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Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech – long-term review

We're living with Mazda's MX-30 EV

GT Sport Tech
Claimed MPG:

On the day I collect TG’s new Mazda MX-30 the UK Government announces a couple of changes to the Plug-in Car Grant. It used to give you £3,500 off the price of a new EV costing £50,000 or less, but now it’s dropped to a £2,500 discount on an EV costing no more than £35,000.

Admittedly of little consequence to anyone interested in the Mazda – it’s among the cheapest EVs on sale, with prices starting at £26,045 post-grant – but pretty damn annoying if you were about to order a Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model 3 or Volkswagen ID.4 et al. And I’d argue a bit backwards when you’re trying to convince a semi-reluctant public to go electric ASAP.

You need only look at Norway, where EVs are cheaper to buy and run than petrol and diesel cars, to see what a good package of incentives does for EV sales – over half the cars sold there last year were electric, versus a little over 40 per cent in 2019 and just ONE per cent ten years ago.

Even so, generous incentives aren’t enough on their own to lure people into EVs. The cars themselves have to be bloody good too – thoughtfully designed and engineered, easy to own and properly desirable. And happily there’s no shortage of those around at the moment. We’ve got six months with the little Mazda – the company’s first production EV – to see whether it stacks up.

The headlines are thus: the MX-30 might be crossover-shaped, but it’s priced and pitched as an alternative to EV city cars and hatchbacks like the Mini Electric and Honda e. Like those cars it doesn’t have a very big battery and won’t go very far on a charge – just 35.5kWh for a claimed 124 miles of range.

Mazda reasons that’s plenty for the kind of people it’s targeting, and that small batteries are significantly more eco-friendly than big ones over their lifetime. We tend to agree. Topping up from 20 to 80 per cent on a normal 50kWh public charger takes 36 minutes under ideal conditions, but at home a full charge takes less than six hours on a 7kW wallbox.

The single, front-mounted e-motor only makes 143bhp and the MX-30 is no featherweight, with a kerbweight including a 75kg driver of 1.75 tonnes. So 0-62mph takes almost ten seconds and the top speed is capped at 87mph. But it is nonetheless meant to be good to drive, as Mazdas tend to be. Why else would it be called the MX-30 if it wasn’t the least bit sporty? First impressions are of a neat-handling car with a largely comfortable ride. But fun? Further investigation required.

All feels very expensive inside, with vegan-friendly materials and cool cork trim. Mazda’s infotainment system is one of our favourites, largely because it’s operated via old-school iDrive-style clickwheel, but they lose points here for pointlessly replacing the climate controls with a touchscreen. And yes, the doors are pretty cool. But they do nothing for visibility and make the somewhat cramped back seats feel even more claustrophobic.

VX21KNR is a top-spec ‘GT Sport Tech’ MX-30 costing £32,045 as-tested. It’s got everything – head-up display, Bose stereo, sunroof, screens, LED headlights and many active safety systems. The colour scheme is a £1,500 option, and the dark grey/brown interior another £200 on top of that. Stay tuned.

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