100 miles is Mazda’s foray into production EVs, and a good starting point for improvements.
Mazda’s MX-30 is a product of the manufacturer’s foray into electric vehicles and benefits from some of the tried and true technology the Japanese automaker has taken from previous combustion engine models. While the end result is a compact SUV that punches well in corners well beyond its weight, the question remains whether its 100-mile range will be enough.
The 360-degree parking assist is really helpful, providing a precise preview of your surroundings.
Despite Mazda’s MX30 3,650-pound curb weight, body roll remains relatively manageable even during intense driving on twisty roads.
The body weight is very good, the ratio between too fast and vice versa is in the Goldilocks zone.
- Range: 100 miles
- Horsepower: 143 hp
- Torque: 200 lb-ft
- Zero to 60: 9.6 seconds
- Battery capacity: 35.5 kWh
- Charge time (6.6-kW home box, 20 to 100 percent): 13 hours 40 minutes
- Charge time (Level 3 DC Fast Charge): 36 minutes
MX is two letters of great significance to Mazda. The Japanese automaker made a statement in 1989 with the release of the MX-5 Miata and its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, which debuted at the Chicago Auto Show. That car was a lightweight roadster with balanced handling characteristics that still define the category to this day. Although this iteration features a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout, it’s clear that Mazda didn’t include the MX in the MX-30’s callsign by accident.
Along with the Miata, Mazda has previously used the MX in its concept cars, the MX-81 and MX-02, which are looking to the future with new ideas. The numbers that follow are simply related to the similarities in size between the CX-30 and MX-30. Rather than radically rethinking, Mazda has adapted existing technology from its previous internal combustion engine cars. The compact SUV shares the same electric G-Vectoring controls as the CX-30, as well as an EV-specific version of the brand’s Skyactiv technology.
From the outset, it was clear that Mazda spliced some of the DNA from the MX-5 into the MX-30. Despite being a compact SUV at 3,650 pounds, the MX-30 is actually an excellent corner handler. While it’s not the most nimble Electric Vehicle – the dual-motor Polestar 2 holds that honor — the MX-30 is a brave little machine that’s eager to please even on the most twisty tarmac.
Steering feel is a highlight of the MX-30. For normal road driving, the steering rack is well-weighted, just enough to make the car feel planted on the road; the steering remains communicative and playful during intense driving on fun tarmac. Mazda also found a Goldilocks zone with a steering ratio that’s quick enough for city driving without too sloppy on the highway.
Citing a 0-60 time of 9.7 seconds, the MX-30 isn’t the fastest Electric Vehicle on sale. However, the throttle response is very linear and forgiving at low speeds, making it very easy to drive smoothly. That’s not the case with other electric vehicles that offer more aggressive pedals. Once off the accelerator, the MX-30’s regenerative braking system offers four levels of adjustability, which you can adjust using paddles behind the steering wheel. The mildest lets you lift and coast like you would in a normal car, while the most aggressive will slow you down on your own.
Braking is a difficult aspect to do with an electric vehicle. With regenerative braking getting so good, automakers often overlook the importance of a great braking package. With 326mm ventilated discs up front and 303mm solid discs in the back, braking performance is better than any other Electric Vehicle in this price range.
As part of the e-Skyactive system that optimizes the driving experience, Mazda says the fake engine sound improves contact with the vehicle. While very conservative, EVs make a unique set of noises that we should celebrate.
The MX-30 has a range of just over 100 miles, putting it at a considerable disadvantage compared to other EVs that can travel 200 or even 300 miles on a single charge. While the Japanese automaker noted that the average person drives 30 miles a day, there is a clear lack of capacity.
When the unavoidable need to plug in arrives, the MX-30 uses a Combination Charging Socket (CCS), allowing you to use the onboard 6.6 kWh charger at home or add juice on the go from any CCS-compatible charging point. The MyMazda app is useful in finding charging points and starting or stopping the charging process remotely. Among other things, the app allows you to keep tabs on tire pressure, range, and upcoming service appointments. You can also use the app to warm up or pre-cool your vehicle.
For those who might be put off by the lack of range of the Mazda MX-30, the Japanese automaker hopes to release a plug-in hybrid model later in 2022 that will feature a rotary engine to keep the battery charged. While such a unique powertrain surprises me (it’s not traditionally the most reliable in Mazda’s lineup), the rotary engine is surprisingly small.
From the first row of the Mazda MX-30, you’ll find a well-designed and functional space with only a few minor flaws. While the seats are firm and comfortable. The second row is definitely a different story. I applaud Mazda for experimenting with a few different clamshell freestyle door concepts — which seem to be loosely inspired by the RX-8 — because they make it easier to get in and out of the rear. I’m 5’11” and would have plenty of headroom in the back seat, but someone taller than 6′ might be better off in the front seat.
While the freestyle doors are great for opening the rear of the vehicle, they’re a disaster when it comes to rear visibility. While they have the advantage of a column-free design when open, when closed they create a massive B-pillar. I’m not exaggerating when I say the door blocks about 90 percent visibility when doing shoulder checks on the highway. Thankfully, Mazda’s blind-spot monitoring tech and rear cross-traffic alert are standard features.
Like most electric vehicles, the Mazda MX-30 uses recycled materials in the cockpit. Part of the door card is wrapped in fabric with thread made from recycled water bottles. The seats are also wrapped in vegan leather, which is treated with a silicone coating to be closer to real leather. The obvious party part of the interior, however, is the cork trim near the center console—a nod to Mazda’s beginnings as Tokyo Cork Industries Ltd. in 1920. Maximize the premium feel of these materials, and the end result is an interior that is truly luxurious.
While the infotainment system lacks the wireless connectivity and touch controls of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, going through the menus’ physical knobs and buttons is relatively intuitive. Although the cupholders have flaps they’re easy to access and don’t get in the way of the infotainment controls. Speaking of creature comforts, the vehicle has a head-up display, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic headlights. The headlights are especially useful on twisty roads around quickly adjusting from high beam back to high beam when another vehicle passes by.
The only issue is the rocker-style media controls on the steering wheel, which Mazda added an extra third click in the centre, which can mute the stereo or change the source.
Electric vehicles are inherently quiet, and the bar has been raised when it comes to quality control in the cockpit. While it can be difficult to properly judge Quality Control in such a short period of time, the mix of sustainable materials has been kept low key. Aside from no squeaks or rattles, all touchpoints on the steering wheel and infotainment system feel good and premium.
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