2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid | Car Review - DriveLife (2023)

When DriveLife first experienced the Mazda MX-30, it was introduced to us as Mazda’s first electric vehicle. The MX-30 is undoubtedly an important car for Mazda, as it represented one part of their multi-pronged approach of achieving a 50% fleet emissions reduction by 2030, with the aim of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

In Mazda’s view, the MX-30 was designed and built considering all aspects of its environmental footprint, focusing on “well-to-wheel” emissions, as Mazda coined it.

The MX-30’s interior featured sustainable materials, like cork and recycled plastics. The batteries were deliberately smaller in size, meaning fewer emissions from their production. Mazda even said they’d plant some trees on your behalf for each MX-30 sold.

Naturally, we were slightly surprised when Mazda decided to create a new model by whipping out the batteries and replacing it with a petrol engine. Of course, the MX-30 EV was here to stay, but the messaging seemed slightly confused.

Has Mazda lost the point with the petrol-powered Mazda MX-30? Whatever our verdict, Mazda was confident enough to hand us the keys to the MX-30 for an extended review.

What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Exterior styling
Excellent interior quality
Ride quality
Doors can be a pain to live with
Cramped and dark in the back
Big B-pillar blind-spot
Speed sign recognition has a mind of its own
Other SUV’s are more practical

What’s In The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid Range?

As we’ve mentioned, the MX-30 was first introduced to New Zealand buyers as an EV.

For the first time ever, this MX-30 might be the first car that’ll make somebody say, “oh, it’s a petrol?”.

If the difference between petrol and electric drivetrains wasn’t already a big enough of a difference, another would be the price. The petrol-powered MX-30 is nearly $30,000* cheaper on paper.

MX-30 e-Skyactiv-G 2.0L M HybridPetrol$46,790
MX-30 e-Skyactiv 35.5 kWh EVElectric$74,990*

The MX-30 is only offered in one spec. Well, technically there’s two specs available, but you’re locked into one based upon whether you select petrol or electric.For example, the EV is only offered in Takami Grade, which is Mazda’s highest-spec available. On the other hand, the petrol MX-30 is only offered in Limited grade, which is technically second highest in Mazda’s range.

2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid Standard Equipment Highlights

  • 18’’ alloys
  • 8.8’’ infotainment with Sat-nav
  • Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Reverse camera
  • 12-speaker Bose surround with amp
  • 7’’ touch-screen climate control panel
  • Part digital instrument cluster
  • Heads-up display
  • Auto-dimming rear vision mirror
  • Heated seats
  • Memory driver’s seat with 10-way power adjustability
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • LED taillights and DRLs
  • Privacy glass
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Proximity key and keyless-start
  • Sun roof

The MX-30 is equipped with a comprehensive safety package as standard. This includes:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control with stop/go
  • Blind Spot Monitoring and assist
  • Cruising & Traffic Support
  • Driver Attention Alert
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Emergency Stop Signal
  • Forward Obstruction Warning
  • Hill Launch Assist
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Smart Brake Support for rear
  • Turn-across traffic and pedestrians and cyclists
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System

There are four colour options. These are Polymetal Grey Metallic, Jet Black Mica, 3-tone Ceramic Metallic and Soul Red Crystal metallic. The latter two colours will incur a cost: an extra $700 for the 3-tone Ceramic Metallic, and an extra $1000 for Soul Red Crystal.

For more details on the Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid, check out the Mazda New Zealand website.

How Does The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid Compare To Its Competition?

It’d be a fair argument to say that the Mazda MX-30 has its own niche. There’s nothing else quite like it. Otherwise, the MX-30 exists within the small SUV class, which is bursting at the seams with options. Here are some of your options if you’re less style-conscious.

Make/ ModelEnginePower/Torque,
Boot Space,
Mini Cooper Countryman1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder100/2206.3450$50,910
Mazda CX-30 GTX2.5-litre 4-cylinder139/2526.8430$46,090
Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid2.0-litre 4-cylinder114/2006.4370$46,760
Volkswagen T-Cross R-Line1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder110/2506.1455$45,990
Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder110/2505.8400$45,990
Subaru XV E-Boxer Hybrid2.0-litre horizontally opposed 4-cylinder hybrid122/2626.5345$44,990
Mitsubishi Eclipse VRX AWD1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder112/2547.7405$43,990
Hyundai Kona Series II Elite1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder146/2657.7317$44,990
Toyota CH-R GR Sport Hybrid1.8-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid72/1424.8318$43,290

First Impressions Of The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid

I recall my praise of the MX-30 EV when we first had the car on test. I liked that Mazda hadn’t gone overboard with the styling, simply to broadcast to the world that the MX-30 was an EV.

