THE MX-30 Astina Electric is Mazda’s first fully electric car and for what it’s worth, an interesting idea. Designed as a city car, the battery electric vehicle, or BEV, has a limited range and a premium price.
Well finished, with a driving experience not too far removed from its internal combustion powered brethren, it has a lot going for it. But, and there’s always a but, its small battery size may just restrict it too much to win out over its competition.
It is impossible to ignore the tilt of the design hat to the recently discontinued BMW i3, and while not as confronting as the German game changer, the Mazda design has numerous visual cues, in homage, presumably.
The Freestyle aka suicide rear doors (hello RX-8) dramatically open the interior up as well, while at the same time exposing the lack of rear passenger legroom behind the set back front seats. It’s quite a compromise and the rear seat is really only suitable for children.
This fact is further reinforced by needing to open the front door to allow rear exit from the car. There is also no provision in the rear seats for device charging.
That aside, it looks the part as a city SUV, and will take on a halo role as part of Mazda’s popular range of such vehicles, and assist with its shift into the EV realm.
Riding on 18-inch alloys, the MX-30 Astina features three paint colours (at least in our tester), providing a layered side view and framed glasshouse. Front and rear vehicle views are recognisably Mazda, and LED lamps are fitted at each end.
Comfortable seating and positioning is just a given on virtually any Mazda product and the MX-30 doesn’t disappoint. Vehicle controls are easily accessible for the driver, with only USB and voltage outlet access out of easy reach.
The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and includes memory settings for two drivers. Both front seats, and the leather wrapped steering wheel are heated.
The interior features cork trims which were sourced without felling the tree and harks back to Mazda’s original beginnings as a cork company. The two console drink holders are under cork lids, with two more cup holders are in the rear seat fold down arm rest.
Bottle holders are fitted to each of the doors and there is a map pocket at the rear of the front passenger seat, and a sunglasses holder in the roof console. Cargo space is limited to just 341-litres with the rear seats raised, in part due to the sub-woofer below the floor.
Further enhancing the green ethos is the use of trim material fibres derived from recycled plastic bottles. The artificial leather used for the seating is produced using newer, less harsh processes to keep with this mind set.
Underneath the floating front centre console are two USB-A ports, a maps card slot, 12 volt DC and AC outlets. The central infotainment screen measures 8.8-inches and uses Mazda Connect to manage information, configuration and navigation menu functions.
These are operated by the console mounted Commander switch. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present as well. Bose premium audio includes FM and DAB+ digital radio, with 12 speakers and a rear sub-woofer.
Strangely, our selected radio station would drift off to a memorised station without warning on several occasions. It was quite odd. A second central 7.0-inch TFT touchscreen operates the heating and air-conditioning settings.
It has additional outer edge press buttons, and the screen control panel displays all functions and some touch and flick operations are supported. The head-up display presents crisp and clear information as well.
In a nice touch, placement can be linked to the driver’s memory settings. Paddle shifters are mounted behind the steering wheel, which allow customisation of the regenerative braking recuperation characteristics.
As a purely city car, arguably the role it was made for, the MX-30 ticks the right boxes. However, once outside the urban jungle the range limitations really come into play.
While recognising a range of around 200km (plus regen gains) is suitable for many use cases, range anxiety can still be a thing. Round trips outside of larger cities will need to be planned with precision to ensure recharge access.
The Mazda’s e-SkyActive electric power output is 107kW, supplied by an electric motor and delivered through the front wheels. Power supply and storage is by a lithium-ion 35.5kWh battery integrated into the vehicle’s structure.
In the event of an accident the electric power is shut down immediately. The recharging port is where the traditional fuel filler would be and supports home or rapid charging solutions. Once connected to power, the dash displays the remaining charge time.
During our test period, we switched the info screen to show us the battery usage statistics. Highway cruising is not where an electric vehicle shines as the power usage testifies.
However, once you’re into heavier traffic or heading downhill, the regenerative braking slows and even reverses the power drain. During our testing we returned a wide range of energy usage with a mix of freeway and city traffic.
We ended up with an average of 19kWh/100km efficiency. The reduced peak hour traffic when returning the car allowed us to finish with 16.9kWh/100km. As always, your mileage may vary.
The MX-30 features eight colours with Arctic White, Ceramic Grey Metallic and Jet Black Mica as standard. Machine Grey Metallic and Polymetal Grey Metallic are also offered, along with two Ceramic Three-Tone Metallic schemes.
These are Polymetal Grey 3-Tone Metallic (as tested) and Soul Red Crystal 3-Tone Metallic. In case you didn’t notice, there’s a definite bias toward the grey side of the colour wheel here, with the MX-30 Astina Electric.
One standard interior trim is available, namely Vintage Brown leatherette accents with grey fabric trim. The console is finished with a beige cork counterpoint, including the lower cubby and door trims.
The Astina, codenamed the E35, is presently the only variant on offer in the EV version of the MX-30, and comes with the Vision Technology pack at no extra charge. It includes Bose premium audio, driver monitoring, front parking sensors and a sunroof.
The Mazda is covered by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty with an 8-year battery warranty. Roadside assistance covers the same period as the standard warranty. Service intervals are yearly or at 15,000km, and a capped price service plan is available.
The MX-30 has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and is equipped with Mazda’s i-Activsense safety system. This includes ten airbags, driver monitoring camera, forward collision warning, 360 degree view monitor, active cruise control with lane assist, and more.
Due to arrive in dealerships in August, the 2021 Mazda MX-30 Astina Electric SUV is priced at $72,526 drive away (as tested), and is quite frankly a big ask in terms of price. There are similarly priced competitors with almost twice the EV range.
But for those whose usage is primarily within larger urban areas, the Mazda is worth comparison. Alternatively, this could be considered a second vehicle for a city-based family, particularly if the price is not a hurdle.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Mazda MX-30 Astina Electric, contact your local Mazda dealer.