Virtually every automaker is bringing out at least one electric vehicle in 2021. Most of them are putting all the effort they can into stretching the range of those new EVs. And almost all of those new EVs carry a price tag of at least $40,000.
hopes that has created an opening. Its first electric car, the 2022 Mazda MX-30, will carry a price tag of just $33,470, plus $1,175 for destination and handling. After a $7,500 federal tax rebate, that gives it an effective cost of just $25,970. When the MX-30 first goes on sale this fall, it will be available only in California. The Golden State has its own incentive programs that can shave thousands more off the price, depending on buyer income.
A low price, but a low range, too
That low price, though, comes with a low range. The MX-30 will have an EPA-estimated range of just 100 miles. That’s the lowest range of any new EV available in the U.S.
Related: How much range is enough in an EV?
The lowest-range version of the 2022 Nissan
Leaf EV has a range of 149 miles and is available for less than $20,000 after the same tax rebate.
Tailored good looks
It’s otherwise an appealing vehicle. It’s not easy to design a car that stands out visually but remains tasteful. Mazda has pulled that off. The MX-30 offers sharp looks that combine a coupe-like profile with an SUV’s high stance and seating position. Its unique rear-hinged back doors and tri-tone color scheme (a dark gray roof, silver pillars, and choice of paint colors for the main body) are distinctive and handsome.
Mazda says the small battery makes handling sharp and sporty. A single electric motor mounted to the front axle makes it front-wheel-drive. It puts out 143 horsepower. Like all electric motors, it is near silent, so Mazda has created a unique EV sound that “generates audible feedback that is in sync with the electric motor and helps provide a familiar connection that helps lead to a natural driving experience.”
A long equipment list
The list of standard equipment is long. Every MX-30 ships with heated, 8-way adjustable power front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and an 8.8-inch central touchscreen with Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto wireless connectivity. Active safety features like radar-equipped adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention monitor are all standard.
A Premium Plus package enhances them with steering assist that “help[s] keep the vehicle in its own lane if the driver attempts to change lanes while another vehicle is detected in the blind spot,” as well as an upgraded audio system and heated steering wheel.
Can Mazda ease range worries with free rentals?
But that limited range will be an issue for many shoppers.
Yet the first electric Mazda may still make sense for many buyers. According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, the average American drives less than 30 miles on the average day, meaning most buyers would rarely use even a third of the MX-30’s range. We don’t have reliable statistics on the average weekend road trip length, but the 250-miles or so of most electrics means many EV buyers already choose to rent a car for longer trips.
Mazda will let MX-30 buyers borrow another Mazda vehicle from dealers for up to 10 days for each of the first three years of ownership to ease that concern.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.