Mazda's Free Loaner Program wants to solve the range issue on road trips, but we have other plans.
There's a lot to like about the Mazda MX-30, the Japanese marque's first full battery-electric vehicle. It has a quirky, smart appearance, offers a refined driving experience, and boasts an upmarket interior. Unfortunately, the MX-30 is more expensive than other EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt. Even worse is that the MX-30 has a disappointing range of just 100 miles, a factor that drastically limits its appeal. That's besides mentioning the fact that the MX-30 will only be sold in California. But Mazda's Elite Access Loaner Program, standard with every MX-30, could tempt a few hesitant shoppers.
This program allows MX-30 owners to get behind the wheel of other Mazdas in the brand's lineup for 10 days per year within the first three years. That works out to a month over the three-year period. Limited to the MX-30 models only, the unusual program seems to be an attempt to make ownership of the EV more appealing and to make up for the very short range. The only problem is, how excited will MX-30 owners be to swap their vehicle for a CX-5 or a Mazda 3? These are excellent vehicles but Mazda's lineup isn't exactly brimming with thrilling sports cars. Unless MX-30 owners can be assured of a stint in the brilliant MX-5 Miata, we're not certain how valuable the program is.
Mazda's small print indicates that the program is "based on dealer participation and vehicle availability," and that MX-30 owners will need to reserve the vehicle of their choice in advance. Then again, over a period of three years, it should surely be possible to secure a Miata at least once. A Mazda representative told The Drive that customers will "have access to any Mazda that is available in a dealer's loaner fleet."
It's doubtful that this program will influence many to buy an MX-30, but for those who have already decided it's the perfect EV, it doesn't hurt to have this benefit included. Besides the Miata, we'd also use the opportunity to try out the 250-horsepower Mazda 3 Turbo, which is not only a lot quicker than the MX-30 but won't have to stop every 100 miles to charge up.