What a year, eh? Well, nearly. We’re now entering an impressive nine months with the MX-30 on the fleet, but despite that, we’re still learning things about it.
For the first few months with the Mazda, I set myself the challenge of charging it up exclusively from public charge points. It was a challenge largely motivated by, uh, having no other option, but it did teach me a lot about the wily ways of minimising the time spent charging.
Since then, I’ve become one of those ‘homeowner’ people you see next to Kirstie and Phil, and even more importantly, have ample off street parking. As a result, the nice people at Mazda and Shell were able to provide me a NewMotion home charger – which, until recently, was Mazda’s preferred charging solution for the MX-30.
This means we’ve now had a real go at using the MX-30 as Mazda intended it – and as expected, it’s transformed the ownership experience. Firstly, it’s surprising how little you feel the limitations of the MX-30’s range when it refills itself overnight without any drama.
100(ish) miles isn’t a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but Mazda is sort of correct; for the majority of journeys it’s plenty. 90% of the time, I never even drop below 50% of range – let alone see the ‘low battery’ message of doom.
Switching to an EV-specific home electricity tariff certainly helps too. Set the MX-30’s inbuilt timer to charge during off-peak hours and it costs just £1.50 to recharge its entire battery. £1.50! In 2021 money that’s less than a litre of unleaded.
As a result of not stressing about hours at a charge point in an industrial estate, I’ve actually been appreciating the MX-30 more too. I realise this isn’t perhaps the angle Mazda chooses to sell its products on, but… it’s a rather relaxing thing to waft around in.
Take the ride for example – it’s not exactly Citroen Cactus-level soft, but it does a good job of isolating you from dodgy road surfaces, and yet does a reasonable job of feeling sporty when the occasion calls for it.
A little while ago – after months of riding around serenely in the MX-30 – I was behind the wheel of Vauxhall’s new Mokka-e, one of the Mazda’s closest rivals. I hated it. The interior wasn’t as nice, the driving position felt squashed, and the controls overly light and fidgety.
There’s a very good reason for this of course: the Mokka sits on the platform of the wee Corsa. The MX-30, meanwhile, borrows its underpinnings from the much larger Mazda 3 and CX-30.
As a result, you get a much bigger-feeling car than any of Stellantis’s range of EVs – and a more premium-feeling, reassuringly solid interior too.
One of the things about the MX-30 that everyone seems to struggle with – myself included – is just who it’s for. An electric SUV with three doors and a small battery: what’s the point in it? But honestly, I think I’ve nailed it. It’s for people that want a sub-£30k EV for local(ish), but don’t want something as tiny as a Corsa, 208 or Mini.
I would probably be one of those people. If my commute matched that of my partner – a 60 mile round trip to Milton Keynes – I’d rather sit in the comfort and isolation of the MX-30 than being bounced along an A-road in a Corsa.
So far so good then, right? Sort of. My (thankfully rare) commute isn’t 60 miles, it’s 280. Gallingly said Corsa would get there and back with just one stop for charge. The MX-30 needs three.
A few niggles have also made themselves apparent – the first of which is to do with those snazzy ‘freestyle doors’.
Crowd pleasing they might be, but after nine months both sides have developed a fairly horrible rattle. They’re also, I have to say, utterly useless for access to the back seats unless you’ve got a nice big empty parking space next to you.
Secondly, the MX-30’s alarm doesn’t seem to appreciate the car being charged. As my now sleep-deprived neighbours kindly pointed out to me, the alarm goes off just as the charge comes to an end – typically at around uh, 3:30AM. David & Mary, if you’re reading, apologies again.
A quick Google reveals some other MX-30 owners with the same problem – but frustratingly there’s no way of forcing the alarm to turn off permanently in the car’s settings. Instead, you hit a disarm button on the remote within 30 seconds of locking the car, which is a great thing to realise you’ve forgotten in the middle of the night.
These issues aside, I’m still very much Team MX-30. It has limitations, and I’m certainly not the ideal usage case, but if you don’t need a big battery, it’s a very pleasant EV to have in your life. I just wish it went a little bit further…