The competition is cheaper with better performance.
Mazda is one of the most fuel-efficient automakers in the United States, even though the company doesn't currently sell any electric vehicles or hybrids; that is changing soon. The 2022 Mazda MX-30 is the brand's first EV coming to the US, but it's not arriving with much fanfare. A single electric motor drives the front wheels, putting out a lackluster 143 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. And with a tiny 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, the EPA-estimated range is only 100 miles.
Perhaps we could forgive these specs if it were priced accordingly, but no, Mazda has just revealed that the 2022 MX-30 starts at $33,470, making it more expensive than the Chevy Bolt ($31,995), Nissan Leaf ($27,400), and Mini Cooper SE ($29,900), all of which offer more power and greater range. The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (coming in 2022) is more expensive at $39,990, but nearly doubles the range at 263 miles.
Mazda says the MX-30 is "designed to meet the needs of most urban residents," but that 100-mile range still seems too low for today's market. Even the Leaf, which is now the least expensive EV on sale in the US, can travel 149 miles in its base trim level, while the Mini Cooper SE has a 114-mile range. As a slight consolation, Mazda has partnered with ChargePoint to offer MX-30 buyers a $500 charging credit that can also be used to install an in-home Level 2 charger.
The MX-30 can charge to 80% battery in 2 hours and 50 minutes with a Level 2 charger, or just 36 minutes on a DC 50 kW Level 3 charger. On a lowly Level 1 AC 120V charge, it would take 13 hours and 40 minutes. Mazda knows MX-30 owners will require a gas-powered car for long trips, so an Elite Access Loaner Program gives them access to other Mazda vehicles for up to 10 days per year during the first three years of ownership.
The MX-30 comes nicely-equipped with am 8.8-inch infotainment display, heated front seats, heated power-folding mirrors, power moonroof, eight-way power driver seat with memory, rear parking sensors, and 18-inch wheels. Ceramic Metallic, Polymetal Gray, and Jet Black are available as no-cost single-tone colors, while a dark grey roof and silver D-pillar are available with the following body colors: Polymetal Gray ($895), Ceramic Metallic ($895), or Soul Red Crystal ($995). Mazda will also offer an MX-30 Premium Plus Package for $36,480, which adds more i-Activsense safety features including blind-spot assist and front cross-traffic alert, a Bose 12-speaker premium audio, a 360-degree camera, advanced keyless entry, and more.
Based on its price and range, we don't expect the MX-30 to be a volume seller for Mazda. Perhaps that's why the company will only sell it in California. Mazda is still aiming to introduce a range-extender variant with a rotary engine under the hood for 2023, but whether those plans come to fruition is uncertain.
The 2022 MX-30 arrives at California dealerships in October 2022 with reservations now open.