There’s just something exciting about getting behind the wheel of an all-electric vehicle. It puts the future at your fingertips, or in this case, your hands around a steering wheel. But these days, along with that excitement there come a lot of expectations. EV Automakers can’t just wow with design, comfort, technology and performance. In the era of electrification, electric vehicles also have to wow people with range.
That brings us to my latest test drive: Mazda’s first-ever all-electric vehicle, the 5-passenger MX-30. (Currently, only available in California.) While Mazda’s first EV effort shines when it comes to sophisticated design, sustainable materials and ride quality, that’s not what people are talking about most. Instead, it's the crossover's surprisingly low 100-mile EPA estimated range that has people talking. So I'll start there.
To be fair, I can appreciate Mazda targeting a product to a specific audience, that’s how product marketing works. In this case, Mazda targeted city dwellers, and more specifically the “typical driver” whom it says drives about 30 miles a day. But somehow along the way Mazda forgot about public perception and range anxiety. What I like to call the “what if” factor. I'll be interested to see what range is offered with Mazda's next EV effort.
The MX-30 comes in a base and my test model's Premium Plus trim. Both share Mazda's new E-skyactiv electrification technology that delivers 143-horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. I’d love to see a horsepower boost. While its electric motor gives it an immediate off-the-line start - don't expect an adrenaline rush. You’ll also note right away that Mazda also gave the MX-30 some “EV Sound”, aka audio feedback that’s in sync to the motor.
Mazda certainly hits the right notes when it comes to style in my opinion. The new MX-30 looks distinctive in all the right ways especially in a Polymetal Gray three-tone paint. Its most unique feature is RX-8 inspired freestyle doors which are very easy to open. They do create a wider B pillar where the doors intersect which takes some getting used to when it comes to visibility.
Both MX-30 grades share a front grille in black gloss finish, heated power folding side mirrors and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels as well as LED headlights feature adaptive front lighting with combo LEDs for tail lights. Both also come with rain sensing wipers, a rear roof spoiler and a power-sliding one-touch moonroof.
The new MX-30’s interior doesn’t disappoint, delivering the near-premium, soft-touch quality we’ve come to expect from Mazda. It introduces some new cool and unique features as well.
My review model sports an inviting Black with Vintage Brown cabin. Leatherette-trimmed sport seats with cloth inserts are very comfortable. An 8-way power driver's seat also provides power lumbar support. The front seats are also heated. The switchgear on the leather-wrapped, steering wheel looks top-notch and comes with EV paddle shifters. The steering wheel is heated, too, on the Premium Plus model.
Mazda also excels in the use of multi-textured, sustainable materials. The MX-30 cabin is designed with materials like real textured cork and recycled threads and features 100% recycled PET in the door panels. The use of cork is a nod to Mazda’s history - as the automaker actually started out as a cork manufacturer in 1920.
Another new design element is a “floating console” which is Audi-esque to me in its simple, clean design. I find it very appealing along with its non-EV-looking leather gear shift knob. The console is also home to an electronic parking brake, brake hold and multi-function commander control.
Above the center console, Mazda also does an excellent job with a 7-inch touchscreen display for climate controls. It looks terrific and is easy to use.
The MX-30 Premium is equipped with a upgraded 12-speaker Bose audio system with great sound quality.
The rear seat seemed roomy and passengers get a drop-down armrest with cupholders. Overall, I noted the interior fabric used is very cushiony. A 60/40 rear split seats add to an already impressive amount of cargo space. I also like the power seat buttons on the back of the driver's seat.
Standard MX-30 features across the lineup include push-button start, heated front seats, two USB ports, a 150W AC power outlet and a 12-volt.
Mazda's 7-inch LCD digital driver display makes it easy to read your battery and charging status. It also displays nice graphics.
Both grades are equipped with an 8.8-inch non-touchscreen set back atop the center dash. Mazda did that to avoid distractions. It has non-wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, along with Bluetooth and HD radio. You can control the system multiple ways including voice command. It also houses a rearview and 360 camera with great resolution.
Both grades are equipped with a windshield full color active driving display.
Battery and Charging
Now for a closer look at the battery and charging. The MX-30 is powered by a 35.5 kWh Lithium-ion battery mounted under the cabin floor. It provides an EPA-estimated range of 100 miles on a single charge -- but expect it to be less. Range can vary based on various factors. For example, as you can see by the photo below, it shows 100% charged with a 92 mile range. Temps were in the low-50s to high 40s during charging.
The MX-30 comes with a charging cable to plug into your regular home outlet (Level 1 Charging) which is what I did. Here's an example of the charging times I experienced. The photo on the right was taken at 1:01:57 PM -- on the left 5:08:58 PM on January 23, 2022.
Mazda cites these charging stats:
- Charging Times (SOC 20%-80% @ 75° F)
- Level 1 (120V AC): 13 hours and 40 minutes
- Level 2 (240V AC): 2 hours and 50 minutes
- Level 3 (DC Fast Charge): 36 minutes
Mazda says MX-30 owners will receive a $500 credit toward public charging or the purchase of a ChargePoint® home charger.
Ride and Drive
The MX-30 is equipped with Mazda’s new electric G-Vectoring Control Plus which delivers a really smooth, quiet and comfortable ride. Braking is great, too. Handling isn't as sporty as I've experienced in Mazda's gas-only models and there's less of a powerful acceleration factor but overall I like the MX-30's ride and drive quality.
The MX-30 is equipped with Mazda's iActivsense safety technology which is nice suite of driver assistance features. It includes Smart Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Rearview Camera, Blind Spot Monitoring and Blind Spot Assist, Rear Cross Traffic -with Smart Brake Support - Alert, Hill Hold Assist and Rear Parking Sensors.
The Premium Plus adds the following safety features: Front and Rear Parking Sensors, a 360 Degree View Monitor, a Driver Monitor, and Front Cross Traffic Alert.
The MX-30 is currently only available in California with plans to expand its availability in 2023, but no word on which states will see it next.
There are some really great and unique things about Mazda’s first EV, including its overall style, freestyle doors, near premium cabin and sustainable materials. But it needs more range - not to mention availability - to really compete with the segment.
- What I liked most: Design, Interior, the Ride.
- What I would change: Range and more power.
- MSRP: $36,480 ; As equipped: $38,550.
- Fuel Economy MPGe: 98 city/85 highway/92 MPGe combined.
- Official Color: Polymetal Gray (3-tone) ($895)
- Odometer reading when tested: 699 miles.
- Weight: 3,655 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Unknown.
- Length-Width-Height: 173.3. long/70.7” wide/ 61.5” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: N/A.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2022 Mazda MX-30 Premium Plus in a few words: A stylishly sophisticated crossover with a near-premium feel worth considering if you can get past the "what if" factor.
- Warranty: 96-month, 100,000 mile EV Battery warranty, 24-hour roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Hiroshima, Japan.
- Manufacturer’s website: Mazda