Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech: Living with it

Mazda’s MX-30 electric car has arrived on our fleet – and we’re just getting our heads around the out-of-the-ordinary SUV

Report 1: not your average EV

Mazda is a company with a proud history of doing things that other manufacturers probably wouldn’t. On the face of it, the MX-30 couldn’t be more conformist. It’s a small electric SUV that has arrived at a time when small SUVs are absolutely de rigueur for seemingly every mainstream car brand, and electric power, as we know on Driving Electric, is poised for an explosion in popularity.

Yet the MX-30 isn’t your average small electric SUV and that’s what prompted us to run one on a long-term test. Mazda’s offering is a difficult car to pigeonhole, with its sharp, coupe-like lines, rear-hinged back doors and novel interior trim choices. That’s before we even get to the electric powertrain, which uses a relatively small 35.5kWh battery to achieve a similarly compact 124-mile maximum range. The car has a bigger footprint than rivals like the Vauxhall Mokka-e and Kia Soul EV, but you wouldn’t know that from sitting inside it.

This doesn’t sound like we’re arrowing towards a glowing endorsement of the MX-30, but wait. Could it be that Mazda knows best? We’re right at the start of our long-term assessment of the car and even now I can see that once you get past apparent on-paper issues like the range and cabin space to engage with the car itself, you start to warm to it.

It looks good. The three-tone colour scheme on our car – Soul Red metallic with a black roof and dark grey side panels – is an £1,800 option box that many will leave unticked, but it’s very fetching in combination with the latest Mazda styling themes. There’s a lot of grey plastic cladding on the lower extremities, but generally the MX-30 looks sharp and distinctive on the road.

The pleasing design is carried over inside, where there’s an environmental flavour to the trim choices of cork and recycled fabric. You have to suspect that the light-grey colour scheme isn’t going to hide scuffs and marks brilliantly, but it does look modern and different. 

By giving the MX-30 an unnecessarily long bonnet – there's no engine under there, after all – and a coupe-like roofline, you could say Mazda has achieved attractive exterior looks at the expense of rear cabin space. Even for kids, legroom in the rear seats is tight and once the novelty of the rear-hinged doors has worn off, the reality is that they make the MX-30 more practical than a three-door but less so than a full five-door – just as you’d imagine.

In GT Sport Tech trim, our £32,145 car is well equipped to the point that there’s very little on the options list except the various colours and trims. It’s definitely not your orthodox small SUV, but Mazda’s philosophy with the car seems to have been one of stripping away redundant capacity, providing enough range and enough cabin space for what it sees as the target market.

View the MX-30 as a stylish city car rather than a small family SUV and you get closer to an accurate categorisation. We’ll be the judge of just how well it fills the brief as the test continues.

Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech

  • On fleet since: April 2021
  • Mileage: 1,820
  • Range: 124 miles (110 miles on test)
  • Efficiency: 3.2 miles per kWh
  • Battery: 35.5kWh lithium-ion
  • Price new: £30,345
  • Price as tested: £32,145
  • Cost of a full charge at home: £4.97 (at 14p per kWh)
  • Options: Soul Red Metallic paint with Brilliant Black roof and Silver Metallic side panels (£1,800)
  • Annual company-car BiK cost at 20/40%: £66/£131
  • Insurance group: 19
  • Any problems? None so far

Most Popular

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021
DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE
Best cars

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021

The finest plug-in hybrid SUVs offer low running costs, enough electric range for daily use and excellent practicality. These are the best plug-in hyb…
27 Jul 2021
Top 10 longest range electric cars 2021
Mercedes EQS
Best cars

Top 10 longest range electric cars 2021

Avoid range anxiety by choosing one of these: the longest-range electric cars you can buy in the UK right now
28 Jul 2021
Top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars 2021
Skoda Superb iV
Best cars

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars 2021

Plug-in hybrid cars are great for keeping fuel and company-car tax bills low. Here are the best ones to buy in the UK right now
27 Jul 2021