Mazda Mx-30 2021 e35 astina
launch-review

2021 Mazda MX-30 Electric launch review

Rating: 7.7
$65,490 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
    N/A
  • Engine Power
    107kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    N/A
  • ANCAP Rating
    5Stars
Mazda finally has an electric vehicle to put to its name in the all-new MX-30 Electric – has it been worth the wait?
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It’s been a long time coming, but Mazda is off to a slow and steady start in the electric vehicle space with the new MX-30 Electric.

It goes above and beyond the MX-30 Hybrid that arrived earlier in 2021 by adopting a fully electric powertrain. Both cars look identical which makes things a little confusing, but Mazda has placed great emphasis on the style and materials used in the MX-30, to set it aside from the rest of its SUV range.

The SUV body uses “freestyle” doors (also known as suicide doors) as a nod to the RX-8 sports car of the mid-noughties and includes cork accents in the interior – a reference to Mazda’s origins as a cork manufacturer over 100 years ago.

It’s all a part of Mazda’s plan to blend its heritage with the future – which kicks off with the MX-30 and should see three electric vehicles and 10 hybrid variants by 2025.

The MX-30 Electric will only be sold in Australia as a single high-spec variant, the $65,490 before on-road costs E35 Astina. Spec-for-spec, that compares with the $66,000 Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander, the $76,800 Mercedes-Benz EQA and the more affordable $44,990 (drive-away) MG ZS EV.

While the Mazda MX-30 Electric battles its electric rivals with a strong set of standard equipment, crucially, the electric range is just 200km according to WLTP tests (224km on ADR tests). That’s far lower than key rival Hyundai Kona Electric’s 484km WLTP range.

The drivetrain in the Mazda MX-30 is a 107kW/271Nm electric motor powered by a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery. Power is sent to the front wheels through a single speed reduction gear which effectively feels like there is no gearbox at all. Mazda says it’ll take 36 minutes to charge from 20-80 per cent on a DC fast charger, or three hours on the maximum AC charging rate. Mazda does not sell a specific wallbox to access the maximum AC charging rate, rather recommending a choice of suppliers.

A conventional slow charging cord to a home AC output is supplied with the car, though charge time for that method is more of an overnight affair.

Key details2021 Mazda MX-30 E35 Astina
EngineSingle electric motor with 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery
Power107kW
Torque271Nm
Weight1670kg
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
TransmissionSingle-speed automatic

In terms of included kit, the Mazda MX-30 E35 Astina is supplied with adaptive LED headlights, heated front seats, heated steering wheel and 12-speaker Bose sound system. A head-up display, sunroof, 360-degree camera and 18-inch wheels are also standard.

Safety-wise, the MX-30 electric gets 10 airbags and a five-star ANCAP rating (tested to 2020 protocols), alongside a wide array of active safety tech including autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring, front and rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention monitoring, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go.

More than equipment though, Mazda has put considered effort into creating a stylish interior space with unique design concepts such as the floating centre console. Elsewhere, the MX-30 is adorned with sustainable materials like the recycled PET plastic on the upper door cards and leftover cork from the production of cork bottle stoppers.

The seats are upholstered in a leatherette material which is printed with a “vintage” look and feel, while black cloth is used as the inserts.

Stepping through the doors that open at almost 90-degree angles, for all Mazda’s efforts the interior presents as a genuinely nice place to spend time. It feels like an architecturally-designed space rather than being penned by car designers, which Mazda sees as a positive for the urban-minded buyers it expects will purchase the car.

You fit comfortably into the seats which have good side support, and all screens are ergonomically within reach of the driver – including the new TFT display that handles the air conditioning controls.

The 8.8-inch infotainment display runs Mazda’s Connect software which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. There’s also a 7.0-inch digital driver display within the instrument cluster for various driving-related read-outs. It’s a very simple system to use thanks to an intuitive rotary dial and a series of physical shortcut buttons relating to key functions.

Things become less pleasant after hopping into the second row. At the moment, the suicide doors are cool and novel. Through they’ll invariably become annoying to use after time as the driver and front passenger will always have to exit the vehicle to let rear occupants out. Certainly can’t imagine the MX-30 being used as an Uber car, anyway.

Once you’re in the second row, there’s minimal room to place your feet and the door handle is awkwardly placed right where your right leg should be. The small back seat side windows also make the space feel claustrophobic.

Mazda says boot space has been maximised thanks to the smaller-than-usual battery, but cargo space is still just 311 litres. There are a number of hidden storage spots to place items in the front row, and the car has two USB-A ports as well as a 220-volt AC output for charging larger devices.

At launch, we sampled the Mazda MX-30 Electric through some of Melbourne’s CBD out towards Heidelberg. The first experience you notice is one of serenity.

It is eerily quiet in the interior. If it wasn’t for a simulated Jetsons-style sound signature played through the speakers to let you know what the motor is up to, driving about in the MX-30 would feel like you’re in a vacuum. Adding to the quiet is a comfortable ride profile that is compliant over larger bumps while remaining firm enough to not feel overly floaty though bends. Its small stature is also easy to place on the road, though vision-out is not a strong suit.

Adding to the quiet is a comfortable ride profile that is compliant over larger bumps while remaining firm enough to not feel overly floaty though bends. Its small stature is also easy to place on the road, though vision-out is not a strong suit.

At a glance2021 Mazda MX-30 Electric
Fuel consumption (on test)16.7kWh/100km
Boot volume311L
Length4395mm
Width1795mm
Height1555mm
ANCAP safety ratingFive star (tested 2020)
WarrantyFive year, unlimited km
Servicing cost$1273 (5 years)
Price (MSRP)$65,490

Mazda has tried to draw parallels between the MX-30 and the MX-5 in terms of driving feel. While it doesn’t feature handling as darty or as spirited as the little roadster, the steering weight is a nice firm, reassuring feel.

It is an agile, nimble driving character for a suburban spin – despite the 160kg weight penalty over its petrol-hybrid counterpart.

The MX-30 Electric’s 107kW/271Nm outputs do not sound like much on paper and they feel as such in practice. That wild surge of electric power that some associate with electric vehicles is lacking. Overtakes must be a bit more measured than you’d expect from an EV.

What is valuable is the immediacy of torque which should suit Mazda’s urban demographic around town perfectly.

The car has five modes of brake regeneration that can be controlled using the paddles behind the steering wheel. Curiously, even with five modes there seems to be not one that allows for that trademark “one pedal” driving mode where you rarely have to use the brake.

Our short 62km jaunt around Melbourne returned a 16.7kWh/100km energy consumption. This is about on-par with associated rivals such as the MG ZS EV, though uses a little more than we’ve experienced in the previous generation Hyundai Kona Electric (15.2kWh/100km).

Mazda has set service intervals for the MX-30 Electric at either 12 months or 15,000km – whichever comes first. Under Mazda’s Service Select capped-price servicing plan, five-year servicing should cost $1273.79.

Like the petrol-powered cars in Mazda’s range, the MX-30 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The lithium-ion battery pack is covered by an eight-year warranty.

Mazda’s first take at an electric vehicle is most definitely an unconventional one. But then again Mazda has often been about the unconventional. You need only look as far as the rotary engine for evidence of that.

The MX-30 Electric is quirky and unique, and Mazda expects it will find 100 initial die-hard buyers to grab first dibs at its maiden EV play. That said, you would have to be pretty devoted to look past some of the compromises. The lack of electric range, the lofty price, and the frustrating doors will likely see some parties sitting on the sidelines.

However, while electric vehicles currently exist as a niche, the MX-30 does have a place in the segment as a stylish, urban-focused off-shoot.