Goodwood Test: Mazda MX-30 Review
Mazda, it seems, has joined the growing number of companies fighting against the idea that every single EV must either be an SUV or have 500PS (367kW) for no real reason. The MX-30 is its first attempt at a full EV and rather than a big family SUV or a stonking sportscar, it’s a relatively sensible small crossover.
There are, of course, plenty of Mazda quirks to be found, but it’s always refreshing to see someone just doing something sensible like this. As much as we love the Kia EV6 it’s massive and fast and Citroën’s Ami is achingly cool but completely impractical. The MX-30 will go more than far enough for the school run and carry a family in comfort without breaking their necks leaving the lights. But, when you package all of that into an EV that costs £34,000, can it still be up to scratch?
- Looks great
- Well thought-out interior
- Fun handling
We don't like
- Very short range
- Awkward suicide doors
The MX-30 is a very good thing to look at. Yes it’s high riding but the roofline is swooping and apes the best design features of the current Mazda 3 and the face is all angry and aggressive.
The good thing is that because the MX-30 looks so compact, that anger up front immediately becomes cute, like seeing a toddler ball up its fists. The side profile tries to hide the rear door – more on that in a second – and the back’s simplicity is refreshing. There’s very little in the way of harsh metal crimps or feature lines to be found on the MX-30.
Performance and Handling
The MX-30 has 145PS (106kW) from its electric motor on the front axle. It’ll also provide 271Nm (199lb ft) and will make it to 62mph in a not-exactly sprightly 9.7 seconds. The power is delivered at a relaxed rate – no massive electric torque shock here – and the MX-30 will max out at 87mph.
The chassis is rather fun, with a firm but not unpleasant ride obviously made for cities rather than the open roads, but which means it’ll dart around if you wish. Throttle pickup has very little in the way of urgency, matching its performance stats and steering is light, fast and easy when nipping down to the shops or dropping off the kids at school.
Where you might take a sudden step back from your MX-30 purchase, is when you see the range. It’s stated at 124 miles on the WLTP combined cycle, or 165 in the city, neither of which is a particularly impressive number, especially when you consider the relative paucity of performance. On our winter test drives, we actually found ourselves plumbing the depths of 70 miles of range, the kind of numbers where even just city and errand use starts to feel like a challenge.
The MX-30 charges at up to 50kW, which is an improvement over its launch number of 40. That means the 10 to 80 per cent charge can be done in under 40 minutes, or 20-80 in around 25.
I am a big fan of the insides of the MX-30. The use of cork as a lighter material is an interesting and welcome addition and there are absolutely boatloads of little cubbies and small areas to hide things around.
Infotainment is carried out between a pair of screens in the centre, one atop the dash, the other next to the gearstick. The lower screen is touch operated while the upper uses a rotary dial, which is good considering the main screen is a decent reach away.
The centre console has a “floating” concept, leaving plenty of space for phones, wires, wallets etc both in front and behind it, and while rear space isn’t huge, it is decent for such a little car.
But, this is where we must mention the rear suicide doors. They mean the MX-30 has a lovely coupe-style line to it and only one noticeable doorhandle per side, but they do make using the rear seats cumbersome at best. The only way to open the rear door is to open the front and even then the gap isn’t great. There’s also not an awful lot in the way of ratchet holds on those rear doors, so they can swing back unexpectedly. If you’re doing the school run in your MX-30 – or in our case hauling a hungry social media team to Sainsbury’s for lunch – make sure they are organised in their egress procedure.
Technology and Features
The list of standard features on the MX-30 is compact but sensible. The two screens – seven-inch touch and 8.7-inch top – are included on all MX-30s as are front and rear parking sensors, powered mirrors, a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers, DAB radio, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, bluetooth, blindspot monitoring, lane keep assist and a head-up display.
The infotainment system is both good and bad. The good is the main system, for Nav, audio etc. controlled by the dial. This is a simple-to-navigate system and hookup to phones is relatively painless. The lower screen is a little odd. This controls all the climate control systems but has both a full touchscreen and physical buttons that seem to replicate what the other does. There’s a single control for the temperature on the screen or a button control pretty much right next to it. While we’re never averse to the inclusion of easy-to-use buttons, the replication is odd, and the screen system does take a little getting used to. There’s not a lot of instruction as to which on-screen control does what, so it’s not the most intuitive.
The MX-30 is full of good ideas, and if you want an EV that you just use for nipping around town and day-to-day errands it will fulfil that role extremely well. The interior is extremely well thought out and there are few in its sector that can come close on looks.
But it’s hard to get over just how short the range is, and in real terms, it's shorter than mentioned. For those with a commute any further than 30 miles it will need almost constant charging and that combined with the suicide doors will be enough to put many off. Right now there are better choices on the market if those are your requirements, but the MX-30 has a very specific audience, and if you are in that it’s not without its charms.
This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.
35.5kWh lithium-ion battery and an AC synchronous electric motor
|Transmission||Automatic, front-wheel drive|
|Kerb weight||1,645 kg|
|Range||124 miles combined|
Reviewed by Ben Miles