Mazda MX-30 107kW Prime Line 35.5kWh 5dr Auto
Mazdas are usually among the sweetest driving cars in their class owing to a combination of supple ride, light weight and a lovely manual gearshift. The MX-30, with its low-slung 310kg battery, its 1,645kg kerb weight and its single-speed transmission, can’t offer those selling points. It is, somewhat inevitably, lacking the sparkle that emanates from something like a Mazda 3 or CX-3.
Don’t be too disheartened, in normal driving the MX-30 is very decent to pootle around in. It’s just missing that magic that turns a good car into a special one. And given Mazda went down the small battery route, we’d hoped for a bit more… effervescence. Pity.
Still, Mazda’s fitted the same torque-vectoring tech used elsewhere in its range but given it a bit of pep to work with the electric motor on the front axle. The result is neat, tidy, fuss-free cornering, and an amusing chirrup of wheelspin if you’re especially enthusiastic out of a corner. It’s not fun like an MX-5 is, but in the slightly homogenised world of EV handling, it’s neat.
Ah, what you gain in stability you pay for in ride quality, or lack thereof at low speed. For the most part the MX-30 is comfy, but there’s little subtlety to the way it deals with speed bumps. It’s hardly alone in this regard, however, and it’s only really the Honda e that’s managed to fully evade the skateboard-like rigidity that small cars with a bank of battery cells in their belly usually exhibit.
Performance is fairly sober: with 143bhp moving 1.6 tonnes, its 9.7-second 0-62mph time and 87mph top speed are to be expected, but at least they’ll stop you sapping the battery too briskly. And as always in an EV, it’s 0-40mph where it majors anyway. There’s more than enough instant go to keep you happy at urban speeds.
There’s also smart brake regen on offer, with five levels to choose from via a pair of steering wheel paddles. Set at its strongest, this becomes a one-pedal car for all but reaching a standstill. It’s way more intuitively set up than some rivals, too, so we’d wager you might actually use it as opposed to trying it once and reverting back to driving more conventionally.
One thing you can’t alter is the false engine noise that accompanies acceleration and braking. Mazda had a tinker with this for 2022 and says the augmented noise better matches your throttle inputs now, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. It actually sounds quite sweet – like a dinky three-cylinder petrol engine singing through autotune – and only pipes up under harder throttle or brake use. The car’s as spookily serene as any other EV as you cruise through town or along an A-road.
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