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Sure, there are few left-field design decisions, like those backward-hinged rear ‘suicide’ doors, but otherwise, the MX-30 presented itself as a premium small crossover with unique design details.

So, this naturally works in Mazda’s favour for the MX-30 M Hybrid. Short of a few badges, both petrol and electric models are identical.

Overall, I’m a fan of this design. It’s confident enough to make a statement, without being boastful. I also rate Mazda’s excellent paint work, and also some of the exterior features such as the stainless-steel plaque at the base of the C-pillar.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid?

Mazda has consistently impressed us with their interiors as of late. The cabin space of the Mazda3 and CX-30 offer a level of quality that would make more-expensive European competition nervous.

The MX-30 takes a different approach to the Mazda3 and CX-30. Where you’ll find contoured dashboards and miles of leather in the Mazda3 and CX-30, the MX-30’s interior uses sustainable materials to set it apart from other Mazda products, and importantly, from the competition.

For example, the door cards are lined with a grey PET fabric, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. The seat upholstery is trimmed with a canvas and synthetic leather (vegan leather) combination. Finally, instead of using plastics, Mazda uses cork to line the door handles, centre console, and the storage area underneath.

Why cork? You might ask. There are a few reasons. Cork is fairly durable and has natural anti-slip properties. It’s a logical choice compared with using plastic, which often doesn’t age well. Additionally, cork is a renewable resource, befitting to the sustainable design brief of the MX-30’s interior.

Another lesser known reason is long before Mazda was a car company, they produced cork. In a way, it’s a nod to Mazda’s company heritage.

Once you’ve spent time in the MX-30, you’ll appreciate that this interior space is vastly more creative compared with the rest of the small SUV crowd. The build quality is also top-notch, which we’ve come to expect from modern Mazdas.

Another area where Mazda has been performing is with their seats. I genuinely look forward to driving Mazda’s cars purely for this reason, as their seats are excellent. The MX-30 maintains this standard, with the seats being supportive and comfortable on long journeys.

I should caveat this, saying this applies to the front seats only. Rear passengers aren’t as lucky in the MX-30. In the back seats, headroom and legroom are enough for an adult, but maybe only for a short journey (this didn’t seem to phase Kate and her friends, however).

The back seats also suffer from a lack of natural light, which makes the rear space seem smaller than it actually is. Kids aren’t likely to enjoy being back there either, because they’ll be staring straight into the door speakers from their vantage point.

These problems arise because of those rear hinged doors. When shut, the doors themselves create a chunky b-pillar, which leaves room for only a port-hole of a window on the rear door. The b-pillar also creates an annoying blind spot too.

Like a coupe, the MX-30 is a passenger-first car, as those rear doors can only open when the front door is open. This is a logistical faff when you’re in a tight carpark, as your passenger needs to be right next to you, otherwise the rear hinged door will block their ability to climb in. I suppose this is just the price of looking cool.

While the rear passengers have more to desire, the MX-30 does have a decent boot. Although 370 litres mightn’t sound like much, the square hatch shape means you can use the space well. The rear seats also fold flat, giving you another 876 litres of space, or up to 1308 litres if you don’t mind a dirty roofliner.

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Turning over to technology, the MX-30 uses Mazda’s latest unit, which sits high atop the dash. Although touchscreens are almost the universal standard in modern cars, Mazda’s infotainment system is operated via a control wheel, with a few supporting hard controls nearby.

Although this doesn’t sound particularly high tech, I find Mazda’s system nicer to use than many touchscreens. The user interface is simple and it’s easy to navigate. The screen, the resolution is high quality and responsive too. The system is connected to a 12-speaker Bose sound system, which is one of the best audio systems you’ll come across in this price range.

Mazda hasn’t ditched touch screens entirely. They’ve digitised the climate controls, which are now controlled via a small touch screen at the front of the centre console. I’m not usually a fan of touchscreens replacing physical climate control dials, as climate controls should be simple to adjust on the fly. However, Mazda has made the touch controls very easy to use. The only gripe was that the screen suffers from quite a bit of glare.

The final quirk of the MX-30 interior relates to the rear passengers again. If you’re seated behind the driver and need more space to get out, Mazda has conveniently placed some controls on the back of the seat to move the driver’s seat forward. However, only the driver’s side seat is electronic, whereas the passenger’s side is manually adjusted. If you’re on the left side, you instead need to reach for a pull tab at the base of the chair. Ultimately, there’s two different sequences for moving the front seats forward. I did find myself explaining this to passengers on more than one occasion.

What’s The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid Like To Drive?

The MX-30 first debuted as an electric vehicle, so naturally, shifting over to a petrol engine is going to have its fair share of differences.

