‘EV is not cheaper than an ICE, as far as maintenance is concerned’
The Mazda MX-30 has a striking appearance. But it’s not just its stocky bodywork with rear doors that open the wrong way that catches the eye, the technology does too. And by certainly not being earth-shattering. Nevertheless, more than 2,000 Dutch people opted for an MX-30. How do they experience their choice in practice?
If you want, you can see the Japanese BMW i3 in the Mazda MX-3. Both are strikingly stylized, have ‘suicide’ backdoors and are certainly not for everyone. Yet the Mazda is a bit more traditional. Although Mazda opted for controversial, ‘new’ materials such as cork in the interior, the MX-30 is simply made of steel and as such weighs 1,620 kilograms. What is remarkable is the recently available MX-30 R-EV, in which the battery pack can be charged via a rotary motor if desired.
Such a striking design is not always convenient. Most MX-30 owners think so too. “The major drawback of the car are the suicide doors. The entry is OK, but other than that it really only has disadvantages,” writes an owner. He then mentions five disadvantages. A large blind spot due to the wide pillars, rear passengers who can only get out when the front door is open, a claustrophobic feeling due to the small windows and too little room to get out when the car is parked in a tight space. “Finally, someone can accidentally throw the back doors on the front doors if the correct order is not followed,” he concludes his account. The criticism does not come alone, other riders also experience more disadvantages than advantages of the construction.
“Those doors look nice, but when you pick someone up, the person sitting in the front always has to get out first. Fortunately – just like the rest of the Netherlands – there are rarely more than two people in the car,” writes one such driver. The next driver and his passengers also take a more light-hearted approach. “The entry is nice and the rear doors work well, although you do need a little more space to get in and out. My children (5&7) have no problem with it and really enjoy it. But of course it is not an ‘advantage’. Although, like the kids, I secretly experience it that way :-).” The doors do distract from other practical matters, because no one mentions the luggage compartment.
Passenger space and comfort
There is discussion about the space for passengers, and the outcome is expected. “It is not difficult for someone who is almost two meters tall to find a good sitting position. Seat front/rear up/down; lumbar support. The steering wheel is also adjustable in height/axis,” writes an owner for whom everything is fine in the front. At the back it turns out to be a different story. “Made the first trip with more than two people. Because wife is by far the shortest, she was allowed to sit in the back. Her height is 1.70 meters. She finds the height of the back seat too low, causing her to sit with her knees up. On the way back I sat down there. It was indeed not overly spacious, but sitting with my head against the roof was a little less pleasant.” Good to know: the front seats are only spoken about positively.
If you want to accuse Mazda of even more stubbornness, you can do so from within. After all, the brand sticks to a traditional operating concept, with a large rotary and push button. Traditional or not, it is quite popular. “Multimedia works well, with just enough buttons on the steering wheel and for audio and climate,” writes a satisfied user. He also points out another ‘nonsense’: “You have a separate touchscreen for the climate, which gives more of a feeling of luxury than it is really necessary.” Another person is also pleased with Mazda’s approach. “The ease of operation from the driver is clear and easy, the round rotary knob with side buttons do their job well and the steering wheel controls are also top notch.”
How does the MX-30 drive?
When it comes to driving, a Mazda is quickly popular. This is no different with this relatively heavy EV. “What do I like about the car?”, one driver asks himself, answering his own question with: “The tight steering, the silence on board and the road holding. It is not fast, but it is smooth and responds well to input, so you never feel short of action. At higher speeds, a little more power would be nice, especially because the chassis is very good.” Yet there is also a ‘but’ to be mentioned. “What can be done better? The rebound of the suspension occasionally strikes at short, high ‘Ikea’ speed bumps. Rarely occurs, but appears less refined, perhaps a result of firm suspension?
Another rider also notices a negative effect. “The Mazda has an inviting handling and yet I find the steering a bit restless. Don’t get me wrong. It is precise, but perhaps a little too light or sensitive. As a result, you have to make a lot of adjustments. So I actually find the straight-line stability a bit disappointing.”
If you thought that the striking features would be ‘used up’ by now, then Mazda has something in store for you. “The car makes an artificial engine sound,” notes a rider on, “and it’s a shame that as a driver you don’t have the choice to turn that on or off. Mazda, please provide a software update to resolve this.” Another point of criticism, which we also read from other users: “The regenerative braking with the paddles works very well, but at 8 km/h it stops and you have to do the last bit with the brake pedal.”
Drive and range
It will not surprise anyone that the MX-30 with its 35.5 kWh battery pack is not a distance runner. Review writers consciously chose this because it suits their use. This also applies to the following driver: “In terms of range, we are always between 205 and 210 km after a full charge. We drive really mixed, within built-up areas, 80 roads and highway during the day, so 100 km/h. The achieved range of over 200 km is more than sufficient, especially considering it is a second car.”
“The range of 200 km is realistic,” writes another, “and sufficient for me. I estimate the effective battery capacity at 33.5 KWh, the rest is buffer, and does 16.0 KWh/100 km. So my range is about 210 km with mixed use.” That is if you get the most out of it. “But no one will be able or dare to drive the battery completely empty, so in practice 200 km will be the maximum. At highway speed you should count on 175 km.” This driver does point out an area for improvement. “It is a shame, however, that Mazda does not offer an 11 kW three-phase charging option. That would have partly compensated for the limited battery.”
A less satisfied rider experiences a more limited driving range and points out another problem. “My range is on average 150-160 km, and then I just drive neatly, cruise control, regeneration system, normal acceleration, heating on position 1 and 19 degrees, radio on…” The other problem? “It’s strange that Fastned’s 300 kW fast charger only charges a maximum of 36 kW, while the car’s option is 50 kW. Does anyone have an explanation for that?” Another rider encounters the same problem and provides a possible explanation. “Unfortunately, fast charging does not work well below 10 degrees Celsius. There is a restriction that only allows heating the battery below -5C, so it takes an hour (!) longer to charge.” There also seems to be a solution. “There are tricks on the internet to force heating. But then the battery is also heated when the car is parked, so you have to switch it off every time with the trick.”
Disruptions and irritations
The Mazda MX-30 does satisfy drivers with its reliability. Riders do not report any notable issues in this regard. Also no draining 12 volt batteries, which we regularly read about with other EVs. However, this Mazda is also not without faults. Several drivers complain of creaking noises at the driver’s door. “There was a thread on the MX-30 forum about a rattle. I read superficially. Two days later in a village with vowels an aha experience; so that’s the problem! Immediately send a message to the dealer, part is on backorder. Corner rubber at the top of the door near the B-pillar, that’s where it comes from. A modified part has been designed for it.”
The driver of an MX-30 First Edition reports an irregular failure of the head-up display, which has not yet been resolved satisfactorily. The latter also applies to another owner, who reported to the dealer with a complete list.
Two drivers report the maintenance costs of a major overhaul, for which the dealer charges around 400 euros. “I have to say that the price of major maintenance was somewhat disappointing to me,” writes one driver. “EV is not cheaper than an ICE in that respect.” This driver also reports that the steering wheel quickly becomes ugly, so the dealer replaced it under warranty.
Bottom line, the Mazda MX-30 is not everyone’s friend, but ‘our’ reviewers purchased it quite consciously. This means they can cope well with Mazda’s antics and the limited driving range. After this story, would you like to read more about the Mazda MX-30? Then we warmly recommend this creative review.
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl