New Mazda CX-30 vs MG ZS EV vs Skoda Karoq

Sitting midway between small and large SUVs in size, Mazda’s new CX-30 promises to be well suited to family duties. Let’s see if it’s a match for the MG ZS EV and Skoda Karoq...

Mazda CX-30 driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

At first glance, the ZS looks like an expensive option, with by far the highest list price. Thankfully, once you’ve factored in the Government’s £3500 electric vehicle grant and a £2500 discount from MG (at the time of writing), it’s only around £1200 more to buy outright than the Karoq and CX-30.

The CX-30 is cheapest of all, and it also costs the least if you’re buying on PCP finance. On a three-year deal with a £2400 deposit and a limit of 10,000 miles per year, it will set you back £302 per month –£24 less than the Karoq. The ZS is quite a bit pricier at £390 per month, but it’s the only one of our contenders that’s exempt from annual road tax.

In addition, you’ll spend around three times more on petrol for the CX-30 and Karoq than you will in electricity for the ZS – at least if you’re able to charge at home instead of having to rely on public chargers. And yet, despite all this, the ZS costs only about £1000 less than the CX-30 to run over three years, because it’s predicted to suffer the heaviest depreciation and has the highest servicing and insurance costs. The Karoq is priciest to run, but only by £700 when compared with the CX-30.

MG ZS EV driving

On the other hand, if you’re a company car driver, the ZS is by far the cheapest option for benefit-in-kind tax. It’s around £6800 less than the CX-30 over three years, with the Karoq a further £1000 adrift. The only trouble might be convincing your fleet manager, because it’s the priciest to lease by a hefty margin. 

But let’s address the pachyderm in the room: range. Although changeable weather prevented us from carrying out our scientific Real Range test, we conducted a 100-mile test from a full charge on a mixture of roads and were left with an indicated 17 miles in the battery. That’s some way behind the similar-priced Renault Zoe R135 hatchback, but you can top up the ZS on a CCS rapid charger from 0-80% in just 40 minutes. From a 7kW wallbox, it takes 6hr 30min to charge fully.

All of our contenders come equipped with keyless entry and start, cruise control (adaptive on the ZS and CX-30) and heated front seats. However, the ZS has plain old air conditioning, whereas the Karoq and CX-30 have dual-zone climate control, and you can’t have an electric tailgate on the ZS – a handy feature that’s standard on the CX-30 and a £510 option on the Karoq.

Every car here gets automatic emergency braking, but with the Karoq you have to pay £930 for blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic alert, which helps you to reverse safely. All of these features are standard on the ZS and CX-30.

Skoda Karoq driving

Should they not do the trick, the CX-30 is safest in an impact, earning Euro NCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating, with some particularly impressive scores in the individual areas assessed. The ZS and Karoq scored five stars, too, but chest protection isn’t as good for children in the back of the Karoq or for adults in the rear of the ZS.

When it comes to reliability, the Karoq finished towards the bottom of the family SUV class in our 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey; that’s particularly disappointing given that Skoda as a brand was ninth out of 31. We don’t have any data on MG, nor the ZS and CX-30 models, but Mazda finished mid-table.

The Karoq comes with a bog-standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, although this can be extended to five years and 100,000 miles for a fee. It’s a similar story with the CX-30, while the ZS offers a stonking seven-year/80,000-mile warranty. 

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