Mazda MX-30 First Drive review

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Mazda’s has had a significant birthday that it hasn’t been able to celebrate in the way it wanted due to Covid-19. The 100 year old Japanese firm has an extensive range of handsome cars and SUVs and with the addition of the MX-30 EV it has its first modern electric car since the EX 005 from 50 years ago. The MX-30 is already on sale in Europe in LHD – the right hand drive versions will arrive in Ireland in February. We’ve been driving a pre production LHD MX-30 on the streets of Dublin prior to the latest lockdown.

The MX-30 is a crossover in body shape. Similar to the CX-30 the battery powered MX-30 features an exterior that hides rearward opening rear doors much like the RX7 of old. You can easily spot the MX head-on as there is no mesh grille as such as there is no need to cool an engine although the rechargeable batteries get a cooling system. The car has quite a compact foot print and would be a rival for a Hyundai Kona Electric. The body is curvy and features soft surfacing making it quite friendly looking.

Inside the cabin there is seating for just four – much like its key rivals the cute MINI Electric and adorable Honda-e. The hatch boot reveals a reasonable amount of cargo space. It is a squeeze in the rear seats so best leave these for kids, under tall people and those lucky enough to be less pumped up than me! There are lots of recyclables used and vegan friendly faux leather seating options, PET fabrics and even very clever use of cork that harks back to the firm’s origins. The cabin is very pleasant and premium in feel and ambiance.

The MX-30 was built with Europe in mind and while the MX-30 is quite compact it has excellent ride quality for an EV. With did an hour long route through city streets and dual carriageways with the odd speed hump thrown in and MX-30 drove like a regular compact SUV without the usual hint many EVs can give that your sitting on a battery platform with wheels. The 145hp/271nm electric motor powers the front wheels and acceleration is brisk rather than blistering. On the move the EV makes a false engine reving up noise as you accelerate and this is a nice bit of fun that made me giggle. The batter pack is quite small at 35.5 kWh. This means the range is compromised compared to the current (sorry) trend for 50kWh+ EVs. Mazda says it did this on purpose as the car is meant for frequent and short urban use. Mazda is confident it easily delivers the real world range people need on a daily basis. Range from a full charge of its lithium-ion battery pack is quoted at 200km (WLTP combined) or 265km in city use. Remember winter weather will reduce this figure further. The car does come with a heat pump as standard and this should help reduce the need to wear a coat while driving – EV drivers know only too well the trouble trying to heat an EV efficiently. The car has a combo plug (AC & DC) for fast charging at three phaze public chargers and a 7kW on board charger. 20%-80% charge can be done in 36 minutes at a fast DC charger.

Mazda points out that the MX-30 will earn its keep sooner than EVs with larger batteries. The car uses less precious resources with a smaller battery and its CO2 footprint from manufacture is smaller as a result. So the break even point in ownership and emission terms comes along much sooner and this will be point of pride for owners. Like many newer EVs a dedicated smartphone app will allow many functions to be undertaken remotely like cabin temperature pre conditioning etc.

Pricing starts at €40,495 (GS-L) gross and in real terms you will pay €10 grand less than this with the lower VRT and SEAI grant – so €30K there or there abouts. Two ‘First Edition’ models will be very attractive at €41,795 and €42,095 gross – excluding incentives.
Our first drive delivered a smile and we look forward to a full test early in the new year.

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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