Vehicle Type: Front-wheel-drive, compact all-electric SUV/crossover.
Price Range: $33,470 - $36,480 excluding the $1,225 destination fee.
Powertrain: 143-horsepower electric motor on the front axle paired with a 35.5-kWh lithium-ion battery to power the front-wheel drivetrain.
What’s New for 2022?
The Mazda MX-30 is an entirely new car and the automaker’s first foray into all-electric vehicles. As such, there are no previous models to compare this vehicle to.
- Large cargo space for a small car
- Eye-catching exterior styling
- Stylish interior laden with sustainable materials
- Responsive handling and steering
- Only 100 miles of driving range; worse on the highway
- Huge blindspots
- Tight rear-seat space with limited legroom
- Weak acceleration
- Cumbersome rear door setup
Would we buy one? Maybe if you need an around-town electric car that stands out in a crowd.
The Mazda MX-30 is the Japanese automaker’s first foray into the revolution of all-electric vehicles and thus an entirely new model for the brand, making its first entry for the 2022 model year. It takes the form of a subcompact SUV/crossover, similarly sized to the Mazda CX-30 it’s based on. However, the new car borrows the sports car character of the MX-5 Miata with impressive handling.
It competes against the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hyundai Kona electric, Volkswagen ID.4, Kia Niro EV, Nissan Leaf, Mini Cooper SE, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, and the Tesla Model 3. Unfortunately, at first, the new MX-30 will only be available in California before extending sales to the rest of the country.
The 2022 Mazda MX-30 is a great little run-around car for daily trips not too far away from home. Unfortunately, its limited driving range of 100 miles restricts long road trips. A small family would benefit from the MX-30 being a five-seater hatchback with enough rear-seat space for younger children. However, the limited legroom in the back wouldn’t be comfortable for taller passengers.
While the Mazda MX-30 is based on its sibling, the CX-30, it has a very different appearance. Instead of the CX-30’s prominent five-pointed grille and vertical liftgate, the MX-30 boasts a high, small grille and a smoothed fascia, and a hatchback-like rounded rear. It plays itself out well as a coupe by hiding its rear doors, which hinge at the back.
As Mazda moves into joining other electric vehicles on the road, their first all-electric powertrain for the Mazda MX-30 consists of a 143-horsepower electric motor mounted to the front axle with an output of 200 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, the 35.5-kWh battery pack is only good for 100 miles of EPA estimated range. Front-wheel-drive is the only available drivetrain. All-wheel drive may still be an available option in the future since there is talk about a plug-in hybrid version of the MX-30 releasing later on in the year.
Overall Score: 3.2/5 stars
Safety Features: 4/5 stars
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2022 MX-30 at the time of writing this review.
The i-Activsense is a safety suite of features available on the Premium Plus MX-30, which provides collision-mitigation and lane-keeping assist features to help reduce the risk of a car accident. Front-cross traffic alert forms part of the safety suite and will sound a warning if it senses any dangerous cross-traffic at parking lot speeds (below six mph).
The MX-30 comes with an impressive amount of advanced standard safety features, which keep it aligned with similar offerings by rivals like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. Standard safety features include forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. Front parking sensors and blind-spot assist are also available.
A head-up display and adaptive headlights form part of the available advanced safety features on several rivals, both of which the MX-30 doesn’t offer at all.
Practicality: 3/5 stars
Much like the BMW i3, the MX-30 features reverse-opening rear doors. When opening both the front and rear doors, you get a wide opening to access the rear seats. Some people see this door design as impractical because it requires the front doors to be opened before the rear doors, but we came to appreciate them in our week of testing; getting small kids in and out of their car seats was much easier with this door design, for example.
The MX-30 stands out with its impressive class-leading cargo space. Behind the rear seats, there are 21 cubic feet of space, which is excellent for a small EV. The cargo capacity increases when the 60/40 split-folding back seat folds forward. The Nissan Leaf has rear seats that fold almost completely flat.
