Mazda Goes Electric with the Mazda MX-30 EV Crossover 

Mazda Mx-30 Featured Image

It also may be the most luxury you can get for the money. Seriously.

Mazda has been late to the EV game, but for good reason: The company wanted to get it right when they did. Well, they’re here now! They got a lot of things right with the Mazda MX-30. It starts with the Mazda ‘Zoom-zoom’ drive experience but doesn’t stop there. Mazda loaded this petite EV crossover with luxury and style. Then, add in tax incentives, and it could have a final price of just $24,000. A stunningly low price for a lushly appointed, modernly stylish, tech-filled crossover.  

Introduced in the US in 2020, it was a finalist for the World Design Car of the Year for 2021. This small electric crossover, based on the frame of the Mazda CX-30, has seating for five. However, it really is best for one or two. It also has a small battery range, a small environmental footprint and a small price tag. On the other hand, it’s big on design, luxury and fun, making this a great crossover for commuting and tooling around town. 

Related: What the Proposed New Electric Vehicle Tax Credits Could Mean For You

The Eskyactive Engine Badge Lets You Know This An Ev

The eSkyactive engine badge lets you know this is an electric car. Photo: Scotty Reiss

First, the EV Details

If you hear skeptics talk critically about the Mazda MX-30, it’ll be about this: It has an electric driving range of 100 miles on a full charge. With some intentional driving and using the regenerative braking system at its max, you might improve your range by 5-10% (that’s about what I experienced), though masterful EV drivers might do better. Still, that’s on the low side for EVs these days. Many have a range of double or triple that number. 

While Mazda could have added more battery capacity, there are a few reasons for pegging the range at such a low number. This allowed Mazda’s engineers to use a smaller, lighter-weight battery pack and therefore preserve the sporty Mazda drive experience. Additionally, the smaller battery keeps the price down. The company’s research shows that most drivers don’t need the longer range. Also, the MX-30 will be sold in countries where a 100 mile range is just fine. 

As for US drivers, consider this: Most people drive about 12,000 miles a year, or 1,000 miles a month. That translates into just 40 miles per day if you drive 6 days a week. 

Also, if owners plug in at home rather than a public charging station, they’ll easily recoup a full charge every day. It takes 14 hours to fully charge with a standard household outlet; just under 3 hours to fully charge with a level 2 charger and 36 minutes to charge at a DC fast charge station. Ultimately, the larger battery pack may give owners more confidence, but will they really need it? For now, Mazda thinks there’s a market of drivers for whom this car makes sense. 

Moreover, the company plans to introduce three more EVs, five plug-in hybrids and five hybrids in the next three years. While yes, the MX-30 appeals to a particular buyer, it’s just the start of this new era for Mazda. 

Related: All of the Electric Vehicles Available in the United States Today

The Front Cabin In Mazda Mx-30

The front cabin in Mazda MX-30. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This Car Had Me at Luxury

Oh my, this car is nice—even at the standard model level, which has a starting price of $33,470. The Premium package adds a few more luxe details and takes the price up to $36,480. Paint color is extra, ranging from $495 to $995 for Soul Red Metallic, Mazda’s signature color. But honestly, the base model is just lovely. The pure delight of getting all these features for $24K with the tax credits factored in is almost too good to pass up. 

Here are some of the features in the base model: 

  • Leatherette trim and woven upholstery with heated front seats 
  • Cork and brushed metal interior details 
  • Head up display
  • Keyless entry 
  • Rain sensing wipers 
  • 2 USB ports and a household outlet (under the floating console)
  • 8.8” media screen with dial controller
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Moon roof
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, 
  • Parking sensors
  • 18” wheels

The Premium Plus package adds: 

  • Blind spot assist, which beeps and lightly brakes when someone or something is in your blind spot
  • Front cross-traffic alert 
  • Surround view camera with dynamic lines
  • Cargo light
  • Advanced keyless entry
  • Premium Bose sound system with 12 speakers 

You can add a few more options like navigation, wireless charging, a cargo cover and roof rail cross bars, but none of the options struck me as a glaring oversight. If you add navigation, you’ll see turn-by-turn directions in the head-up display, as well as road sign displays. However, with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, navigation already displays on the media screen.

Also, there’s a portable power bank option (available from dealers) that is enough to jump-start the car. This may be a good idea with the 100 mile battery range. 

Related: A Torque Story Part Deux: The Mazda CX-30 Turbo SUV Is Designed to Make Your Soul Soar

Cork Also Lines The Inside Of The Door Handle, An Elegant Detail That You May Not See But Definitely Can Feel

Cork also lines the inside of the door handle, an elegant detail that you may not see but definitely can feel. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Driven by Design For a Fresh, Modern Look and Feel

On first glance, the MX-30 stands out from the rest of the Mazda lineup. Its front grille is slimmer, and the front end has softer, rounder lines. The roof is dark rather than body-colored, and it has a more coupe-like shape than the typical Mazda.

