Look by means of Mazda’s historical past and it’s suffering from uncommon improvements, such because the rotary engine. Extra just lately its SkyActiv-X tech has seen it shun small petrol turbo items in favour of a intelligent combustion course of to spice up torque.
However even Mazda isn’t immune from the development in direction of electrification, and that is its first automobile for a brand new period, the all-electric MX-30. It’s a small, fashionable SUV costing round £30,000 within the spec we’re testing. But the market is crowded on this sector and round this worth level, and with the Mazda’s clearly quirky styling there’s one clear rival: the Kia Soul EV.
We all know how good Kia’s barely extra left-field various to the model’s extra standard e-Niro is, so it’s a pure match in opposition to the Mazda. It has plenty of vary and strong tech, so whereas the Kia is pricier, these two combat it out on comparable fronts.
With the announcement that the UK is bringing ahead its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, this electrical pair will affect the manufacturers’ choices in a decade’s time, however which one is the very best purchase proper now?
|Mannequin:||Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech|
|Worth:||£29,845 (after £3,000 Plug-in Automobile Grant)|
|Powertrain:||1x e-motor/lithium-ion battery|
|Take a look at financial system:||3.2 miles/kWh|
|Annual street tax:||£0|
That is Mazda’s all-new EV, the MX-30. We’ve had entry to an early left-hand-drive automobile, which is consultant of GT Sport Tech trim. It’s priced from £29,845 after the £3,000 Authorities grant.
Design & engineering
A fast have a look at the Mazda’s on-paper spec highlights one potential sticking level already. The MX-30 boasts solely a 35.5kWh battery (simply 30kWh of which is usable), which is extra consistent with what electrical metropolis vehicles such because the Honda e and MINI Electric use.
Mazda says the battery is right-sized and there’s no want for extra capability, as a result of the MX-30’s 124-mile claimed vary simply exceeds the 31-mile common day by day mileage most European motorists rack up.
The battery is nestled within the ground of the chassis, which is predicated on the identical structure as the brand new Mazda 3 and CX-30, however for the MX-30 EV the world across the battery pack and the ground has been strengthened to extend its rigidity. This could assist with driving dynamics and crash security.
Energy is distributed to a motor mounted on the entrance axle – known as e-SkyActiv – which produces 143bhp and 271Nm of torque. That is sufficient grunt, however nonetheless lower than the Kia. Regardless of its energy deficit, the Mazda is 37kg lighter than the Soul EV, so it has a slight weight benefit, which ought to assist it dynamically. This may also be boosted by Mazda’s adaptation of its intelligent G-Vectoring Management system for the electrical motor, which reduces torque on turn-in extra rapidly than with an ICE engine to assist agility.
The MX-30 boasts another uncommon engineering options, too. The design is clearly funky, similar to the Soul EV’s, and that’s strengthened by the Mazda’s rear-hinged again doorways, which open the alternative method to regular. The structural B-pillar is built-in into the rear door on either side.
There are additionally another good design touches inside. The textures, colors and supplies of our automobile’s inside have been beautiful. On the centre console there are some cork panels, too – a nod to Mazda’s previous; it began life as a cork-making firm in 1920 earlier than it diversified into engineering seven years later.
The MX-30’s relationship to the Mazda 3 hatch and the CX-30 is clear, as a result of it drives simply as sweetly as its siblings. The steering is precisely the suitable velocity and weight – it’s among the nicest steering we’ve tried in any EV this facet of the Porsche Taycan.
Regardless of the reasonably portly kerbweight, the Mazda’s physique management is nice and it feels fairly nicely tied down in corners, with out an excessive amount of lean. It’s far more involving than the Kia. But they’re nearer relating to experience high quality. Each have an opulent feeling to the way in which they cope with velocity bumps on the town, in addition to the same old street garbage you discover in city areas. On nation lanes and motorways it’s fulfilling, too.
The advantage of an electrical motor is that, even with a comparatively modest 143bhp and 271Nm of torque in contrast with the Kia’s greater output, it’s delivered easily whenever you ask for it. Efficiency is ample and higher than a equally rated ICE automobile.
