19 July 2021

Mazda MX-30 2021 Car Review

In an interesting turn of events, Mazda has released its first Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) ahead of any hybrid or PHEV offerings, and full credit to them - it’s a very nice one at that.


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Mazda MX-30 2021
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Mazda MX-30 2021
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Mazda MX-30 2021
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Mazda MX-30 2021
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Mazda MX-30 2021
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Mazda MX-30 2021
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Mazda MX-30 2021

The MX-30 is perfect for those who are environmentally conscious and want a stylish emissions free urban drive in complete electric fashion.

Perfect Fit

Based on Mazda’s right-sizing approach, they have selected a battery that easily meets a drivers daily needs and also minimises carbon impact in the production lifecycle. Since the average New Zealander drives under 30km per day, the 224 km range (NEDC) is sufficient to handle everyday activities, all while maintaining a natural driving feel.

Minimising weight and engaging driving dynamics are a hallmark trait in Mazda’s vehicle development, so it’s no surprise that Mazda’s BEV has a lightweight 35.5kWh battery which provides better handling performance and has less impact on the environment over the entire life of the vehicle. Paired with the new electric drive technology e-Skyactiv it has a maximum system power of 107kW and a maximum torque output of 271 Nm.

Taking charge

Sized to provide the optimum balance between a driving range which gives customers peace of mind and CO2 emissions from an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) perspective, the system battery can be charged to 80 per cent within approximately 40 minutes using DC rapid charging (maximum of 50kW charger input).

During our week-long review, the MX-30 was used as a daily driver in Auckland traffic, but we also had the opportunity to drive it on the weekend in some of Auckland’s more rural areas to get a wide view of what this BEV is best used for.

Eco ethos

The ergonomically excellent interior is where Mazda’s expertise and experience with sustainable and eco-friendly materials come to the fore. The cabin has a driver-centric cockpit featuring heritage cork – a natural, sustainable raw material which is used in the centre console tray and door grips. The cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, meaning it can regenerate naturally while sequestering CO2 as it grows. It is also a nod to Mazda’s heritage - cork was the first product Mazda manufactured over a century ago.

The premium vegan leatherette doesn’t use organic solvents in the production process and is finished with a silicon coating that gives a feeling of depth and texture. Approximately 20 per cent of the fabrics used in the interior are recycled, and the breathing fabric used on the upper section of the door trim  made from recycled plastic bottles and is exclusive to the MX-30.

Mazda will also fund five native NZ trees for every MX-30 sold in conjunction with Trees That Count, with over 76,000 native trees being planted by the manufacturer since 2016. Every native tree planted in NZ helps to restore and enhance the environment, for biodiversity and climate change. 

How does it look?

The MX-30 looks a bit like a two-door coupe from the outside thanks to the centre pillar-less freestyle doors (hinged differently to traditional passenger doors) whilst displaying the same Kodo design theme found in other seventh-gen Mazda vehicles. The look is unique, and while there are hints of the previous Mazda design, it has a character all of its own.

There are four exterior colours - two of which feature three-tone colours which consist of a black roof with a silver metallic tone for the roof sides. On the inside, there’s an interesting mix of neutral colours, fabrics and textures dotted around the cabin.

The hardware

The MX-30 is equipped with e-Skyactiv - Mazda’s new electric drive technology. The front-wheel-drive powertrain combines a 107kW AC synchronous electric motor with a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery and can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 9.7 seconds.

Thankfully, the Mazda Connect infotainment screen seen in previous models has received an 8.8-inch widescreen upgrade, and it has an additional touchscreen added below for the A/C system control.

A great feature with BEVs is the heating system gets hot pretty much instantaneously, and the MX-30 has an auto setting where the seats and steering wheel are heated automatically and slowly reduce once the vehicle warms up.

The drive

Driving an electric vehicle is always fun, and we appreciate the lack of operating sounds with only the gentle whirring of the electric motor, some tyre noise, and a top Bose sound system to belt out your favourite tunes.

Fitted with the very latest i-Activsense safety systems, a 5-Star ANCAP score was recently awarded, and includes features like Blind Spot Monitoring, Front Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. A new system specifically designed for the BEV is Electronic G-Vectoring Control Plus which improves cornering response by reducing engine torque and shifting the load to the front wheels, creating a more pleasant feel for both drivers and passengers.

The extra weight carried by having a battery helps the vehicle stay planted around corners, however, you still feel the effect of the weight as you accelerate, which it doesn’t do very quickly, contrary to more performance BEVs.

Just to keep you on your toes, the gear selector has a change in pattern to normal, to get to Park you have to slide the shifter to the right from Reverse.

Verdict

The more we consider the price and range, the better we feel about it. Not all BEVs need to have a huge range, so the MX-30 just fits into a class that would appeal to those who enjoy the Mazda design, comfort, uniqueness, and might have all the time in the world to stop for a break and charge if they were to venture out of town.

Its closest rival would be the BMW i3 42kWh which also uses sustainable parts, is just as quirky, has a 260km range and is priced from $78,700 (+ORC). Another option in the price range is the Hyundai Kona Elite 39kWh, which is priced from $76,990 (+ORC) and has a claimed range figure of 305km on a full charge.

At a glance

Models

Mazda MX-30 

Battery capacity & range

35.5kWh, 224km range

Price

From $74,990 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating

5-Star

Power and Torque

107kW, 271Nm

Transmission

One-speed auto

Fuel economy/CO2

18.5kWh/100km, 0g/km

Towing capacity

N/A

2WD/4WD/AWD

2WD (Front)

Seating capacity

5

Luggage capacity/payload

341 litres 

Safety systems

  • Blind Sport Monitoring (BSM)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • E-GVC Plus
  • Lane-Keep Assist System (LAS)
  • Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA)
  • Smart Brake Support (SBS)
  • Cruising and Traffic Support (CTS)
  • 10 Airbags
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA)
  • Driver Monitoring

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