Mazda MX-30 Review
This is Mazda’s first mass-market all-electric production car. Therefore, the stakes are high, as this is likely to set the tone for what is to come from the Japanese manufacturer.
Select's rating score* - 3.3 / 5
At a Glance
In addition, as some families abandon traditional hatchbacks in favour of SUVs, the crossover segment, which blends the two, is becoming more popular. And it is getting increasingly crowded – so this is a car Mazda needs to get right.
Appearances are curious but also quite appealing, with a front that is a rare sight on electric cars: what appears to be an actual grille along with two clear-glass headlights on either side of it. Many Mazda's nowadays have big, chunky grilles.
But it isn't the case here, as there is quite a bit of blank bodywork underneath it, with a rudimentary and rugged-looking lower grille built into the front bumper.
Down the side, it is smoothly shaped, with only a modest crease towards the bottom of the door. At the same time, a thick side skirt accentuates the SUV styling, incorporating the wheel arches. Meanwhile, the blackened roof (available on middle and upper trims) stands out, thanks to beefy rear pillars and a sloping roofline. The rear doors open backwards, too.
The rear is also somewhat different, with plenty of space. The taillights on each side look like robotic eyes, with a rounded telescope shape sprouting out from the centre of each one. Again, a sizeable rear bumper adds to the rugged off-roader appearance.
Despite the Mazda’s less-than-subtle hints at being an off-roader, its roof is coupe-shaped, while from other angles, it looks like a family hatchback.
There are three trims available.
The entry-level is SE-L Lux, which includes 18-inch alloys, cloth upholstery, climate control, and radar-guided cruise control with stop and go function. You also get black electrically adjustable and power-folding heated door mirrors, a DAB radio, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen with SatNav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, pre-crash safety with smart brake support and a head-up display. There is also a lot of other safety tech we will cover later.
Sport Lux trim includes leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and black body styling. The grade also incorporates a powered driver’s seat with memory function and adjustable lumbar support, as well as smart keyless entry.
Top-of-the-range is GT Sport Tech, which includes cruising and traffic support, driver monitoring, and a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system. You also get front cross-traffic alert, a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, a 360-degree camera, a powered sunroof and signature LED taillights.
Whilst the car is very well-equipped, the number of powertrains offered is quite a let-down. There is only one. It is a 145PS electric motor with front-wheel drive.
On the plus side, the Mazda MX-30 comes with a free home charger, which is nice, as some manufacturers charge upwards of £800 for one.
Range & Batteries
Given that electric vehicles on the market can manage 450 miles of all-electric range, it may shock you to learn that the Mazda MX-30 is capable of just 124 miles. This is one of the lowest ranges of any new electric car available today.
Mazda argues that people rarely need to make long journeys, and, in fairness, the automaker does have a point. Unless you are a sales rep travelling up and down the motorway network, most day-to-day trips consist of a couple of miles into town or a similar mileage for the school run. Or, maybe at most, 20 to 40 miles to work.
Of course, there will always be a minority of exceptions, such as those who commute long-distance. And, we all make exceptions to the above from time to time, whether it is for a family ‘staycation’, visiting relatives who live far away or a day out to Blackpool.
With range being a significant worry amongst EV drivers and enthusiasts, we've created a guide explaining electric car range, and compiled a list of the top 10 longest range electric cars, in case you fit into the exception!
However, a two-hour motorway journey will be enough to see it out of juice.
Mazda says that, in such instances, you will have a second car in the household and will use that instead. That might be true for some, but it would be more understandable if this were a supercar or a classic old Rolls-Royce that you bring out on lovely, warm summer Sundays.
If the 124-mile limit is a deal-breaker for you, then you might like to know that a version with a small petrol engine is coming, which charges the battery as you drive.
For now, it's just the sole 35.5kWh battery. Want to know a bit more about how that translates? We've compiled a handy guide to talk you through what kWh and kW really mean!
Performance & Drive
The MX-30 isn’t especially quick. Zero to 62mph takes 9.7-seconds which, given electric cars are usually full of torque and have lightning acceleration off the line, is lethargic.