The 0-62mph dash takes 9.7 seconds, which is slower than the Kia, granted, nevertheless it’s from 0-30mph the place the MX-30 is greatest anyway. On the motorway it’s nonetheless refined, however use the efficiency or journey at sooner speeds and vary is depleted rapidly.
The MX-30 is definitely longer than the Kia, with an extended wheelbase, too. Whereas there’s 341 litres of boot area with the seats up (26 litres greater than within the Kia), the Mazda is far more compromised for room within the rear of the cabin.
These properly engineered rear doorways are very small, and open in a reverse path to regular, whereas the aperture to get into the again is tight. There’s a median quantity of room within the rear, however the seat base isn’t that deep and the tapering roofline means headroom isn’t pretty much as good as within the boxier Kia.
There are sufficient bins and cubbies for storage, however as good because the cork inlays are, we’d fear concerning the materials’s longevity if you happen to put keys and cash in there. It’s perilously near the cup-holder, too.
Mazda recorded a superb lead to our Driver Energy 2020 ballot, taking fourth spot out of 30 manufacturers. It was within the working with Kia right here, however its sellers completed at reverse ends of the desk, with Mazda’s taking twenty seventh place.
The MX-30 in GT Sport Tech trim will get plenty of security equipment, although, and was just lately awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP security ranking. Autonomous braking (together with reverse) with cross-traffic alert entrance and rear, lane-departure warning and lane- preserve help, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, entrance and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree round view monitor are all commonplace.
Regardless of having a extra restricted vary than the Kia, the newer Mazda’s predicted residual values are barely greater, in accordance with our consultants.
For those who’re a money purchaser, you possibly can anticipate the MX-30 to retain 46.9 per cent, which equates to depreciation of £15,851. Whereas the Soul EV will lose extra, at £18,341 over the identical three years/36,000 miles, it’s a costlier automobile to start with, so with a ranking of 46.5 per cent, the distinction between the 2 in proportion phrases is hardly something.
The great thing about working an electrical car this tax 12 months is that they entice a zero-per-cent firm automobile tax fee, so that you gained’t pay something to the Treasury to run one among these fashions. They’re additionally each free relating to Automobile Excise Responsibility.
“The ‘MX’ prefix has historically been reserved for vehicles that ‘problem perceptions’, in accordance with Mazda. That’s why this EV is known as the MX-30, not as a result of it’s associated to the sporty MX-5 in any means.”
Kia Soul EV
|Mannequin:||Kia Soul EV First Version|
|Worth:||£34,295 (after £3,000 Plug-in Automobile Grant)|
|Powertrain:||1x e-motor/lithium-ion battery|
|Take a look at financial system:||3.9 miles/kWh|
|Annual street tax:||£0|
The Soul EV is one among our favorite all-electric compact SUVs, and it has many similarities with the Mazda, in addition to many variations. Nevertheless, at £34,295 for this First Version trim (the one choice), is it value the additional?
Design & engineering
We all know the Soul EV’s make-up by now. It’s already gained two Auto Specific street checks, and it’s seeking to make it a hat-trick right here.
In contrast with the Mazda, a fast evaluation of the powertrain appears to be like optimistic, as a result of with a 64kWh usable battery pack, the Soul EV’s cells are considerably extra energy-dense than the MX-30’s, and this has an enormous bearing upon claimed vary.
Sure, the Kia is £4,450 costlier than the Mazda as a money purchase (this hole isn’t so vital if you happen to purchase on PCP), however with a claimed vary of 280 miles from its battery, it simply provides greater than double what the Mazda does. The charging functionality is superior, too.
Not solely is the Korean automobile outfitted with a much bigger battery, nevertheless it additionally sends that vitality to a extra highly effective front-mounted electrical motor, which provides 201bhp and 395Nm of torque. Regardless of it weighing greater than the MX-30, the Soul EV has greater than sufficient efficiency to beat this disadvantage.
