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Mazda MX-30 R-EV review

2023 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.2 out of 53.2
” Quirky and fun, but hard to recommend objectively “

At a glance

Price new £31,495 - £35,895
Used prices £20,790 - £27,472
Road tax cost £0
Insurance group 22 - 23
Get an insurance quote with Mustard logo
Fuel economy Not tested to latest standards
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Alternative fuel

Pros & cons

  • Beautifully-finished interior
  • Excellent steering and brakes
  • Better range than electric version
  • Poor petrol economy
  • Strictly a 2+2
  • Questions over reliability

Written by Keith Adams Published: 14 March 2024 Updated: 14 March 2024


Mazda is having a second go at getting its innovative MX-30 off the ground. The original electric version offered some very cool interior features and and exterior styling that stands out from the crowd. With the addition of the range-extending hybid R-EV, it gets a boost in range, goes up to 350 miles on a combination of battery and petrol, and consequently it’s suddenly looking a more appealing than its battery-powered counterpart.

The range-extender uses an innovative and compact 75hp rotary engine, which is paired up with its 170hp electric motor and acts purely as a generator to charge up the EV side of things. It has a generous 50-litre petrol tank, and a tiny 17.8kWh battery pack, so unlike previous range-extenders, like the BMW i3, if you want to do more than about 50 miles, you’ll be using that rotary engine.

The MX-30 R-EV has an interesting basket of rivals, and the R-EV goes up against the Nissan Juke, Ford Puma and Renault Captur, although only the latter is available as a PHEV. And let’s face it, none strike a design or technical statement like this Mazda.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV review (2024)
Mazda MX-30 interior is a delight… for those in the front.

What’s it like inside?

The MX-30 R-EV has a beautifully-crafted interior that’s trimmed in some very tactile and visually pleasing materials. Considering it’s one of the cheaper electic cars you can buy, that’s quite something. The central storage areas are lined with textured cork, while the MX-30 R-EV’s eco credentials are signalled by the use of recycled bottle fabric inside.

There are three screens inside the MX-30 R-EV – one between the screen, one on the dashboard and another for the climate control. The main infotainment system is displayed on the central touchscreen, but can be easily manipulated via a rotary controller on the centre console – making it much simpler to use than most rival solutions. If you don’t like the simplicity of Mazda’s own software and interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fully available via your smartphone.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV review (2024)
Rear legroom is not a strong point.


Judge this as a 2+2, and you won’t be disappointed. Those up-front enjoy firm yet supportive seats with lots of adjustment, an excellent driving position, and decent legroom and shoulder room. The driving position is rather good, too.

It’s not so good in the back, where that coupe roofline intrudes, particularly for taller passengers. Legroom is very limited, and it’s also dark back there thanks to the small windows. Even with the backwards-opening ‘Freestyle’ doors at the rear, access to the rear seats isn’t straightforward either.

The MX-30 R-EV has 366 litres of boot space including underfloor storage. Rear seats folded, the maximum capacity rises to 1,171 litres. The seat backs lie almost flat, but if maximum capacity is important, avoid high-spec models with the Bose hi-fi system – the sub-woofer robs space.


The MX-30 R-EV shares its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating with the electric version and gained it on the strength of the suite of safety equipment fitted as standard across the range.

This long list includes ear: seven airbags, Blindspot monitoring (BSM) with rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA), Driver attention alert (DAA), Adaptive cruise control that functions down to a complete standstill and Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV review (2024)
Mazda MX-30 R-EV offers a interesting blend of fine handling, steering and good levels of comfort.

What’s it like to drive?

The MX-30 R-EV offers similar performance to the MX-30 EV, but dishes it up in an entirely different way. So, its 0-62mph time is 9.1 seconds, and acceleration between 30-70mph is almost identical – not bad considering its petrol engine is just 830cc and develops 75hp.

What the figures don’t tell you is the odd noise the rotary engine makes – it spins quickly and sounds a little like a food mixer blending away in the background whenever it cuts in. The good news is that it’s muted and no louder than its more conventional rivals – it just sounds different.

It’s managed via three drive modes: Charge, Normal, and EV. The first of these three modes use the motor on the move to top up the battery pack, meaning you’re always going to be guaranteed to have charge to run in EV mode when you need it.

In Normal mode, the MX-30 R-EV runs like a conventional PHEV until the battery is depleted, or you need full power for hard acceleration. EV mode allows the car run on batteries alone, and it’s worth mentioning again that this offers half the range of the MX-30 EV.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV review (2024)
Keen drivers will enjoy time behind the wheel of the MX-30.

Steering is direct and well-weighted, and it doesn’t have to battle the occasionally intrusive attempts at sporty handling foisted on modern cars, such as overly firm suspension or steering assistance that is artificially heavy.

While the handling is engaging and encourages you to build up and maintain speed, it only errs towards sportiness, rather than going the whole hog. Consequently, the drive experience is relaxing when you want it to be, involving when you feel the urge.

Comfort on the move is excellent. Other than some noise from the tyres, there’s very little outside noise that enters the Mazda while driving. Wind rush around the windscreen pillars and door mirrors is kept to a minimum, and being electric, there’s very little vibration felt through the car.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV range and charging

The R-EV’s CO2 figure is low at 21g/km for a low BIK rate, but can’t compete with its electric sister car. In testing, we managed 50mpg in Normal drive mode, and 35mpg in Charge. This is a car you’re going to need to keep topped up with electricity to get the most out of it.

These are hardly brilliant figures, but reflect out of town use, and are likely to be hugely improved in city driving. We’d treat it as a short-hop EV, with the option of a 50-litre petrol tank to call upon when needed.

As with most plug-in hybrids, Mazda offers a smartphone app (MyMazda) that will allow you to pre-condition the interior while the car is plugged in to charge. This improves driving range and means your MX-30 will never be too hot or too cold in the morning.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV review (2024)
Rotally controller for the infotainment divides opinion, but does mean less time with your eyes off the road.

What models and trims are available?

The MX-30 R-EV is available with just one battery/motor combo, but counters this to a degree, by being offered in three trims – Prime-Line, Exclusive Line and Makoto.

All models come with an 8.8-inch infotainment screen with connected services, such as being able to check range and charging from your phone and the ability to send navigation routes to your car from your armchair.

So, it’s interesting and offers something very different in a market full of me-too SUVs. But is this enough to make it worth recommending? Read on to find out.

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