-inch infotainment system that also includes satnav and Bluetooth.
In terms of design, Mazda has taken an evolutionary approach here rather than setting any kind of electric specific design language. in fact, from the front, it looks very much like the petrol-powered CX-30 albeit with a slightly less prominent grill. after all, it doesn’t need to send any cool air into the engine. from the profile, again it looks quite like the CX-30 with that tapering kind of coupe-like roofline.
At the back, you’ve got a very similar set of lights, and if it wasn’t for the badges and the lack of exhaust pipes you’d be forgiving for getting those two cars a little bit muddled. but if we can pull back to the doors that’s where the big party piece is.
Getting into the MX-30 the first thing you’ll notice is that it uses a similarly quirky set of rear-hinged doors to the ones you’ll find on the pioneering BMW i3. in reality it comes with the same frustrations experienced in the BMW. it’s difficult to access the rear seats without moving the driver or front passenger seat out of the way first, and the rear seats feel quite dark and claustrophobic. especially given the windows can’t be opened like the mini and despite its larger footprint the master probably makes more sense as a second car.
That’s a shame really because it feels really well built up here and well worth its not so second car price tag. and that’s all even though Mazda has used recycled plastic bottles on the door and cork on the center console. and you get loads of standard kit as we discussed earlier if you go for one of the top trim levels you get electric-powered seats a sunroof and a 12 speaker bow stereo. but enough of that we’ve not got long so let’s go for a drive.
Mazda MX-30 is a little impractical, but the area likely to generate the biggest criticism is the car’s range. it’s around 124 miles it falls around 20 miles shy of the mini electric, and can only go about half as far as the Renault Zoe before needing a charge. Mazda will tell you that this size of battery offers the best compromise between the environmental costs of manufacturing the cells and the benefits to the consumer. and it will probably insist that the average daily commute is less than 30 miles.
So if you can plug in at home overnight you’ll never come close to suffering any kind of range anxiety. speaking of plugging in Mazda says topping up from a home war box will take around 6 hours. while a 50-kilowatt rapid charge can take the batteries to 80 of their capacity in just 36 minutes. every model comes with two cables one for a three-pin plug and the other for a wall box and public charge points.
Driving and Handling
While the mx30 is obviously a front-wheel-drive electric car. it seems fair to draw parallels with the rear-wheel-drive petrol-powered MX-5 roadster. it feels very similar to that car from behind the wheel much in the way it handles it’s a little bit softer than something like the mini electric, but very nearly as fun to drive. while the mini will bounce you around with plenty of grip and loads of shove, the Mazda takes things a little bit easier. it’s softer and therefore more comfortable. it’s very quiet and it’s very refined and it’s actually a really easy car to drive. and actually one that’s quite easy to drive quickly.
It’s a shame then this car is perhaps not quite as fast as you’d expect, while the mini pins you back in your seat, the Mazda is just a little bit more leisurely. sure, there’s plenty of poke for overtaking. but if you use that instant shove away from junctions and traffic lights you might be a little bit disappointed. one thing I do quite like about this car is its sound generator.r now I don’t know what you can pick up on the microphone.
But many electric cars have something that makes it sound like a spaceship or something really futuristic whereas this Mazda has something that makes it sound a little bit like it’s got this tuned petrol engine. it’s really subtle, but it actually works really nicely and gives you a little bit more engagement a little bit more feedback that is otherwise missing in an electric car.
Through the corners, the MX-30 does feel engaging and it does a pretty good job of representing what you might imagine an MX-5 on stilts to feel like. there is quite a bit of body lean. but that gives you confidence and actually thanks to this car’s limited power output you actually end up driving this thing almost flat out much like you would in an MX-5.
But for many this car’s limited range will be the thorn in its side, 124 miles claims Mazda but in reality, it’s probably closer to 100 and if you drive it hard as we have at times on this test route it’s going to be closer to 80. that’s fine if you can plug in at home or at work but for many people that’s just not possible. and the idea of plugging in publicly every 80 to 100 miles is something of a sticking point. a Renault Zoe which offers double the driving range is a far more sensible bet.
On the whole, the Mazda MX-30 looks and feels the part.it’s perhaps a little bit softer than the mini but it’s very nearly as good to drive. and that interior thanks to its eco and sustainable materials, just feels really modern and high-tech. but while you can forgive the mini, and the honda in their short driving range, it’s a little bit harder to justify the further up the segments we go. but if the nx30 does fit your lifestyle then it’s easy enough to recommend just be sure it does, before taking the plunge.
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