Short journeys, rush-hour driving and pottering around town centres is where it’s at its best – basically, any environment in which performance isn’t a factor.
Take the Mazda on the motorway, and it just doesn't cut the mustard. Overtaking becomes a lot of effort at higher speeds. But, thankfully, at least the lack of road and wind noise makes things a bit more relaxing.
The lack of outright power is a shame because the MX-30 is good to drive. It feels very well planted and has a lot of traction. Therefore, going around corners is rather fun. All Mazdas tend to handle well, and the MX-30 is no different.
There is very little body lean in the bends, which means you feel confident to take them at speed, especially as the steering is direct and reasonably light.
The keen handling is provided thanks to a torque vectoring system that Mazda has used on some of its other models – and it’s again used to good effect here. It is just a pity it takes so long to get up to speed in the first place. But at least once it is there, it is capable of putting a smile on your face.
The downside is that low-speed ride comfort could be better. While the vehicle deals with lumps and bumps fairly well on twisty B-roads, they are more noticeable when driving slowly around town.
The motor is set up for low-speed driving, but the suspension arrangement isn’t. As a result, you are compromised in every aspect of driving the Mazda, either through a deficiency of power at higher speeds or a lack of ride comfort at lower speeds.
The regenerative braking is reasonably good, meaning you can simply lift off the accelerator, and the car will slow down significantly. This puts some charge back into the batteries as it does so. And, unlike in some vehicles, it doesn't take much getting used to.
Every cloud has a silver lining as, thanks to the Mazda MX-30 having a small battery; it doesn’t take all that long to charge up.
But, like the car itself, the charging speed isn’t especially quick. It is 50kW – and there are now manufacturers who are producing cars capable of four times this amount. To find your match, reference our EV guide on picking your ideal charger here.
Charging it at the maximum 50kW will get you from 20 to 80 per cent in around half an hour. So, if you are doing a long trip, or simply can't cjplanning a stop off at some motorway services for some food halfway into your journey might be an ideal solution.
If you use a 7kW wall box at home, you can get from 0 to 100 per cent charge in about six hours.
Running Costs & Emissions
Day-to-day running costs will be low thanks to petrol stations being a thing of the past.
For the moment, though, you are still paying a premium to buy an all-electric car in the first place. But that’s where leasing one from us instead might be a far more affordable option for you.
What is more, being an all-electric car, the MX-30 is likely to be attractive for company car users, thanks to the very low Benefit in kind tax.
Plus, even though you are here to lease, you might be interested to know Mazda provides a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty with the MX-30. The Japanese automaker also has a good reputation for decent reliability, which may offer peace of mind.
Interior & Technology
The interior of the Mazda MX-30 is nicely laid out, with a two-tiered dashboard, from which the infotainment screen sprouts out at the top.
However, we would like a bit more silver to break up the darkened colour scheme. Why? Well, on a dull and cloudy day, it can feel a bit gloomy, but at least it looks smart.
A second smaller screen sits behind the MX-30’s gear lever, while a third digital screen – the instrument display – is located behind the steering wheel. Thankfully, Mazda has left some physical switches and dials to adjust things like the climate control.
The infotainment system is a touchscreen, but it can also be controlled via a rotary dial, making it a doddle using it on the move. It is a responsive system, and it’s easy to find your way around, as well as being clear and informative.
It is undemanding to find a suitable driving position, too, thanks to the seats and the steering wheel both having plenty of travel. Our test car has electrically adjustable seats and adjustable lumbar support, although you don’t get either on the entry-level SE-L Lux trim.
The seats are comfortable - and both environmentally and vegan friendly. Furthermore, Mazda is keen to point out that a lot of the interior is made from recycled materials.
You will also find a lot of soft-to-the-touch plush surfaces, with cheaper hard plastics located nearer the floor, mostly out of sight.
Practicality & Boot Space
There is a lot of space in the front, which helps keep you feeling relaxed on the move, even for taller drivers, while the vehicle feels wide.
