Mazda’s first EV misses the mark, prioritising refinement over practicality
Mazda may have created some brilliant cars recently, with the current MX-5 carrying the mantle with great success and the Mazda3 winning the World Car Design award last year but at the end of the day, there’s usually got to be at least one misfire. That misfire is the Mazda MX-30.
The MX-30 is an all-electric, front-wheel-drive crossover that focuses on style and refinement. Things it certainly doesn’t focus on include driving range and practicality.
The MX-30 is often thought of as a car that is paying homage to the RX-8, Mazda’s soulful sports car best known for its high-revving rotary engine and exemplary handling. There are many similarities that the much larger MX-30 has to the RX-8, for better and for worse.
For instance, one of the main talking points for this electric SUV is its rear suicide doors. Just like in the RX-8, BMW i3 and various Rolls Royces, the rear passenger doors of the MX-30 are hinged at the rear, making them open the opposite way. Not only is this a great stylish addition to the design but also a practical one, making it easier for parents that need to buckle the young ones into their seats and for anyone else that needs easier access to the back seats.
Unfortunately, also like with the RX-8, you won’t be able to travel very far in the MX-30 before running out of juice. Juice, in this case, being battery power rather than petrol.
With a meagre 124-mile range, the MX-30 is very clearly best suited for those that either own a second car with more range (be it electric or combustion-powered) or exclusively drive in short trips that do not stray too far from home. Of course, 124 miles is often more than we realise but the fact is that if one wanted to take a trip to Cornwall or the Lake District and lived somewhere around London, there would be a lot of battery charging involved. Let’s just hope that the MX-30 doesn’t have the reliability of an RX-8 too!
With prices starting from £28,490, it makes you wonder what the point of the car is. Who is this car for? With cheaper EVs such as the new VW ID.3, Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e all capable of greater ranges at a lower cost, why buy Mazda’s electric SUV?
To add greater irony to the stumbling MX-30, Mazda planned to release a range-extender model that was fitted with a rotary engine generator to produce extra electricity for those longer journeys. Another car that had a range extender model was the BMW i3, however, it was discontinued in 2018 because they likely realised that strapping a petrol generator onto your electric car is a bit primitive and has no place in the current market of electric vehicles.
It’s bad enough to have a range extender model in 2021 but to have it powered by a rotary engine too? Ridiculous! It’s no wonder that it was postponed to the second half of 2022, with rumours now suggesting that it’ll be scrapped altogether.
Apart from the issue with the range, the MX-30 relies heavily on its refinement, style and brand reputation to appeal to customers. Even if the sloping roofline does result in less storage space and a minuscule amount of legroom for the rear passengers, it looks cool! And even if it has a real-world range of about 110 miles, it has an 8-year battery warranty. We can’t deny that this car has a very nice interior and a cool exterior to match but if you’re looking for good value, the MX-30 cannot be recommended.
Sub-130-mile battery range is so last decade. Hopefully, Mazda’s second EV will be a bit stronger.
Let us know your thoughts on the MX-30, in the comments.
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