Mazda MX-30 R-EV


Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, front
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, side
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, rear
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, tail
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, interior
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, doors

PLUG-IN hybrid models play a valuable role in that inevitable swing towards full electrification.

Not only are they important in helping improve efficiency and keeping emissions low but they also address any concerns over range anxiety.

Business drivers in particular - at least those who don't regularly make long journeys -can benefit from a lower benefit-in-kind tax burden, but it's fair to say PHEVs don't appeal to everyone.

Japanese brand Mazda believes it has the perfect solution for drivers who want an electric car for everyday use but also need the flexibility to take more lengthy trips without having to worry about charging en route.

The Mazda MX-30 R-EV may not be faultless, as we'll explain in due course, but it could be the answer for families wanting a stylish compact SUV-type vehicle that represents genuine value for money.

While the fully electric MX-30 has been around for three years, the MX-30 R-EV plug-in hybrid only arrived late in 2023 - and made an instant impact.

Unlike its EV stablemate, which has an electric range of only 124 miles, the R-EV is powered by an 830cc rotary engine and a 17.8kWh battery which is half the size of the larger power pack used in the all-electric model.

The engine, a lightweight rotary petrol unit famously used in Mazda sports cars like the RX-7 and RX-8, doesn't actually power the Mazda's wheels but acts as a generator to charge the battery, which in turn drives the wheels.

The beauty of all this is that the R-EV can manage up to 53 miles as a full electric vehicle, ideal for town driving and short commutes, but should you be facing a long haul the engine plus 50-litre fuel tank ensures a maximum range of around 400 miles.

It's an enjoyable car to drive too, smooth and spirited though at times the rotary engine can sound like a spin dryer, and while its performance figures of 0-62 in 9.1 seconds and 87mph top speed suggest something quite sedate, the actual driving experience is a lot more lively.

Where Mazda really hits the mark though is with the quality of the R-EV's interior. Never mind that it looks a sleek, brightly designed SUV from the outside, the car's cabin comes dripping in cool features and vegan-friendly materials.

Mazda actually started out as a cork manufacturer in Japan more than a century ago and the material is used on parts of the centre console and door grips while the upholstery fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottle moulded with fibre.

Add the light grey with stone artificial leatherette seats and orange stitching to the mix along and you have an ultra-modern if art department look - unusual but unique.

Space up front is ample for tall adults, the slightly elevated driving position is spot-on and the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach.

What's not so agreeable is the rear space, which is very tight both for passenger headroom due to the shape of the vehicle and legroom unless the front seats are slid well forward. The two small windows on either side, none of which open, also make the rear of the cabin feel claustrophobic and a bit gloomy.

Access to the rear is also awkward due to Mazda's use of rear-hinged back doors, which look smart but can only be opened if the front doors are already open, while the boot is also on the small side with 350 litres of carrying capacity. The rear seats do split and fold 60:40 for some extra versatility.

The three available trim grades are Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line and Makoto and the R-EV can be distinguished from the all-electric MX-30 by virtue of a rotor badge on the front wings and an e-Skyactiv R-EV logo on the tailgate.

All models are extremely specified and include an elegant 8.8-inch colour display screen on the top of the dash, a separate seven-inch screen for the ventilation as well as premium features like a head-up display.


Mazda MX-30 R-EV Exclusive-Line


Mechanical:170ps, 830cc rotary petrol engine and 17.8kWh electric motor driving front wheels via automatic transmission

Max Speed:87mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG:37.2 (53 miles electric range)

Insurance Group:19

C02 emissions:21g/km

Bik rating:8%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles


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