Mazda MX-30 R-EV long-term test: report 3

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 e-bike shop

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 4090 List price £35,895 Target Price £34,193 Price as tested £37,895 Test economy 83.7mpg Official economy 282.5mpg

31 May 2024 – Bike while the iron is hot

The battery in the folding e-bike that I bought online less than a year ago died recently, with no real hope of getting it replaced or working again. So, I decided to buy a new bike made by an established European brand and supplied fully built by an actual bike shop, in the hope that it would serve me better than the previous one. That meant collecting it from the dealer in Farnham, Surrey – but I wasn’t 100% confident in advance that my new purchase would fit into the back of my Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30 R-EV loading e-bike

Even with the parcel shelf left behind in my garage and the rear seatbacks folded down, the MX-30’s extended load bay didn’t look big enough to accommodate a full-sized, non-folding bike with 28in wheels. However, I knew that removing the bike’s front wheel could well make all the difference between success and failure, so I thought I’d have a go anyway.

Heaving a chunky e-bike into the MX-30’s boot wasn’t helped by the fact that the non-adjustable floor doesn’t sit flush with the boot lip, but at least there’s no step in the extended load bay when the rear seatbacks are folded down. As predicted, it was a tight fit, but with the front passenger seat slid forwards and the rear of the bike manoeuvred into that corner of the boot, it went in with only a moderate amount of wrestling. 

Mazda MX-30 R-EV cable bag

The only place I could find to stash the detached front wheel was flat on the floor under the bike, with a coat between them for protection. Normally, I might have been able to stand the wheel upright in the footwell behind the driver’s seat, but that space was taken up (as it usually is in my MX-30) by a bag of charging cables. 

Because there’s no dedicated storage space for the cables and I don’t really want the bag getting in the way in the boot, standing it upright in the gap between the rear seat base and the back of the driver’s seat isn’t a bad option. It precludes a passenger getting in the back on that side without moving the bag somewhere else, but with the driver’s seat set comfortably for me (I’m 6ft 1in tall), there isn’t enough leg room behind me for an average-sized adult anyway.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV e-bike in boot

Access to the forward part of the load bay while the bike was being jockeyed into position was decent enough, because there was plenty of space around the car for all the doors to be opened wide. However, the rear-opening rear doors can be awkward at other times, especially when I find myself parked alongside another car in a typical (slightly too narrow) British car park. 

Unless I can swing the front door reasonably wide, there often isn’t enough room for me to step into the gap to open the rear door, in which case access to the rear seat is denied, even to chuck a bag in there. Sometimes I find myself trapped between the two half-open doors and have to demonstrate how swivel-hipped I can be in order to extricate myself. In tight spots like these, regular rear doors would be much more convenient.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV trapped by doors

This wasn’t an issue when I was collecting my new toy, though. I can’t say it was the easiest bike-into-boot exercise I’ve ever performed, but the MX-30 got my new purchase home safely, and that was all that mattered.

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