The small 5.5-kWh lithium-ion battery may limit the EPA range, but it does help keep the curb weight down. The smaller battery also means faster charging times with a DC fast charger. Mazda claims a DC fast-charging capability that gives the battery 80% capacity within 36 minutes. Because of the placement of the battery, there is no room for a spare tire, so there is a repair kit beneath the cargo floor of the MX-30.
The cabin makes excellent use of storage space, with a large open area right below the drive selector for items like phones, small purses, wallets, and other items. There are clever flip-down covers for the cupholders, with their cork trim helping keep items securely in place. Phones can also be stowed away neatly beneath the floating center console.
Styling & Design: 4/5 stars
The MX-30’s cabin is uniquely attractive and uses natural and sustainable materials, including cork (which we loved), recycled felt, and breathable fabric upholstery made from recycled plastic bottles.
While the materials are not only sustainable and fashionable, the designer, Simona Merker, has said that the textiles and the cork-lined door handles and trays are just as durable and easy to clean as the more commonly found interior plastics and leathers.
The front seats are a little firm, but they offer eight-way adjustability, power lumbar support, and a good seating position. Unfortunately, the back seats are cramped because of the curved roofline, and the legroom is limited for taller passengers. If the driver’s seat is all the way back, there is almost no legroom behind the driver’s seat.
There is plastic side cladding on the exterior of the Mazda MX-30, which emphasizes the electric car and crossover aspect, while still looking great.
Unfortunately, the rear three-quarter view is compromised because it is blocked by the wide B-pillars formed when the front and rear doors are closed. This was our biggest complaint in driving the car on a daily basis.
Driving Experience: 3.5/5 stars
The driving experience is where Mazda truly shines, and the MX-30 follows suit with its excellent ride quality, except for the fact that it can be a little slow. The electric car is no faster than a subcompact economy car despite its inherent torque advantage. Unfortunately, its slow acceleration (8.7 seconds to reach 60 mph) places the MX-30 as one of the slowest in its class.
Fortunately, like its Miata sibling and most of the Mazda lineup frankly, the MX-30 has a playful and fun-to-drive chassis, matched with exceptional steering and handling. In fact, its eager handling is exactly what earned the electric crossover the MX its name. The MX prefix is only shared with the brand’s MX-5 Miata sports car.
The telescopic steering wheel has paddles behind it to help the driver adjust the amount of regenerative braking needed. With a couple of tugs on the left paddle, you will get a decent amount of lift-off deceleration, which charges the battery as much as possible and almost makes it somewhat possible to drive in a one-pedal fashion.
The MX-30 boasts G-Vectoring Control Plus, which is a system designed to improve the vehicle’s cornering performance by adjusting the torque and performing selective wheel braking.
Value: 2.5/5 stars
The new Mazda MX-30 is substantially more expensive than the Nissan Leaf (which starts around $27,400), which is the MX-30’s closest rival. The Chevrolet Bolt EUV is $470 cheaper than the MX-30, while its other closest competitor, the Hyundai Kona Electric, starts around $34,000.
While its pricing may seem on par for the class of compact EV crossovers, the MX-30 offers less value with its minimal driving range of only 100 miles and sub-par performance. To put the MX-30 into perspective with its value, despite having a much higher sticker price than the Chevrolet Bolt, it offers less than half the Bolt’s miles of range.
The MX-30 has the same warranty offered on its stablemates, including the CX-30, CX-5, and the CX-9. The warranty is nothing extraordinary, with three years/36,000 miles of basic coverage, five years/60,000 miles of powertrain coverage, and eight years/100,000 miles of battery coverage. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 offers a stronger warranty with a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
While the MX-30 offers roadside assistance for the duration of the basic warranty, unlike some of its class competitors, it doesn’t offer a free charging plan to start.
Tech Features: 3.5/5 stars
Even in the base form of the MX-30, it is well-equipped with a decent list of standard technology features. Among these features are a large 8.8-inch center screen (with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a 7-inch digital gauge display, the latest Mazda Connect infotainment system, and heated power-folding mirrors. A power moonroof is also a standard feature, which is typically only available on higher trims of rival models.
