Mazda MX-30 EV review

Category: Electric car

The all-electric version of the MX-30 is let down by its disappointing range

Mazda MX-30 EV front cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV front cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV rear cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior dashboard
  • Mazda MX-30 EV doors open
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior driver display
  • Mazda MX-30 EV right driving
  • Mazda MX-30 EV front driving
  • Mazda MX-30 EV front cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV rear cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV alloy wheel detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV badge detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV rear lights detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior front seats
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior back seats
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior infotainment
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV front cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV rear cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior dashboard
  • Mazda MX-30 EV doors open
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior driver display
  • Mazda MX-30 EV right driving
  • Mazda MX-30 EV front driving
  • Mazda MX-30 EV front cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV rear cornering
  • Mazda MX-30 EV alloy wheel detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV badge detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV rear lights detail
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior front seats
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior back seats
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior infotainment
  • Mazda MX-30 EV interior detail
What Car?’s MX-30 deals
New car deals
Save up to £1,702
Target Price from £26,738
Save up to £1,702
or from £172pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £15,299

Introduction

What Car? says...

With most cars, it’s easy to guess which rival models the development team used as benchmarks, but the Mazda MX-30 EV is an exception – because it’s unlike any other electric vehicle on sale.

Yes, it’s an electric SUV – of which there are plenty – but a rather compact one with unconventional rear doors that open backwards. Meanwhile, the interior is big on quality but small on space, and the official range between charges is just 124 miles.

Mazda argues that most people don’t actually need a long range, and that fitting a smaller battery is better for the environment (because less raw materials are needed) and for the buyer (because it keeps the list price down).

If you’re not convinced, the good news is there’s also a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version that can travel a lot further – to read about that, see our Mazda MX-30 R-EV review.

So, is this EV version the one to choose? Read on to see how we rate it against other electric cars you might be considering...

Overview

The all-electric MX-30 EV is well equipped, has a smart interior and is good to drive. However, it’s very cramped in the back and the tiny battery range makes it difficult to recommend to anyone planning to venture out of town.

  • Good ride and handling balance
  • Smart interior with great infotainment system
  • Well equipped
  • Pathetic range
  • Loses its value quickly
  • Poor rear-seat space
New car deals
Save up to £1,702
Target Price from £26,738
Save up to £1,702
or from £172pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £15,299

Our Pick

OurPicksRRP £31,495
Mazda Mx-30 125kW R-EV Prime Line 5dr Auto review
What Car? Target Price
: £30,001
Save at least £1,493
Get the best price
See the full range

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

If your priority is performance, you might want to look elsewhere, because the Mazda MX-30 EV is not remotely quick by electric car standards.

Indeed, with an official 0-62mph sprint time of 9.7 seconds, it just about matches the Renault Zoe but falls behind most other rivals. Sure, it’s fine for city driving, but struggles on faster roads and it’s still well short of the pace offered by something like a Kia EV6.

Meanwhile, the EV’s 35.5kWh battery can officially only take you 124 miles between charges. It’s likely to be less than that in real life (we suspect around 115 miles). Indeed, the MX-30 has the shortest battery range of pretty much any new electric car except the 24kWh Electric Fiat 500.

That’s a bit of a shame because it drives really well. The brake pedal requires a bit more pressure than the one in the VW ID 3, but it’s relatively easy to stop smoothly (more so than with the binary response in the Peugeot e-2008).

Besides, you can opt to use the brake pedal less frequently by hiking up the regenerative braking effect by pulling a paddle on the steering wheel.

The ride is firmer than the ID 3’s, but manages to soak up bumps well without ever letting things get overly bouncy, which they do in the DS 3 E-Tense.

The MX-30's settled ride also helps its cornering stability. Even on bumpy roads, you can trust that it’s not going to get knocked off its line mid-bend, while the well- judged steering is light yet accurate.

Mazda MX-30 image
Skip the showroom and find out more online

If you take it on a motorway, the EV’s range might create some anxiety, but the level of refinement won’t, with wind and tyre noise kept to a minimum. Around town, you don't hear any whine from the electric motor and the suspension only tends to thump over larger bumps.

Driving overview 

Strengths Comfortable ride; good handling; little wind or road noise

Weaknesses Range is poor; not very quick

Mazda MX-30 EV rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The driving position in the Mazda MX-30 EV is marvellous. There’s plenty of steering wheel adjustment and you get electrically adjustable seats, including for lumbar support, with all trims except entry-level Prime-Line.

The dashboard has quite a futuristic look, with three digital screens and a head-up display that projects key info onto the windscreen, regardless of which trim you go for. The screens include digital instruments and a 7.0in climate control touchscreen, mounted just below the main infotainment screen.

We're usually not keen on having a touchscreen for functions you use a lot, such as the temperature settings, but the MX-30 EV has physical buttons either side of the display for temperature and fan speed, so it’s actually really easy to use.

Those physical controls are far less distracting than the touch-sensitive buttons in the VW ID 3, as is the MX-30’s 8.8in infotainment screen, which couldn’t be further from Volkswagen's gimmicky and sluggish set-up.

Instead, it’s responsive, and it’s easy to find the features you need from the simple menus. Plus, there’s a BMW-style rotary controller that allows you to scroll down lists quickly that’s far less distracting to use than rivals' touchscreen-only set-ups.

As a bonus, every MX-30 is kitted out with built-in sat-nav, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. Range-topping Makoto trim upgrades the standard eight-speaker stereo to a 12-speaker Bose surround-sound system.