There’s a equally left-field strategy to the automobile’s styling, with a unusual look that’ll little doubt be divisive, simply because the MX-30’s appears to be like could possibly be, too. But inside, the Kia is far blander, with extra black plastic that doesn’t match the standard of the Mazda’s mixture of textures and supplies, which additionally assist to raise the cabin design. That is regardless of the Kia costing extra.
It’s nonetheless trimmed nicely sufficient, although, with options resembling heated leather-based seats and an excellent infotainment unit, so there are many creature comforts and know-how to play with.
The Kia isn’t fairly as enjoyable to drive because the Mazda, nevertheless it’s sooner. The 0-60mph dash takes 7.6 seconds, however what you really want to know is that with extra energy and torque, the Soul EV is snappier to reply when pulling away and going for an overtake. There’s extra efficiency, and with a higher predicted vary you should utilize it extra of the time with out worry of depleting the battery as a lot or as rapidly.
The moment torque makes it a superb city automobile, too, whereas the experience backs this up. It doesn’t really feel fairly as taut or as nicely managed because the Mazda, however the suspension has a barely extra supple edge, so the Kia additionally responds to bumps on the town with a tender contact.
This isn’t on the expense of stability by means of sooner bends, as a result of it feels completely safe right here and on the motorway. Like its check rival, a scarcity of engine noise means refinement is nice, however the Soul EV simply edges the MX-30 relating to wind and street noise.
You positively don’t develop the identical reference to the automobile as you do within the Mazda, however arguably prospects shopping for vehicles like these are much less bothered about this and need one thing that’s simple to drive, environment friendly and may cowl loads of miles on a cost. A minimum of one of many advantages of the Kia’s lighter steering is that it’s simple to manoeuvre.
A lot higher visibility is a profit when manoeuvering, too. Whereas the Mazda has rear-hinged doorways with tiny home windows that restrict over-the-shoulder visibility, there’s no such hassle with the Kia. However the Soul EV additionally has entrance and rear parking sensors and a rear-view digicam to assist in any occasion.
It’s barely down on boot area in contrast with the Mazda, providing solely 314 litres, however that is simply sufficient for a household’s baggage. The boxy boot and flat tailgate additionally imply the Kia ought to be simple to pack.
Fold the seats down and there are 1,339 litres obtainable, in contrast with 1,146 litres within the Mazda. This additionally highlights the room within the rear of the cabin, the place the Kia’s boxy form and tall roofline mix to supply spectacular headroom. That is backed up by superior legroom as nicely.
It doesn’t boast the little particulars just like the MX-30’s cork and the cool gray cloth, however there’s nonetheless loads of storage contained in the admittedly barely uninteresting inside.
The Kia strikes again with sturdy leads to our Driver Energy 2020 survey. The model took second total, whereas its sellers completed fifth – plus you get a seven-year/100,000-mile guarantee on the Soul; Mazda’s bundle is proscribed to 3 years/60,000 miles.
There’s an identical degree of security equipment to the MX-30, with autonomous braking, collision warning, lane- preserve help, blind-spot monitoring, lane-follow help as a part of the semi-autonomous adaptive cruise management, plus high-beam help for the LED headlights, so security ought to be sturdy.
It was chilly throughout our check, however the Mazda solely managed 3.2 miles per kWh at greatest, driving fastidiously. The Kia simply recorded 3.9 miles per kWh with out many concessions to super-efficient driving.
Primarily based on these figures and a usable battery capability of 30kWh, the Mazda’s predicted real-world vary is simply 96 miles. That is very poor, particularly in contrast with the Soul’s predicted real-world vary of 250 miles from a full cost. The Kia’s laptop tends to point out one mile of vitality used for one mile travelled. It’s removed from this relationship within the Mazda.
But the MX-30 will nonetheless be extremely low-cost to run in contrast with an ICE SUV. It would value £488 a 12 months in house charging prices (primarily based on 12,000 miles travelled), whereas the Soul EV will solely value £400, making it almost 20 per cent cheaper to run.
