Mazda has announced pricing for its first all-electric vehicle and it’s not exactly coming across like a square deal. The manufacturer has announced the base model will start at $33,470 before an obligatory $1,175 destination charge. But the small crossover is only capable of completing 100 miles on a single charge, making it seem as if Mazda designed the car specifically to mock EV advocates.
While we frequently chide electric vehicles for skimping on the fundamentals, Mazda’s take on the segment is inexcusable. There were battery driven vehicles debuting a decade earlier with modestly sized packs capable of covering similar distances to the MX-30. Those considering one would almost certainly be better served by a Nissan Leaf and it doesn’t even need to be a brand new one. However Mazda is doing what it can to sweeten the pot, resulting in some interesting marketing decisions.
As part of the MX-30’s curiously high price tag, the manufacturer is providing a $500 ChargePoint credit that can go toward the installation of a Level 2 home charger or rolled into covering public charging fees until its been depleted. Customers also receive the ability to use the brand’s Elite Access Loaner Program and borrow another Mazda vehicle (powered by gasoline) for up to ten days, which will likely be a necessity of you’re planning on taking a trip anywhere other than the store. But the free ride ends after three years, forcing customers to enter into one of those heinous vehicle subscription services if they want to retain access.
The 2022 MX-30 comes with a single 143-horsepower/200 pound-feet electric motor driving the front wheels and Mazda said the 100-mile range comes from a 35.5-kilowatt-hour battery. However your author is inclined to believe the functional capacity is a bit less than that since the range is so poor.
The aforementioned Nissan Leaf has also developed a reputation for being a comfortable and practical EV with unappetizing range limitations. But it can be had for roughly $28,000 with a 40-kWh battery pack offering 149 miles. For the price of a base MX-30, Nissan can furnish a 60-kWh unit providing over 200 miles between charges. It also manages to eek out a smidgen more power from its electric motor, leaving the Mazda with few advantages beyond its good looks.
Though it’s not just the Leaf that trounces the MX-30 on paper. Most modern electrics (and some older ones) are offering far more automobile for the kind of money Mazda is asking, making it easy to see why the company has elected to make this a California-only compliance product for the North American market.
Assuming you don’t buy vehicles based entirely on trendiness or tax credits, there are also a slew of gasoline-fueled hatchbacks retailing below $20,000 that you would be insane not to consider. While they still result in routine gas bills, they don’t require you to wait 36 minutes to recoup 80 percent of your total range (using the quicker Level 3 charger; normal charging takes hours) or need massive amounts of advanced planning to drive more than a couple hundred miles in a single day. Their rock-bottom pricing also leaves you with tons of wiggle room in case you wanted to add features. But you could still opt for an entirely different vehicle segment and easily come in below what Mazda’s asking.
Frankly, it doesn’t really matter what you get because it’s almost assuredly going to be more capable than the MX-30. We’re alarmed Mazda had the gall to price this premium golf cart above $30,000 when cars like the Kia Soul still exist. This is literally one of those vehicles that makes you question the mental state of its owner and whether or not they were forced to buy the crossover against their will.
Mazda plans on offering the compliance-focused MX-30 in two trim levels, with the slicker Premium Plus model starting at $37,655 (including destination). That unit adds fancier upholstery, advanced keyless entry, a nicer Bose audio system, and a 360-degree camera while retaining the 8.8-inch touchscreen and latest infotainment system the manufacture has at its disposal. But the base trim will be the only one available at launch and both will be purchased exclusively by fools when they begin to arrive this fall.