Mazda MX-30 review 2021

The MX-30 is Mazda’s first EV and a fun and stylish crossover

£21,231
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Funky design
  • High-quality interior
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Limited electric range
  • Not especially practical
  • Not especially powerful
Model review

Mazda tends to be a firm that evolves gradually, and it’s why you won’t find this Japanese carmaker being the first when it comes to electric and hybrid models, but instead embracing them when it feels necessary. 

It’s ultimately a brand that is well-known for offering fun and stylish models, and is well-regarded for its combustion engines – things it continues to develop heavily, at a time when many manufacturers are turning their backs and focusing on electric instead. 

But electrification has now reached a point where if a manufacturer wants to remain relevant – as well as ensure they meet climate targets – they’re going to have to begin launching EVs. And for Mazda, that time is now, with the firm launching its first electric car in the form of the MX-30 at the start of 2021. 

Latest model

The MX-30 truly aims to be the ‘Mazda’ of the electric car world, and by that we mean the fact the Japanese firm worked hard to make sure it’s a model centred around the driver. 

Though based on a similar platform to the firm’s petrol-powered CX-30 crossover, the MX-30 gets its own distinctive design, while the interior is a bit of a bridge away from other Mazda models – featuring a new lower touchscreen to control the climate settings. There’s also widespread use of cork as a material in the cabin – a nod not only to sustainability, but also to Mazda’s heritage, as it was a cork company long before it sold cars. 

While at the time of writing the MX-30 was only available as a pure-EV, Mazda confirmed that it would introduce a range-extender model featuring Mazda’s unique rotary engine, and will increase the range of the MX-30 significantly. 

Value for money

The most expensive part of an EV is its electrical underpinnings, and the size of the battery plays an important part in dictating the price of an electric car. That’s one clear advantage to choosing the MX-30, as with its smaller battery it really helps to bring the price down – the MX-30’s starting price of £26,045 (after the government grant) meaning this Mazda doesn’t really cost that much more than a similarly-equipped petrol or diesel crossover. That said, the 124-mile claimed range of the MX-30 is one of the lowest of any new electric car. 

At the time of writing, the MX-30 had only been in showrooms for around six months, with only small – if welcome – savings available by choosing a nearly-new version. It’s worth noting that with the MX-30 there’s no need to upgrade to higher-spec cars as the standard SE-L Lux version comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, twin media screens, a reversing camera and head-up display to name just a few features.

Looks and image

Mazda arguably has one of the best-looking ranges of cars of any manufacturer, and the MX-30 is no exception. It’s a very distinctively-styled model, with the smoothed-off front end making it look a bit different to Mazda’s other models. It also looks great from the side profile, especially on versions fitted with a two-tone design. Another interesting touch is the backwards-opening rear doors, which are a nod to the brand’s RX-8 coupe that was sold in the mid-2000s. 

Considering the MX-30 is one of the more affordable electric cars, you might expect its interior to feel a bit cheaper. This couldn’t be further from the case as the cabin really is fantastic, with upmarket materials and ‘eco’ features – such as the cork we’ve mentioned already – really helping to offer something different. The large upfront media display is great to use, while a lower touchscreen for the climate settings is a particularly high-end touch. 

Another advantage to having a smaller battery is that the MX-30 doesn’t weigh quite as much as other EVs, and the result is that it drives far better than its rivals. It has Mazda’s typical direct steering, while the smooth and refined powertrain makes for a very enjoyable drive. Just be aware that you probably won’t want to travel too far with its weak electric range. 

Video review

Space and practicality

With the MX-30, it’s a model that seems to have been built with style in mind above practicality. While there’s plenty of space upfront for you and the passengers, the rear-opening doors are small and make access to the rear quite tricky. Though there’s an okay amount of room back there, small rear windows that don’t open can make it seem quite claustrophobic. 

The boot isn’t any bigger than a typical family hatchback, measuring 366 litres, or 341 litres in the top-spec car due to its Bose sound system. Ultimately, the MX-30 is better suited to a couple than it is as a family car. 

Engines

While a range-extender MX-30 is on the way, for the time being it is currently just being offered as an EV. It features an electric motor producing 143bhp and 271Nm of torque, which allows for a 0-60mph of 9.5 seconds and 87mph top speed. While more than powerful enough in day-to-day driving, it lacks the strong performance you get with rivals like the Hyundai Kona Electric. 

As we’ve mentioned, the weakness of the MX-30 is its range. Its 35.5kWh battery is similar to what’s found in many city cars, and allows for a claimed range of 124 miles, though 100 miles is far more likely. Despite a small battery, it’s also still not very quick to charge, as it can only rapid charge at about 35kW, meaning a 20-80 per cent charge still takes around 36 minutes. In short, if you regularly undertake longer trips, you should look elsewhere. Plugged in at home, it will take around six hours to charge. 

Running costs

The MX-30 will be a very affordable car to run, particularly as its small battery means that a full charge could only cost about a fiver if you make the most of the lowest energy tariffs. 

Like other EVs, the MX-30 is also free to tax, while is also exempt from congestion charges and low emission zones that are increasingly being introduced to city centres. 

Things to look out for

Mazda has a really good reputation for reliability, and the MX-30 should also prove to be a dependable option, not least because electric cars require less maintenance than petrol and diesel cars. 

The only fault that has been flagged is that the rear doors do have a tendency to rattle on the move, while just make sure that the electric range doesn’t prove an inconvenience. 

Rivals

The electric crossover class is brimmed with options. If you want a long range, check out the Kia e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric, while the  MG ZS EV, Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka-e are all also worth checking out. 

If you think you might not be quite ready for a full-EV just yet, take a look at plug-in hybrid versions of the Renault Captur and Kia Niro.

Depreciation

At the time of writing the MX-30 hadn’t been on sale for a long time, so not a lot of ‘live’ valuations were available. However, it’s predicted to retain around 47 per cent of its value after three years, which is in-line with rivals.

Trims explained

Four trim levels are available on the Mazda MX-30, with equipment highlights and prices as follows. Please note all prices exclude electric car grants.

SE-L Lux

All MX-30 models come with a generous amount of equipment, including 18-inch silver alloy wheels, LED headlights, electric folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and front and rear parking cameras. You also get a head-up display, main 8.8-inch infotainment display and lower seen-inch touchscreen for the climate settings. A long list of driver assistance features are also included, such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, driver attention alert, lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking.

From £28,545

First Edition

Upgrade to the First Edition (limited to just 500 units) to get heated front seats, 18-inch chrome-effect alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a black roof, grey styling accents and signature rear daytime running lights. You also get an electric driver’s seat and chrome interior detailing.

From £30,495

Sport Lux

The spec on the Sport Lux broadly mirrors that of the First Edition, though you don’t get adaptive LED headlights but to get keyless entry instead.

From £30,545

GT Sport Tech

Right at the top of the range, the GT Sport Tech features a front wiper de-icer, adaptive LED headlights, an electric sunroof and heated steering wheel. Elsewhere, a Bose sound system, 360-degree camera system, rear brake support and front cross traffic alert are all included.

From £32,845

Summary

  1. Mazda’s first EV
  2. Great to look at…
  3. Upmarket interior sets it apart from rivals
  4. Very appealing to drive…
  5. But let down by a poor electric range that limits its appeal
  6. Generous equipment levels
  7. Not especially practical
  8. Plenty of safety kit included
  9. Range-extender model on the way
  10. Stylish and fun, but there are much better rivals available