“The Kia’s charging level is offset on the nostril, whereas the MX-30’s flap is situated on the suitable rear wing. This might have an effect on the place you find your private home wallbox or when parking at a public cost level.”
First place: Kia Soul EV
Due to its a lot greater battery that provides a way more usable vary, its extra spectacular recharging functionality and the actual fact it’s extra spacious inside, the Kia is a transparent winner. It’s extra environment friendly, too, so will likely be cheaper to run, plus it rides sweetly, is refined, handles nicely sufficient and is faster than the MX-30. The Soul EV lacks the Mazda’s particular person particulars, however we’d fortunately take the additional usability as a substitute.
Second place: Mazda MX-30
Given its poor real-world vary, the MX-30 solely is sensible as a second automobile, nevertheless it’s an costly one at that. It isn’t very sensible, neither is it as quick or as environment friendly because the Kia. We like the inside and the supplies, however the MX-30 lacks the Soul EV’s versatility and usefulness in most areas, together with vary, charging and area. It rides and handles properly and is refined, however that’s removed from sufficient to beat the Kia.
Additionally think about…
- Mannequin: Peugeot e-2008 Energetic Premium
- Worth: £29,895
- Energy/batt: 134bhp/50kWh
For those who’re after an electrical SUV with fashion then check out the Peugeot e-2008. It has an identical degree of energy to the Mazda however with extra space – and extra vary, at 206 miles (claimed) from its bigger 50kWh battery.
DS 3 Crossback E-Tense
- Mannequin: DS 3 Crossback E-Tense P’mance Line
- Worth: £30,990
- Energy/batt: 134bhp/50kWh
The DS positively does issues slightly in another way, just like the Mazda. It has the identical powertrain because the e-2008, however locations extra give attention to particular person design – albeit on the expense of practicality. High quality isn’t pretty much as good because the MX-30 both.
|Kia Soul EV First Version||Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech|
|On the street worth/whole as examined||£34,295/£34,295||£29,845/£30,395|
|Residual worth (after 3 yrs/36,000)||£15,954/46.5%||£13,994/46.9%|
|Annual tax legal responsibility std/greater fee||£0/£0||£0/£0|
|Annual electrical energy value (12k/20k miles)||£400/£667||£488/£813|
|Insurance coverage group/quote/street tax value||34/£591/£0||TBC/TBC/£0|
|Servicing prices||£239 (3 years)||TBC|
|Powertrain||1x electrical motor/lithium-ion battery||1x electrical motor/lithium-ion battery|
|Peak energy/revs||201/3,800 bhp/rpm||143/TBC bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||395/1 Nm/rpm||271/TBC Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||Single-speed auto/fwd||Single-speed auto/fwd|
|Boot capability (seats up/down)||315/1,339 litres||341/1,146 litres|
|Turning circle||10.6 metres||10.6 metres|
|Fundamental guarantee (miles)/restoration||7 years (100,000)/1 yr||3 years (60,000)/3 yrs|
|Driver Energy producer/supplier pos.||2nd/fifth||4th/twenty seventh|
|NCAP: Grownup/youngster/ped./help/stars||TBC||91/87/68/73/5 (2020)|
|0-62mph/high velocity||7.6 secs^/104mph||9.7 secs/87mph|
|Auto Specific financial system||3.9 miles/kWh||3.2 miles/kWh|
|Auto Specific predicted vary||250 miles||96 miles|
|Claimed vary (WLTP)||280 miles||124 miles|
|Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket||0/0g/km/0%||0/0g/km/0%|
|Auto field/lane preserve/blind spot/AEB||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure|
|Local weather management/cruise management||Sure/adaptive||Sure/adaptive|
|Leather-based upholstery/heated seats||Sure/sure||No/sure|
|Met paint/LEDs/keyless/pwr tailgate||Sure/sure/no/no||£550/sure/sure/no|
|Nav/digital sprint/DAB/linked apps||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure|
|Wi-fi cost/CarPlay/Android Auto||Sure/sure/sure||No/sure/sure|