To BEV, Or Not to BEV?: Mazda MX-30 BEV Review

The battery electric vehicle (BEV) segment is growing all the time. So much so that any mainstream manufacturer cannot afford to be left behind. Mazda have been a long time coming at jumping into the current electric fray with the MX-30 All Electric. While this is not the first Mazda to be fully electric, it is the first to go into mass production. However, with many rivals nipping at its heels, the MX-30 All Electric needs to perform, and it does.

The MX-30 All Electric sits as the full electric sibling of the MX-30 Mild Hybrid. At $74,990 plus ORC, the MX-30 All Electric just sneaks in under the $80k limit for the Government’s Full Clean Car Rebate of $8,625. Also as of October 1st, Mazda New Zealand will fund five New Zealand Native Trees in conjunction with Trees That Count for every Mazda sold.

Power comes from an e-SKYACTIV 35.5 kWh battery system producing 107kW and 271Nm of torque. Drive is sent through the front wheels and Mazda claim energy consumption of 18.5 kWh/100km. A full charge will also give you a snip over 220km in range.

When compared to others in this price bracket, it doesn’t seem like much. That said, when you factor in most MX-30 buyers are expected to have another car at their disposal and intend to use the MX-30 for city trips, then it makes more sense as you won’t have the need to charge it daily.

If the need to charge does arise, Mazda claim a DC fast-charging system will give you back up to 80 per cent charge in around 40 minutes. An AC charger will do the same job in around three hours or so. MX-30 All Electric buyers also get a Wall Box charger too, they just have to pay for installation.

One could definitely describe the MX-30 as being minimalist when it comes to its looks. Regarded as a compact SUV-come-coupe, it follows Mazda’s Kodo design philosophy to a tee while having a look which is totally unique. I loved the three-tone colour combo which feature a brush aluminium rear-three-quarter panel with Mazda etched in front of the rear lights.

Also, who could forget those RX8-esque small rear suicide pillarless doors. While those of a lankier frame may struggle getting in and out, they are easily one of the coolest aspects of the overall design.

Inside, that uniqueness continues in earnest. The biggest aspect of the MX-30 All Electric’s interior quirks comes in the form of Mazda’s use of eco-friendly materials. These include Heritage Cork for the centre console and recycled breathing fabric for the upper door trim made from reusing single use plastic bottles.

Features like the floating centre console and touchscreen for the climate controls only to an essentially attractive and minimalist cockpit. Plus, all the switchgear feels so satisfying to touch and to operate, especially the touch buttons for that floating climate screen.

The MX-30 All electric is only available in flagship Takami spec. This means Mazda’s first mass produced EV doesn’t skimp on providing you with toys. You get a sunroof, heated seats, heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Mazda’s 8.8-inch Connect Infotainment system, 18-inch alloys, and a rather nice BOSE stereo system.

Naturally, Mazda’s i-Activesense Active Safety Package is also on hand. This gives you features like Blind Sport Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Lane-Keep Assist, Smart Brake Support, Front Cross Traffic Alert, 10 airbags all around, and Driver Monitoring.

As mentioned before, lankier folk will have a difficult time slobbing out in the rear, but those of average height, much like yours truly, will find room to spare, but only just. Up front there is much more room to move about, but with only 341L of boots space, luggage capacity is not too bad but could be better.

Getting moving and what becomes audibly obvious is the sound of the batteries. Yes, you get near silent hum of electrons moving around but with an added raspy tone over it. It actually sounds quite nice, almost like a quintessential EV cocktail with just the merest splash of an internal combustion engine.

There are four stages of regenerative braking, two up and two down. Some BEVs have four or five levels of downhill regenerative braking but the MX-30 All Electric combines those varying levels of braking to just two, mild and very strong. The latter of these in inner-city built-up situations means you seldom ever need to touch that brake pedal.

The weight of the batteries means your speed off the mark is not mind altering quick, but you do feel quite planted. Mazda’s G-Vectoring control also means the steering is one of clear communication despite being quite light. The merest suggestion of going left or right is met with a crisp response.

Ride comfort also deserves a mention. The MX-30 All Electric manages to be both comfortable and soft without being too wayward or wobbly. This is also noticeable in the corners and it tracks very true and never feels underdamped.

While a spot of enthusiastic motoring is possible, the All Electric is more at home in an urban environment. It can munch up some motorway miles for sure, but you get the impression it doesn’t really enjoy it, preferring instead to munch up some Christchurch back streets instead.

In summary, the Mazda MX-30 All Electric shows itself to be a well-rounded opening chapter for the Hiroshima based brand’s foray into mass market BEV production. While not without niggles, it offers plenty for those after a premium feeling EV with a bit of style.

RATING: 8/10

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