The visibility out of the windscreen is reasonably good. However, it is somewhat compromised at the rear due to the sloping roofline. This restricts your view, and there are two large pillars at the back, which only add to the problem.
There are a whole bunch of places to store things, as well, with space in the centre console and a generously sized glove box, plus cupholders. On the other hand, the space in the back is limited. The rear doors open backwards and are very small. Plus, they can only be opened when the front doors are open, which is unhelpful.
The rear seats aren’t quite as comfortable as the ones in the front, while taller passengers will really struggle to fit. This is due to the lack of available legroom and the sloping roofline, which significantly eats into the headroom. Add a tall driver into the mix, and you've no chance. To add insult the injury, the rear windows are on the small side and don’t open at all.
The Mazda MX-30’s boot space isn’t especially large, either, at 341-litres. While this is more room than you get in a Vauxhall Mokka-e and a Kia Soul, it is smaller than the Kia e-Niro, the Volkswagen ID.3, and the very capacious Peugeot e-2008.
The available space expands to 1,146-litres with the rear seats down, which fold away, almost completely flat, in a 60/40 split.
It is not bad, but there is no under-floor space to store things like charging cables, which is annoying.
The Mazda MX-30 has been put through its paces by Euro NCAP, which rigorously crash-tests and assesses most new cars.
It performed very well, earning a five-star safety rating, scoring 91 per cent for adult occupants, 87 per cent for children and 73 per cent for safety assists.
It only scored 68 per cent for vulnerable road users, though (i.e. pedestrians and cyclists) despite its automatic emergency braking.
The MX-30 houses a lot of safety kit, including radar-guided cruise control, pre-crash safety with smart brake support, and blind-spot monitoring. It also boasts lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert (which will warn you if you are backing out of a parking space into the path of an oncoming vehicle). This tech is included as standard on all models.
The top-of-the-range GT Sport Tech adds cruising and traffic support. This technology helps keep the car in lane and keeps you at a safe distance from the vehicle in front. It also includes driver monitoring (which detects fatigue and sleepiness), front cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera.
The Mazda comes in solid white as standard, but the metallic colours – ceramic (basically light grey), medium grey, dark grey and black – all cost a few hundred pounds. The medium grey (which is called ‘machine grey metallic’) costs even more for some reason.
There are lots of accessories – an example being the 'exterior garnish set', which adds silver accents to the exterior. But it costs a fair whack and will be largely camouflaged by some of Mazda's body colour options.
You can have black 18-inch alloys for four figures, which is expensive when you consider you hand the original alloys back. Meanwhile, a shaded key fob cover costs over a hundred notes, which is also costly for the sake of having a different colour.
A roof rack is very affordable, while you can even go for a special, inexpensive coat hanger that clips onto the back of the front seats.
Floor mats and mud flaps, and other accessories are also available.
The most obvious alternative to the Mazda MX-30 is the Kia e-Niro, which is very impressive but more expensive. The Peugeot e-2008 is also worth researching, but it is in the same price territory as the Kia.
Verdict & Next Steps
The Mazda MX-30 is okay, but there is a sense of disappointment in that it could have been so much more.
It is cheaper than the Kia e-Niro, so it looks good value for money, but the e-Niro has far better range and performance. Furthermore, it can accommodate five adults with ease.
If you do go for the MX-30, there is little point going with anything other than the entry-level SE-L Lux trim. The middle Sport Lux trim doesn’t really offer much more. And, if you go for top-of-the-range GT Sport Tech, you are into the price point of the e-Niro anyway – and the almost-equally-as-impressive Peugeot e-2008.
What is more, the main point of an SUV crossover is its enhanced practicality over a hatchback. But this is one area in which the Mazda falls short compared with its rivals.
Nevertheless, the MX-30 has good drivability and handling; it is reasonably practical, comfortable, and well-equipped. Meanwhile, the interior is very nice, and the infotainment system is impressive.
It is just a shame there wasn’t more of a focus on its spaciousness, range and performance.
Where to next?
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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Mazda MX-30
**Correct as of 05/04/2022. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2,555.01 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.