Replacing the batteries and electric motors, the MX-30 M Hybrid uses Mazda’s 2.0L SkyActiv-G inline four-cylinder engine, with a mild hybrid system. This engine is similar to those found in the Mazda3.

The engine produces 114kW of power and 200Nm of torque, and is paired with a 6-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox. Compared with the MX-30 EV, which outputs 107kW of power and 271Nm of torque, the performance for dollar trade-off isn’t bad. Of-course, you do notice the 71Nm deficit of the petrol engine off-the-line, but more on this bit later.

Before we discuss the drive, shall we address the elephant in the room? What exactly is a mild hybrid? Well, it’s not like a Prius, if that’s what you’re wondering.

A mild hybrid system is better understood as an energy recovery system, which stores electric energy and uses it to support the functions of the petrol engine. Unlike a Prius, mild hybrid systems offer only a small amount of electrical assistance to the engine, but cannot drive the car on electricity alone.

The system consists of a small electric generator, which replaces the traditional starter-motor and alternator. This is linked with a small lithium-ion battery, running on a 48-volt electrical system, higher than the traditional 12V systems. The stored energy is used to power vehicle features and accessories.

Although these systems work differently from brand-to-brand, the mild hybrid system in the Mazda captures energy under deceleration, charging up the battery. The stored energy is applied in two ways. First, the electric energy is used to power interior accessories, like the audio and navigation systems. Secondly, the electric energy is used to help the MX-30’s i-Stop system, allowing it to restart more smoothly (no more janky stop/starts) and also provide gear-changing assistance on the upshift.

It mightn’t sound like much, but according to some sources, mild hybrid systems can achieve up to 15% saving in fuel-economy. Of course, 15% is also a nice round figure for marketers to throw around.

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The important takeaway is that mild hybrid systems help reduce engine load, by reducing the energy demands from all the onboard accessories, therefore improving fuel economy. It’s a better way of using energy more efficiently, which would have otherwise not been used at all.

Although, in the spirit of calling a spade a spade, the MX-30 M Hybrid is a petrol-powered car. It can’t drive on electricity. To really drive this home, an Audi RS6 with its 4.0L twin-turbo V8 is also a mild hybrid. See my point?

I’m not trying to be critical of MX-30, but I think the industry-wide naming convention for this system isn’t the best. That’s to say, I wouldn’t expect your average member of the public would understand this, unless of course, they read our reviews.

So what does all of this mild electric energy fand-ackery mean for the MX-30’s efficiency?

During our test of the MX-30, we achieved a fuel economy result of 7.8L per 100kms, which is a good result for a small SUV. However, it does overshoot Mazda’s claim of 6.4L per 100kms. According to Mazda, the MX-30 emits 150g/km of C02. Again, a solid result for the MX-30, but just shy of qualifying for a rebate under the clean car rebate scheme.

Because the MX-30 isn’t a proper Hybrid EV, that might turn some people away at the door. Although, it’d be their loss, because the MX-30 drives beautifully.

Returning to the engine, Mazda’s SkyActiv engines are well-refined. When you’re simply driving along at suburban speeds, the cabin is so quiet that half the time you’d think it’s running on batteries.

The only time you’ll hear the engine make a puff is when you’re making some heavy acceleration demands from it. On the subject, the MX-30 is not a quick car. The 71Nm deficit over the electric drivetrain is noticeable off-the-line. That said, it’s hardly a snail. There’s enough performance for the daily-doings, but I did find myself needing to plan my overtakes.

Can we take a moment to appreciate that Mazda still uses a proper automatic, rather than succumbing to using a CVT gearbox? Those road testing it will appreciate the MX-30’s smooth shifts, relative to the rubber-bandy performance of a CVT.

Of course, blistering performance isn’t the MX-30’s style. The MX-30 is better at making day-to-day driving comfortable, yet enjoyable.

We’ve mentioned Mazda’s G-vectoring control in other reviews, but it’s effectively a torque vectoring system which helps the car corner smoothly, adjusting torque as you enter the corner.

Whatever witchcraft is occurring, the MX-30 corners neatly and manages body roll well. If you overcook the corner, you can feel it grabbing individual brakes to pull you in for a tighter radius. Although the sensation is slightly unnatural, the MX-30 corners incredibly well for an SUV. As for steering, it’s what you’d expect from an SUV. No feedback, but enough weight so as not to feel flimsy.

The MX-30’s ride quality is sublime. Mazda engineers seem to really understand their suspension set-ups, and what they’re working with. The MX-30 is easily among the best riding vehicles in the under $50,000 SUV category.

