CROSSOVERS are pitched at great family adventures but everyone knows they are mostly stuck around cities and suburbs.
To-ing and fro-ing to work, the shops, gym and the school gates.
So Mazda has doubled down. Its new crossover is suitable for pretty well nothing but local errands.
The MX-30 is battery-electric. Because most people don’t drive far, Mazda decided to build a car that doesn’t go far.
It has a smallish battery. On the upside, that saves weight and mining resources. And cost. This is one of the cheapest EVs, yet Mazda still had cash left over to give it a smart interior. And there’s a £1,000 scrappage bonus.
It’s still got enough range for most people’s daily trips.
They can plug it in overnight at home. Mazda supplies a free charging box.
The downside is a big one, though. At open-road speeds it needs a charge every 90-odd miles. So you need another car in the household.
Accept that, and the MX-30 is a desirable thing. It mixes up the chunkiness of a crossover with a fastback tail, two-tone paint and jewelled light details. Inside, some surfaces are actual cork. Which isn’t as Seventies bathroom as it sounds. Seat fabrics might have been selected by some trendy barista. You can almost smell the espresso.
It’s not just style over substance. Neatly arranged controls and handy hidden storage spaces make it habitable.
Mazda revisited its past and used clap-hands doors like the RX-8 coupé. If you have a toddler, they’re great, making a wide aperture to lift them into their kiddy seat. And they can’t jump out, as their back door is blocked until the front one is opened. But if you’re dropping older kids off it’s a pain, for exactly the same reason.
You have to unbelt, then open your door, or they are trapped.
The MX-30’s electric drive means it won’t pollute your town with noise or fumes. It’s no bigger than a compact hatchback, so it’ll snake through the multi- storeys and width-restrictors.
You can usually bet any Mazda is among the most fun to drive in its class. Here, not quite so much. The MX-30 steers sweetly and accelerates smoothly.
But performance isn’t that perky among electrics. And compared with the similar-price electric Mini, ride comfort is the priority rather than sharp agility.
Still, that’s the right balance for a car that’ll be hitting urban pot-holes and speed bumps.
On A-roads it’s nicely quiet and relaxed too. You won’t be relaxed, mind, unless you haven’t got far to go.
Of course Mazda makes another car with a severe drawback. The MX-5 has no back seat. Yet some people swear by it. Same with the MX-30.
If you like the looks and don’t need the range, it’s a feelgood car at a tempting price.
KEY FACTS: MAZDA MX-30
- Price: £25,545
- Battery: 35.5kWh
- Power: 145hp, 271Nm
- 0-62mph: 9.7 secs
- Top speed: 88mph
- Range: 124 miles
- CO2: 0g/km
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