The MX-30 is Mazda’s first fully electric vehicle
It only has 161 kilometers (100 miles) of range for a starting price of $42,150 in Canada and $34,645 in the United States
Mazda wanted to keep the dynamic character of its other vehicles by using a smaller battery
In recent years, the average range for EVs has been around 400 kilometers. The Chevrolet Bolt is at 417, the Hyundai Kona electric at 415, the Nissan Leaf Premium at 383. We were surprised to learn that the 2022 Mazda MX-30 is arriving in this segment with a range of 161 km.
If the model sold for $25,000, we could justify such a poor performance. However, at over $42,000 for the base GS version, Mazda is leaving with a catch. In an attempt to defend its approach to range, Mazda explains that the MX-30 offers a new philosophy of electric vehicle for proximity or as a second vehicle. In the mind of a Japanese living on a tiny island in the Pacific, the notion of proximity is probably quite different from that of a Montrealer who spends his Saturday in Quebec City.
Proximity is much further away here and 161 km simply doesn’t make sense anymore. As for the second vehicle at $42,000, no one is going to get on board with this story. How should we approach this vehicle?
Based on a gasoline model
Mazda didn’t do much research for this vehicle. It simply used an existing gasoline model to make an electric model. The new Mazda MX-30 has been around in Japan for years. You can recognize Mazda’s style in the front and rear with the antagonistic doors that remind us of the RX-8. You also have a trendy roof that gives the vehicle a coupe-like look.
When it comes to interior space, Mazda is sitting between two chairs. While the front seats are spacious and comfortable, it’s hard to say the same about the rear seats.
The antagonistic doors are original, but quickly become a problem if you park in a tight spot like a shopping mall or an underground parking lot, because you have to open two doors to let people out in the back. The shape of the roof offers a touch of originality, but is open to two criticisms.
There’s little headroom in the back and the roof shape reduces cargo space to 366 liters, which isn’t much. Fortunately, the seats fold down to leave 1171 liters.
A good deal of technology
All 2022 MX-30 models offer i-Activsense, which includes cruise control with “Stop & Go,” blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, front intelligent city braking support, front pedestrian detection, front intelligent braking support, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, driver attention alert and high beam control. Mazda’s active driving display projected on the windshield, traffic sign recognition system and navigation system.
Our GS trim on test offered a standard 8.8-inch center screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, audio system with 8 speakers. If you opt for the $47,150 GT trim, you get a 12-speaker Bose audio system, power sunroof, 360-degree display with front parking assist sensors, memory driver’s seat (2 positions), and power folding side mirrors paired with the memory seat feature.
The rearview camera display shows dynamic guide lines while the auto-dimming mirror features HomeLink, and the cargo area has convenient lighting. The seats are available in leatherette, either pure white with contrasting gray fabric or classic brown with black fabric. Both options feature 20 percent recycled yarns in the fabric.
The MX-30 GT is available with a monochromatic exterior paint in jet black mica or arctic white. A two-tone exterior option is also available.
A little 143 horsepower
The 2022 Mazda MX-30 will only be offered as a front-wheel-drive model with a 143-horsepower engine with 200 lb-ft of torque, which Mazda says limits energy consumption and promotes a more responsive driving experience. This power output suits the model very well and it didn’t suffer from a lack of power during our test drive. It’s not much, but it’s enough.
The battery, which is only 35.5 kWh, is housed underneath the vehicle, giving it a lower center of gravity for a more pleasant drive. The total weight of 1,645 kg is not felt in the driving, which does not suffer from heaviness.
This MX-30 drives like a sedan and the suspension comfort is excellent. You drive over a pothole, but you don’t feel it. There are, however, two minor irritants in the driving experience. Mazda adds an electronic noise to supposedly warn people of the presence of a vehicle.
This ever-present noise quickly becomes annoying after a few minutes. We can understand the usefulness of such a noise at low speed to warn pedestrians or cyclists of our presence. However, the relevance of such a noise at all times is not justified, it should simply disappear beyond 50 km/h (30 mph). The other irritant comes from the 5 brake regeneration levels. It works well, but even in the most aggressive setting, the MX-30 does not stop completely, remaining at a speed of 6 km/h (3,7 mph).
The 35.5 kWh battery can be charged from 20% to 80% in about 36 minutes with a level 3 fast charger. It takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes for a Level 2 (240V/30 amp) public or home charge or 13 hours and 40 minutes with a Level 3 charger. Mazda guarantees the battery for eight years or 160,000 kilometers (100,000 miles).
The interior, built with a floating design, is very of its time. The extra space accommodates the two standard USB audio inputs and the optional 150W AC power outlet.
At the front of this structure is a new seven-inch touchscreen that provides access to the climate control system. The touchscreen also has push buttons on each side to operate the climate control. It still has too many sub-menus to be truly user-friendly, but it’s a definite improvement over the previous generation’s system.
The interior is both comfortable and well designed, with environmentally friendly materials. The interior incorporates cork, combining the modern with the historical to pay homage to Mazda’s origins as a cork manufacturer over 100 years ago. Plus, cork is one of the most sustainable materials available, as it can be harvested without harming donor trees. The seats in the front are comfortable and well-padded.
Is the Mazda MX-30 2022 a good vehicle? Absolutely. Will Mazda succeed in making a breakthrough? The answer is no. The only hope lies in the plug-in hybrid model that arrives as a 2023 model year. It will offer the same 160 km of range with a rotary engine and a 9-liter fuel tank to make it possible drive for a while longer when the battery is dead. A PHEV with 160 km of range, that’s a good idea. But in this form, dealers will have to fight to sell them.