I’ve always appreciated how Mazda incorporates their driver’s assistance technology. It’s mostly non-invasive, and it uses a pleasant chime for when the safety systems activate. It makes all the safety gear much nicer to live with, as these systems often detect false positives. I’ve tested some high-end vehicles that’ll abruptly beep at you when these systems trigger, which is hardly a relaxing experience.

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The MX-30’s adaptive cruise control is effective and operates down to a halt. However, Mazda’s lane centering assist is still one of its weaker qualities. Although Mazda has it working much more effectively in the MX-30, it’s still behind some of the competition.

Finally, Mazda’s speed sign assistance occasionally has a mind of its own, where it fails to detect the sign, or in very select occasions, displays the wrong speed.

Rob’s View Of The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid

The petrol MX-30 is a very good car, but I would be put off from buying one for a couple of reasons.

Positives first! It looks great, particularly in Soul Red Crystal, always a winner. The design is slightly quirky, but still smart and classy, and really differentiates it from other crossover SUVs. The interior is definitely best in class. The materials are excellent, and I like the cork and recycled plastics. It all feels solid, and has an air of comfort and quality that few others match. The seats are so comfortable that you barely notice them, even after a drive of over 400km, and that’s the ultimate compliment to a car seat..

I’d say ride comfort is also best in class, and handling is very good indeed. The cruise control and other convenience/safety systems work well and mostly unintrusivley. There were quite a few false alarms around the tight roads in the Wellington suburbs, to the point where I turned the sensitivity down to stop it flashing up !!!BRAKE!!! On every other corner with a parked car.

The speed sign recognition was a bit patchy, often missing the sign at the end of a temporary restriction, then it would be telling me for the next 30km that I should be doing 30 in a 100 limit. But this is not unique to Mazda, more a reflection of the inconsistency of road signage. I also had some issues on the open road with the gearbox – occasionally it would get a bit indecisive about what gear to be in on a constant incline at constant throttle – to the point where my wife asked me what the heck I was doing! And the i-Stop doesn’t gel with my driving style. My habit is to brake almost to a stop, then ease off to come to a smooth halt, avoiding a jerky atop. What happens with this car is the engine stops at about 2-3kph, then immediately re-engages as I lift off slightly, with a lurch, achieving the opposite of what I want. This seems to be unique to the way the MX-30’s system is programmed.

Finally, the doors. Sorry Mazda but they’re just not practical. For a couple with no kids who rarely use the rear seats this car would be fine, but try getting an 11 year-old out of the back in a car park. Driver opens the front door and gets out, closes door, moves around to the front of the door, opens door, child opens back door, child gets out into the space between doors, child closes back door, child moves so adult can close front door. It’s pretty awkward when you only have 30cm of space to the next car.

I think Mazda have a great overall package with the MX-30, and for the right owner it will be excellent. But for me, there would be just enough irritations to knock it off the shortlist.

Kate’s View Of The 2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid

Four girlfriends and I took the Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid away for a roadie, covering quite a few miles. I couldn’t believe how far the MX-30 Hybrid could take us without using heaps of fuel. We got it from Wellington to Napier using only a quarter of a tank, then drove around Napier for two days, which still left us with three-quarters of a tank.

We had a full carload so 3 people in the back, and with no air vents and rear windows that don’t open, at times it was a struggle, especially since the back seat space isn’t the biggest – but still, so much more room than my Mazda2.

The car did catch a few looks from locals. They were probably admiring the modern look it has or the fact it could fit 5 women in it. By looking at the Mazda MX-30 Hybrid, you wouldn’t think it would be able to fit 5+ luggage bags and 5 of us in there, but we did.

I really appreciate the heads-up display. Maybe I’m saying this because I don’t have one in my own car, but everything on the heads-up display made sense. Blindspot notifications, directions if you’re using SatNav, your current speed and the current speed limit are all shown right there on the windscreen. You might think it would be overcrowded but it all fits in nicely.

We all loved the MX-30 M Hybrid; for five 21-year-old women, it was almost the perfect car for a roadie.

2022 Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid Specifications

Vehicle TypeSUV
Starting Price$46,790
Price as Tested$47,790
Engine2.0-litre 4-cylinder w Mild Hybrid technology
Power, Torque
Transmission6-speed Automatic
Spare WheelSpacesaver
Kerb Weight,Kg1,492
Length x Width x Heightmm4395 x 1795 x 1545
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
Litres(seats up/seats down)
370 (seats up)
876 (seats down, load to parcel tray height)
1308 (seats down, load to roof)
Fuel tank capacity,Litres51
Fuel Economy,L/100kmAdvertised Spec – Combined – 6.4
Real-World Test – Combined – 7.8

Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+

Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
Turning circle,

Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+

Warranty5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty
5 year servicing and roadside assistance
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 stars
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – NMJ309

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