The 2022 Mazda MX-30 presents an interesting question: Are Americans ready for a short-range all-electric car? With the average commuter traveling just 30-ish miles per day, on paper an all-electric car qualifies for running less than 100 miles on a full charge.
But, it’s the way that Mazda has gone about building the MX-30 subcompact car that makes it problematic, not the range. Other vehicles offer similar mileage such as the Mini Cooper SE (110 mi) and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric (124 mi).
The car’s look is one of the least attractive in the Mazda lineup, let alone one on the market today. It’s part contemporary Mazda, part Dodge caliber, complete with suicide doors. Buyers who opt for the Premium Plus package can get it with a two-tone paint scheme which somehow works to make the look affordable despite the upgraded price point.
There’s no front trunk thanks to the placement of the car’s e-SkyActive power- and drivetrain components. There is a high rear cargo area load floor that provides access to an area of appropriate size.
The toughest section to detour on the MX-30 is the interior of the car. Mazda is regularly praised for its classy, premium interiors. No one saying how great they are will add the MX-30 to that discussion when they take a closer look. The MX-30’s interior is a mix of Mazda Arsenal’s cockpit mixed with quirky materials like cork and felt that covers various surfaces and gives the impression that a driver is sitting behind the wheel of a knockoff Apple product box. Is.
There are also great design options like USB ports in the lid and center console for the cupholders that are mostly inaccessible without a passenger in the front seat.
The car’s 8.8-inch infotainment screen and climate control touch screen look affordable. Everything from their housing build to the screen resolution seems downmarket. Even Mitsubishi, notorious for low quality components, has high quality screens.
The front seats are likely the only place passengers who are not in infant car seats will be comfortable. Rear-seat legroom is at a premium, even with a small driver up front. This is to be expected considering the door configuration of the car.
Mazda gives the vehicle a decent list of features. Heated front seats, power moonroof and leather wrapped steering wheel are standard. Keyless entry, Bose audio system, eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated steering wheel, heater power-adjustable side mirrors and 360-degree camera view are also on the list.
Power comes from the vehicle’s 35.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The front-wheel drive model gets an 80.9-kW electric motor that makes 143 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The output is solid, with acceleration that is constant and not slowing down.
Moving the model’s shifter from park to reverse, neutral or drive is a maneuver that requires horizontal motion and then downward motion. This is a complication without an obvious reason. The same can be said for the cork flap-covered cup holders in the center console.
The best part about the MX-30 is that it drives like a Mazda. Seating behind the wheel for a connected drive experience will provide most of the maneuverability you’ve come to expect of a heavy, high-riding hatchback from the company’s arsenal. Ideally, the steering can be tightened when the journeys of life take the car on twisty roads.
Buyers who decide to go with the MX-30 as their daily driver (only the 560 will be available for the 2022 model year) can access Mazda’s larger vehicles for days on the road trip. MX-30 owners are able to drive other Mazda vehicles up to 10 days per year for the first three years of ownership as part of a unique program.
Mazda is selling the base MX-30 for $33,470. Adding the Premium Plus package to the model raises the price to $36,480. All models are subject to a minimum destination and handling fee of $1,175. The car will be sold only in California.
While it’s not high-riding, the Mini Cooper SE is a far better buy than the Mazda MX-30. It gets an all-electric range of 114 miles, has 181 horsepower, and has drive dynamics that put Mazda to shame. Its starting MSRP of $29,900 is a better deal and the mid-grade Signature Plus trim level hits the appointment, features, and price sweet spot at $35,700.