The 2022 Mazda MX-30 is priced from $42,150 in Canada, $33,470 in the US.
Specifically, the MX-30 is only available in California, British Columbia, and Quebec in all of North America at the time of the review.
Pricing and range decimate the MX-30 chances for any kind of success.
Way back in October of 2019, images of the Mazda MX-30 leaked, purposefully or not, on the web. Speculations immediately began saying that this was to become the Japanese automaker’s first dedicated all-electric vehicle. Within days, the MX-30 was officially introduced at the Tokyo Auto Show, and immediately, there was a problem.
Five years too late
It’s an old problem now and I’m certain folks over at Mazda are tired of hearing and reading about it. And that problem is range. Specifically, the marketing aspect of the MX-30’s range is the real issue. At a rated 161 km or 100 miles, the small all-new 2022 Mazda EV matches the 2012 Ford Focus’ and 2011 Nissan LEAF’s range. Of all EVs introduced on the market in the last 11 years, the MX-30 bests only the Mitsubishi i-MiEV’s 100 km range. Roughly six years ago, Volkswagen launched the e-Golf and it provided about 200 km of range… So maybe the MX-30 is closer to seven years too late…
In a more reasonable and understanding world, the MX-30’s range isn’t a factor that would turn consumers away. In reality, the vast majority of drivers very rarely travel more than a few dozen kilometres at a time. Unfortunately, another problem arose closer to launch in Canada and that is pricing. At $42,150, the small Mazda is far too expensive. Case in point: The 2022 Nissan LEAF, with 50% more range, or 240 km, retails for $37,498. Incentives make no difference.
But, however, and despite these two points, the 2022 Mazda MX-30 is unique. From all angles, the small EV is all Mazda right down to the complex and distinct front fascia. The taillights remind of 50s-era American car design when jets served as inspiration – they look like fighter jet exhausts. Obviously, the MX-30’s most special attribute is the rear suicide doors. They’re a nod to Mazda’s recent past and do make rear ingress and egress easy enough.
The cabin itself is barely a notch above, space-wise, to a 2+2 configuration. Only two people will fit across and they cannot be taller than 5-feet 10 inches tall unless the driver is short. The floor is high (battery pack), and the seat cushions are low meaning that rear passengers will need to bend their knees. The trunk is decent with about 325 litres of available volume.
Up front, it’s a different story. There’s loads of space for both occupants and stuff. The MX-30’s console is well thought out with storage bins and a clean layout. Mazda has fitted a lower 7-inch display for HVAC controls and it’s easy to work as it’s touch-sensitive. The upper 8.8-inch display can only be operated via the HMI commander wheel but in true Mazda form, navigating the menus is simple. Even so, I don’t understand both screens cannot be touch-sensitive…
About the materials used onboard, I have nothing but praise for the central cork-lined bin and the black/grey cloth upholstery. Fit and finish are impeccable, and even premium.
The base GS, as tested, features all the necessary kit. It includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, a head’s up display, a Satellite radio, and navigation. For $47,150, $5,000 more than the GS, the GT adds leatherette, a Bose audio system, a moonroof, a power driver seat, and a few active safety systems.
Don’t drive other EVs first
All, or nearly, electric vehicles have one thing in common and that is instant torque. You don’t have to spend $100,000+ on an EV to experience it either as a Ford Mustang Mach-E or a Nissan LEAF will deliver the punch. The MX-30, however, doesn’t quite live up to the expectation. It’s altogether possible that have been lucky enough to drive nearly all currently available new EVs has skewed my expectations – Hence the subtitle.
With 143 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque, the MX-30’s acceleration is spirited the moment throttle is applied but quickly fizzles out. This is something to think about when merging on the highway with passengers and gear on board.
The upside to the small 35.5-kWh battery and its 6.6 kW onboard charger, is that charging it up isn’t a big deal. A Level 1 120V charger will require just over 13.5 hours to go from a 20% to an 80% state of charge. A Level 2 home charger will cut the time down to only 2 hours and 50 minutes. On the road, a 50 kW will need 36 minutes for the same job. On a full charge, the maximum indicated range I saw was 158 km. Based on the driving I did, I suspect that it might be possible to stretch close 180 km out of a full “tank”.
Unless you focus on the drive itself
This is one of the 2022 Mazda MX-30’s main highlights. The neat 3,700-lb EV is nimble and handles itself very well in all settings. The suspension features a rear torsion beam layout which Mazda has transformed into a plus. The MX-30 is stable and responsive, very much like all Mazda vehicles. Steering may lack some on-center assistance, but I felt a connection to the front tires all week.
The ride is refined as well. Also in true modern Mazda fashion, the small SUV displays behaviour that is a notch above that of its mainstream brand. While not as premium-feeling as a CX-5 or Mazda3, it holds that appreciable quality.
There are too many (still very few really) alternatives to the Mazda MX-30. The Nissan LEAF, Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai Kona EV, and others are examples of EVs priced similarly to the MX-30 that offer more power, range, and even features.