Mazda didn’t follow the Tesla trend of a sparse dashboard enlivened only by a large infotainment screen. Instead, it developed a conventionally hooded digital instrument cluster and a 7-inch touchscreen in the center stack, which is surrounded by physical controls and knobs for the climate control. Overall, everything is well-placed and easy to use with minimal distraction from the road. The infotainment system doesn’t have touchscreen functionality, which most competitors offer.
Though many may argue that onboard navigation isn’t necessary these days, the MX-30 offers a great system that steps in when you lose your cellphone signal. While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features, you need a cable for connection. Many rivals offer wireless capability and wireless charging.
Several Mazda MX-30 reviews favor the MyMazda App, which enables drivers to check on the status of the MX-30 remotely, lock/unlock the doors, control the charging process, and set cabin temperature before unplugging and switching off.
Efficiency: 3/5 stars
The MX-30 offers a disappointing EPA-estimated 100 miles of range. Unfortunately, that figure places it at the bottom of its class, with some electric cars producing as much as 500 miles, so the many shoppers will want at least 200 miles of range. The Volkswagen ID.4 and Kia Niro EV offer more than 200 miles of range.
Highway driving is where the MX-30 really lost most of its range; we saw maybe 70 miles of cruising at speed before we needed to plug it in. The flip side is that around town, the car was much more efficient, easily and consistently returning more than the 100 miles of estimated range.
Over our week with the car (181 miles of testing), we averaged 3.2 miles per kWh in more city driving than freeway, which would easily beat the 100 miles of range.
The EPA fuel economy for the Mazda MX-30 EV is 98 MPGe city, 85 MPGe highway, and 92 MPGe combined. These numbers make the MX-30 far less efficient than other electric vehicles in its class. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, for instance, has EPA ratings of 132 MPG-equivalent in the city and 98 MPGe on the highway with rear-wheel drive. The Hyundai Kona Electric and Chevy Bolt EV carry ratings of 120 and 119 MPGe combined, respectively.
The Mazda’s onboard charger is also less powerful than most electric vehicles in its class. On a 240-volt Level 2 power source, the battery can charge from 20% to 80% capacity in under three hours.
What’s it Going to Cost Me?
There is only one electric powertrain available for the Mazda MX-30 comprising of a 143-horsepower electric motor on the front axle paired with a 35.5-kWh lithium-ion battery to power the front-wheel drivetrain.
The base MX-30 has a starting MSRP of $33,470, excluding the $1,225 destination fee. Standard features include a large 8.8-inch center infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the latest Mazda Connect infotainment system, a 7-inch digital gauge display, a power moonroof, heated power-folding mirrors, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
A thorough safety suite also comes standard on the base model that includes forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors.
The Mazda MX-30 Premium Plus model starts at $36,480, excluding the $1,225 destination fee. As a Premium Plus model, the new Mazda MX-30 EV comes equipped with a Premium Plus Package, which adds on leatherette seats (in gray or brown), a 360-degree monitor, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry, and a Bose 12-speaker audio system with three months of SiriusXM satellite radio.
The Premium Plus Package also adds on the i-Activsense safety suite, including blind-spot monitoring with steering assist, front cross-traffic assist, and lane-keeping assist.
Additional options for the 2022 Mazda MX-30 include three multi-tone paint colors designed to highlight the electric car’s coupe-like roofline.
They are priced as follows:
- Polymetal Gray ($895)
- Ceramic Metallic ($895)
- Soul Red Crystal ($995)
Each of the above paint options is complemented by a silver D-pillar badge and a dark gray roof.
Machine Gray Metallic is another paint option at $495. However, this color isn’t a multi-tone offering.
If we put our money on the mark for a 2022 MX-30, we would stay with the base model since its limited driving range makes less sense as the price climbs. The base model is pretty well equipped in terms of safety and comfort features, so we feel there is no desperate need to upgrade to the Premium Plus model.