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Mazda MX-30 First Drive review

30/10/2020 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. Michael Sheridan

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Michael Sheridan
Michael Sheridan
Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 25 years (& a similar time as a Van of the Year judge). Michael is also an award winning filmmaker. He has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press and is a member of the MMAI (motoring media association of Ireland).
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