The MX-30 whacks the ID 3 where it hurts on quality, too. There's an eclectic mix of materials, including recycled bottles for the door trims, cork inlays from offcuts of wine stoppers for the storage trays on the centre console, and "vegan leather" and repurposed denim.

We know cork doesn't necessarily sound luxurious, but it looks fab (adding a bit of brightness) and distracts from the few harder plastics that are used lower down.

Visibility out of the front is not bad, but the coupé-esque rear end and the design of the rear doors do hamper rearward vision. On the plus side, front and rear parking sensors are standard, as is a rear-view camera (a 360-degree camera is standard on Makoto trim).

All MX-30 trims come with piercing LED headlights, while the top trim gives you adaptive LEDs that can stay on full beam without dazzling other drivers.

Interior overview 

Strengths Great infotainment system; classy interior; good build quality

Weaknesses Limited rear visibility; entry-level trim misses out on electric seat adjustment

Mazda MX-30 EV interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Even if you’re tall, you’ll be perfectly happy in the front of the Mazda MX-30 EV, because leg, head and shoulder room are all in plentiful supply.

What’s more, there’s lots of storage space within easy reach, including a big glovebox, good-sized cupholders and a cork-lined cubby in the centre console that prevents keys jangling or your phone shooting into the footwell during cornering.

Sadly, things take a dramatic turn for the worse when you try to get in the back of the car, because those rear-hinged back doors are small and they can only be opened after the fronts have been.

Then there’s the space you have to contort yourself into. You see, rear head room is far from generous, even if you’re less than six feet tall, and rear leg room is properly tight. The raised floor means there’s hardly any space for feet under the front seats. In fact, with someone tall in the front of the car, it’s non-existent.

On top of that, the rear windows don’t open and are like portholes, adding to the sense of claustrophobia. If you regularly have passengers in the rear of your car, you’ll be better off looking at the far more spacious Kia Niro EV or even the Renault Zoe.

It doesn’t get much better when you consider boot space. The MX-30’s 350-litre capacity (unless you have the Bose stereo, which reduces it to 332 litres) is far less than the Niro EV’s 475-litres. As a result, you’ll fit a few bags of shopping in the boot, but that’s about all.

There are no clever touches, such as a height-adjustable boot floor or a dedicated space for the charging cables. The one positive is that the 60/40-split rear seats lie flat when folded. Mid-spec models and above fitted with an electric driver’s seat come with switches to control it on the seat back for a rear passenger to use.

Practicality overview 

Strengths Spacious in the front; lots of handy in-car storage

Weaknesses Tight in the back; poor rear access; small boot

Mazda MX-30 EV doors open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Prices for the Mazda MX-30 EV are enticing, with the entry-level trim undercutting the Kia Niro EV but costing slightly more than the MG ZS EV. (To make sure you get the best price, head on over to our New Car Deals pages.)

Even our preferred entry-level trim – Prime-Line – comes pretty well equipped, with 18in alloy wheels, climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic windscreen wipers and climate control all included.

Upgrading to the mid-spec Exclusive-Line trim doesn’t require a huge increase in outlay, and adds keyless entry, heated front seats, rear privacy glass, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Meanwhile, top-spec Makoto brings a heated steering wheel, a sunroof and adaptive LED headlights.

Unfortunately, the MX-30 EV loses its value quickly. The Niro EV and the VW ID 3 will both be worth more if you decide to sell in three years, and you might see that reflected in the price you’ll pay each month if you buy on PCP finance. It does make sense as a company car though, because like all electric cars it attracts very low company car tax bills.

Recharging the MX-30’s battery from 20-80% requires a stop of about 25 minutes at its maximum 50kW charging speed. That’s not bad, but plenty of EVs can charge faster, including the Niro EV, which will accept up to 110kW.

All MX-30s come with a three-year/60,000 miles warranty, plus an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty specifically for the drive battery. Encouragingly, Mazda did well as a brand in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing in 13th place out of 32 car manufacturers – above Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen.

The independent safety experts at Euro NCAP awarded the MX-30 its maximum five-star rating, noting that it offered adult occupants, in particular, impressive protection. Standard safety equipment includes blind-spot monitoring, a driver attention alert system and lane-keeping assistance.

Top spec Makoto trim adds rear cross-traffic assistance, which can apply the brakes if you’re reversing out of your drive into the path of another car.

Costs overview

Strengths Lots of standard luxuries and safety kit; good reliability record

Weaknesses EV depreciates quickly; rivals have a faster charging speed

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Mazda MX-30 EV interior driver display

FAQs

  • The MX-30’s range is low compared with most electric cars because it has a much smaller battery. Mazda maintains that most people don’t drive far enough to need a big battery, and also sells the Mazda MX-30 R-EV "range extender" version, which can travel much further.

  • The all-electric MX-30 EV isn’t particularly quick, getting from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds officially. The PHEV version is a bit quicker – to read about that, see our Mazda MX-30 R-EV review.

  • Officially, the MX-30 can travel up to 124 miles between charges. That won’t be the case in real life, though: it managed 115 miles in our Real Range test.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £1,702
Target Price from £26,738
Save up to £1,702
or from £172pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £15,299
RRP price range £27,995 - £35,895
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric, petrol series phev
MPG range across all versions 282.5 - 282.5
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £56 / £65
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £112 / £129
Available colours