Mazda MX-30 R-EV long-term test: report 2

This well-priced small SUV is our reigning Plug-in Hybrid of the Year, but what's it like to live with? We're running one to find out...

Mazda MX-30 R-EV at Royal Oak 2

The car Mazda MX-30 R-EV Makoto Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why we’re running it To see how much more usable this quirky small SUV is when it's a plug-in hybrid rather than a regular electric model

Needs to Be more than just an urban runabout, successfully combining the refinement and lower running costs of an electric car with the ability to tackle longer trips without hassle

Mileage 3670 List price £35,895 Target Price £34,282 Price as tested £37,895 Test economy 49.1mpg Official economy 282.5mpg

10 May 2024 – You'll go far

One of the main reasons for choosing the plug-in hybrid version of the Mazda MX-30 over the electric model is its ability to cover longer distances without the need for charging stops. A 200-mile trip from London down to Wiltshire and back, like the one I did recently, would have required one or possibly two breaks if I’d been in the regular MX-30, but in my R-EV model it was uninterrupted.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV front tracking

After using up most of the battery power in the first 40 miles, I switched modes to allow the petrol engine to top up the battery. At a 70mph cruise in Normal mode, the MX-30 considers a comfortable state of charge (SOC) to be around 50% of the battery’s capacity; once it’s at that level, the engine dips in and out as necessary to maintain it, give or take a few percent.

There’s also a Charge mode that can take the SOC as high as 100%, but even getting from close to zero to 50% means running the engine almost continuously for extended periods. This can be irritating, because the ‘generator’ isn’t all that quiet. The near-constant drone is like having an additional source of road noise; I'm getting used to it, but in these situations the MX-30 isn’t as peaceful as a fully electric vehicle.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV at Royal Oak

Having reached my destination, I put my MX-30’s rear seats to good use when I ferried two friends to a nearby pub for lunch. The MX-30’s rearward-opening rear doors aren’t the most convenient, because they can be opened only after the front ones. This in effect means the front occupants have to let the rear passengers in, trying not to get in each other’s way, before climbing in themselves. And the rear passengers are penned in until whoever’s up front lets them out.

Still, my friends are both on the small side, and neither had any trouble getting into the back seat behind the front passenger, taking turn about. They professed to be comfortable, once the front seat had been raised slightly to free up some foot room.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV sitting in back seat

Back home at the end of the day, I still had around half a tank of petrol remaining, so range is never going to be a concern. Nevertheless, for the sake of a quieter life, I’m going to make every effort to plug the car in regularly and use battery power alone as much as possible.

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