This made me nervous; the official range is put at 130 miles (I’m seeing around 117 displayed after a full charge), but I live in a flat and do more miles than the average London dweller. Surely this can’t be a match made in heaven?
So far, I’ve made it work. Free overnight parking on my local streets means I can take the Mazda round the corner after dinner, plug it into a Ubitricity lamp-post and pick it up after my morning coffee (before the parking wardens come prowling). It’s not ideal – these streetside chargers operate at less than 5kW, so even a 25% to 50% top-up takes a good few hours – but remember, it’s not a big battery, so it’s usually full when I come back to it, and I won’t have paid much for the privilege (24p per kWh).
Admittedly, I have been doing a lot of tootling about in congested West London, which is the sort of environment in which the short- range MX-30 is destined to be most popular. But when subjected to my patented half-lap-of-the-M25 endurance test, the MX-30’s displayed miles consistently match actual distance travelled, and the range doesn’t plummet as fast as I thought it might at a 65mph cruise.
In blunt numerical terms, on my longest non-stop trip so far, I covered 62 miles – mostly motorway but with some country lanes and gridlocked London arteries thrown in – and got home with 37% battery remaining.
If the battery were any bigger (and thus heavier), I think the MX-30 would lose the dynamic edge it enjoys over its contemporaries. Compared with the numb and disengaged helm of many rivals, it feels more than keen and agile enough to enliven the errand run. In corners, it turns in crisply, holds itself pleasingly upright and lets you get back on the power quickly without the scrabbling and skipping that can blight the experience in similarly positioned cars.
So what else has become clear in the first 500 miles? Well, Mazda’s refreshingly logical approach to infotainment ergonomics continues to stand out among large-screened and touch-control-heavy contemporaries, and I’m particularly pleased that neither the central display nor the gauge cluster shows any more information than is necessary: range, radio station and speed. Why try harder?
The back seats are a slightly more contentious issue. The ‘suicide’ doors are a neat touch, but they’re so small as to prevent entry to all but the most compact of passengers. Not that anyone bigger would want to try; one of my neighbours jokingly called the MX-30 “the world’s first two-seat electric SUV” in reference to its tiny rear bench.