Plus, it features coach doors, which Mazda calls “Freestyle.” These open outward from the center of the car. There is no center pillar between the seats, and this creates better access to the rear seat. These doors offer an easy way for your dog to get in and out, load large items into the cargo area or for rear-seat passengers to simply get in and out. 

From there, some distinct details include the truly beautiful white leatherette and gray woven seating with pumpkin-colored trim (there’s also a dark charcoal and espresso interior) that has a chic, elegant look. It reminded me of the designer Kenzo’s use of texture and color to create a modern aesthetic.

Some buyers and critics may see similarities between the MX-30 and the BMW i3, a similar-sized, coach-door-clad, futuristic EV. I certainly got that feeling, too, though the BMW is much more of a departure from the overall aesthetic of its siblings. The MX-30 feels more like the future of the brand, combining familiar details and design while evolving and innovating others. 

Related: Grab A Coffee With Friends While Charging Your Electric Vehicle

Another Look At The Floating Center Console And Underneath, The Cork-Lined Cubby

Another look at the floating center console and underneath, the cork-lined cubby. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Floating Console Surrounded by Cork Is the Star of this Interior

As you get into the MX-30 your eyes are drawn to the centerpiece: the command center. It features a floating console with a cork surround. Cork also lines the tray underneath the center console and the back of the door handles. The cork detail is truly a gem. It adds a light pop of color and compliments the pumpkin trim on the seats. Also, the cork makes it easy to see any items in the lower tray. Often, these spaces are black holes and impossible to see into.  

Cork also lines the tops of the cup holder covers; these flip up to reveal two cup holders or fold down to keep the elegant look. 

The center console features an angled glass panel with climate controls, the media system dial controller and the gear selector, and a small squarish lever that easily fits in the palm of your hand. Gear selectors of this size and shape are a welcome trend. I liked that Mazda included it in the MX-30.

The Coach Doors Allow Good Access To The Rear Seat

The coach doors allow good access to the rear seat. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Smaller Environmental Foot Print, Inside and Out

The beauty of the interior details are made all the better by the knowledge that Mazda sourced recycled products to produce them. The door panels are made from recycled plastic bottles, and the cloth upholstery is made from recycled fabrics. 

And of course, the cork that lines the center console is a very sustainable product. Cork trees regrow their bark in 8 to 10 years. However, the cork isn’t simply a sustainable and stylish detail; it’s a nod to Mazda’s heritage. Before the company began building cars, it was a cork producer more than 100 years ago. 

Add to this the lack of tailpipe emissions and all-electric function, and the Mazda MX-30 is a feel-good driving option.

The Mazda Mx-30 In My Rear View

The Mazda MX-30 in my rear view. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What’s It Like to Drive?

I’ll start with this: I love driving EVs. They are effortless and liberating. EVs send instant power to the wheels the split second you tap the accelerator. They speed up quickly, and when you ease your foot off the accelerator, they slow.

Pull the left paddle shifter, and the Mazda MX-30 slows even more quickly by using regenerative braking. The system adds unused energy back to the battery, extending your range. You can set it for mild regeneration or stronger regeneration. Leave it in D mode for a drive experience that is more like a typical car— not slowing too quickly and creeping forward at low speeds when you ease off the brake.

Mazda’s team worked on the drive experience to ensure that when you slow the car, the feeling isn’t jerky or weighty. They call it human-centered design, which also adds to the fun of the drive experience. I found the MX-30 had much of the zoom-zoom we expect from Mazda, plus the liberating weightlessness of EV driving. 

One caveat I noticed while the system was set in max regeneration mode, it defaulted back to regular D mode after a while. If you want to drive all the time in max regeneration mode, you’ll get used to pulling that left paddle shifter.

Mazda'S First Ev, The All Electric Mazda Mx-30

Mazda’s first EV, the all-electric Mazda MX-30. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Couple of Perks, and One Drawback

Realizing that many buyers will occasionally need a car that can drive further than 100 miles at a time, the company is offering MX-30 buyers the option of a Mazda loaner vehicle for 10 days a year. This could actually be really great. Even if the other car in your driveway is a gas-powered SUV, you can drop by your Mazda dealer and pick up a CX-9 for that trip to Disneyland.

Mazda also partnered with ChargePoint to gift every buyer a $500 credit toward charging at local charge stations or a home charger. Either way, it’s nice to have an incentive to get you started on your EV journey. 

If all this sounds really good; it is. The drawback is that the MX-30 is only being introduced in California (for now), and there will only be about 500 for sale. However, with the aggressive plan for EVs that Mazda will roll out over the next few years, this is a great start. I can’t wait to see what’s next. 

Disclosure: I was Mazda’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided, but all opinions are my own.

Mazda'S First Ev, The All Electric Mazda Mx-30

Mazda’s first EV, the all-electric Mazda MX-30. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss