Mazda MX-30 long-term test: report 6

Mazda's first fully electric SUV aims to prove that less is more. Over the next few months, we'll be finding out if it succeeds...

MX-30 long-termer general happy snap

The car Mazda MX-30 145 Sport Lux Run by Louis Shaw, social media manager

Why it’s here To prove that it's both possible and preferable to run an electric car with a smaller range in the city without compromise

Needs to be A comfortable commuter, with plenty of space for luggage and passengers, and minimal compromises compared with a combustion-engined car

Mileage 948 List price £30,545 Target Price £29,686 Price as tested £32,045 Test range 120 miles

18 December 2021 – Mixed messages

There’s a difference between confusion and misunderstanding. A misunderstanding is a failure to understand something correctly, while confusion is uncertainty about what is intended or required.

Why the English lesson you ask? Well, I thought I was starting to understand my Mazda MX-30 but recently I’ve found myself more confused by the purpose of this car and its position in the electric car class. I’ve also started to wonder whether Mazda might have misunderstood its own brief.

MX-30 long-term looks small in side profile

You see, the MX-30 is supposed to be a purpose-built, urban tool, designed for short journeys in city centres, but while the modest 124-mile official range supports that concept, the oversized dimensions appear to contradict it.

At a quick glance or in the right photo you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s relatively compact, but this is definitely a car I needed to see and experience in person to comprehend. It’s longer than the previous-generation Nissan Qashqai and wider than the Skoda Kamiq. While I’m not suggesting I’ve been wrestling with Goliath, I do think that a dedicated city car should be smaller.

Mazda MX-30 in Soho busy streets

The elevated, SUV-style ride height does bring visibility advantages, and it’s obviously helpful to have rear seats to accommodate those mates who like to sneak a quick lift from time to time. However, the moment I get into Central London, it feels larger than it should and, dare I say it, a bit cumbersome, especially when I'm trying to park in a tight space (something I found a breeze in my previous car, a Renault Zoe).

It’s not as though you’re treated to a particularly spacious interior, either. I have plenty of room behind the wheel, but the sloping roofline eats into rear head room and the rear footwell is… well, let’s go with compact. Pair those things with small fixed windows and a charcoal-black rooflining, and you end up with what feels like a claustrophobic escape pod. Kids will be okay, but you can expect adults to complain.

Mazda MX-30 LT boot

It’s a similar story with the boot, which is acceptable but far from exceptional. To put things in perspective, I’ve got less space in the MX-30’s load area than you get with the Volkswagen Golf and consequently I’ve found myself dropping the rear seats for 95% of chores.

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