The MX-30’s slightly relaxed performance level comes as something of a surprise. Sure, at very low speeds it still responds to a prod of the throttle with near-immediate keenness (the 20-40mph dash takes just 2.6sec – helpful if you need to dart around a stationary bus), but past this point it never really feels quite as zippy as you might hope a supposedly driver-focused EV would.
The car’s test results on Millbrook’s mile straight confirm as much. A 9.1sec run for 0-60mph is by no means unforgivable for any small, mid-market car, and it lines up nicely against Mazda’s claimed 9.7sec 0-62mph time. But compared with the likes of the Mini Electric (0-62mph in a claimed 7.3sec) and Peugeot e-208 (8.1sec), the Mazda’s performance is just a little ordinary-looking.
Even next to the Honda E – another design-led urban EV with a small-capacity battery – the MX-30 comes off second best; the Mazda’s Japanese compatriot was able to cover off the 0-60mph dash in 7.9sec. But of arguably greater significance are the cars’ 30-70mph performances. Where the Honda required 7.6sec to accelerate up to motorway speeds, the Mazda was a whole second slower. When accelerating on a wide-open throttle, then, the MX-30 can feel just a bit pedestrian; and the slightly generic, hollow, synthesised whirring noise that the car makes doesn’t add much in the way of flavour or charm to what it does on the road.
Nevertheless, this is still a very smooth, easy car to operate. There are no drive modes to worry about, although you can switch between five different levels of brake regeneration via the paddles on the steering wheel. In their most forceful setting, you can adopt a comfortable, near- as-dammit one-pedal style of driving, which is ideal for inner-city environments. Conversely, bump the right-hand paddle twice and you can effectively freewheel on a trailing throttle, which aids efficiency at open-road speeds.
The MX-30’s braking performance is good. It needed 46.3m to haul itself from 70mph to a standstill on dry Tarmac, versus 44.5m in the Honda (which was shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres). The pedal is smartly calibrated, offering good feel and a smooth, progressive uptake in response as the car slows.