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Mazda MX-30 2021 review: G20E Evolve

Looks swish, and less instantly recognisable as a Mazda, which is a good thing.

Yes, Mazda has introduced a mild-hybrid car to its line-up in the form of a small SUV. The Mazda MX-30 G20E looks cute and is a hybrid, but is it hybrid enough? The company does say they are bringing out an electric version of the MX-30 soon, so we’ll look forward to that. 

In the meantime, I test drove the base model MX-30 G20E Evolve which costs $33,990, before on road costs and extras. It competes with cars like the Toyota C-HR hybrid and Subaru XV hybrid (though this is a slightly bigger car). Size-wise it also competes with the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona, neither of which are hybrid but are in the same size category. 

Here’s how the MX-30 G20E Evolve did for this week’s family review. 

Read more about the Mazda MX-30

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How does it look?

It’s the most un-Mazda-ery Mazda I’ve driven so far, mainly because it doesn’t look like a typical Mazda (they were all starting to blend into one another). This one has a thinner grille and a weird but modern bubble-shaped back. It’s fun and different enough to separate itself from the small SUV competition. 

The moment you open the doors you know this car is Different, with a capital D. It’s the cork that gives it away. Cork on the shelving space below the centre console, and it’s also on top of the cupholder lids.

It’s fun and different enough to separate itself from the small SUV competition.  It’s fun and different enough to separate itself from the small SUV competition. 

Even though I don’t like the look of it, it’s functional in that your phone is less likely to slide off cork than plastic. And bonus points for using recycled PET plastic bottles for the dash and door coverings. We should be seeing more of this everywhere now the technology is available. 

The other interior features are all good. The fabric seats feel comfortable, the steering wheel and gearshift are leather trimmed, and we'll cover the two screens in the tech section. Everything is cute and compact. 

How spacious is it?

While there's not an abundance of space, it's big enough for my family of four. You wouldn’t want to go camping in it, though, or anywhere you needed a lot of luggage, but for a young family it’s good enough as a runaround car in suburbia. 

The front seats have a decent amount of leg and headroom and while the taller people in my family did have to move their seats forward more than they would have liked to accommodate the kids in the back, it’s not a deal breaker. 

  • While there's not an abundance of space, it's big enough for my family of four. While there's not an abundance of space, it's big enough for my family of four.
  • The back seat is definitely smaller than you would think for a small SUV. The back seat is definitely smaller than you would think for a small SUV.
  • The boot is on the smaller side, at 311L (VDA). The boot is on the smaller side, at 311L (VDA).
  • It’s still big enough to fit a medium suitcase but fitting a pram will depend on the size of the pram.  It’s still big enough to fit a medium suitcase but fitting a pram will depend on the size of the pram. 

The back seat is definitely smaller than you would think for a small SUV. My kids are aged seven and nine and they were perfectly fine in there, though they did request our front seats not be put back too far. I can fit in, at 161cm (5'3"), but there’s not a whole load more leg room for taller people to squish into the back seat. 

Likewise, the boot is on the smaller side, at 311L (VDA) it’s a fair way smaller than the Toyota C-HR hybrid boot which is 377L and the Kia Seltos which is 433L. It’s still big enough to fit a medium suitcase but fitting a pram will depend on the size of the pram. 

How does it drive?

It’s a zippy car to get around in, and feels more like a small car than a small SUV. There’s instant response when you press the accelerator and it handles nicely around corners.

There is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine in play, and the 'mild-hybrid' description relates to the fact that it carries a lithium ion battery to power electrical systems, including 'extended' stop-start, and provide a relatively modest amount of extra pulling power.

There’s no way to tell you’re in a (mild) hybrid, though, even the fuel consumption’s official combined figure of 6.4L/100km is almost the same compared to the non-hybrid CX-30, which is 6.5L/100km. This is probably why Mazda is bringing out an electric version at some point, because this mild-hybrid is exactly that - mild. 

It’s a zippy car to get around in, and feels more like a small car than a small SUV. It’s a zippy car to get around in, and feels more like a small car than a small SUV.

It’s a great car to drive around suburbia with no heavy load in it. Highways are cruisy as long as you don’t want to be the fastest car on the road. 

Parking is good in this car, with easy steering, a size that fits in most places, and a reverse parking camera. The gear shifter might confuse you initially, though. It shifts left and right to get it into park, and I forgot that occasionally, but it’s one of those things you’ll get used to. 

There is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine in play. There is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine in play.

How easy is it to use every day?

Let’s talk about the doors because they are a feature, I tell you. The back doors are small and open from the centre of the car.

You first have to open the front door and then with an internal handle, open the back door. It functions quite well when you get the hang of it, but my now-very-vocal-and-self-proclaimed-car-expert children did not like it.

They especially didn’t like it when they were inside the car and couldn’t get out, without the front doors being opened, nor did they like being unable to open their windows - because of the small doors, the rear windows don’t open. For children who get car sick, this is not ideal. 

The back doors are small and open from the centre of the car. The back doors are small and open from the centre of the car.

The benefit of this feature, though, is the very open space you get when you do open both doors. It’s like a party car! You can sit inside the front or back and it’s wide and roomy. Especially helpful if you have a large box you want to fit into the back seat and wouldn’t ordinarily be able to fit in the door.

Apart from that, I can’t really think of another benefit to these doors, besides it being a point of difference. And they are helpful if you want to have a party... off the side of your car. 

This entry-level model means the front seats are manually adjustable, though there is a push button start, and there’s a head-up display, (yes, even on this base model) so you can see your speed in your windscreen.

When not in use the two cupholders are covered with cork tops to form a small shelf. When not in use the two cupholders are covered with cork tops to form a small shelf.

I found the centre console area tricky to navigate. There is a large cork-topped shelf underneath, which is where they want you to put your phone, and that’s also where the USB port is. But I couldn’t see the USB input from the driver’s seat. I had to feel my way and plug it in blind after struggling for a few minutes. Definitely not one to do while driving.

When not in use the two cupholders are covered with cork tops to form a small shelf. But if you've got a coffee or two in there no other upper shelf is available. There’s a small centre storage bin and the doors will fit two bottles. 

Rear passengers get cupholders in the centre armrest but no directional air vents, though the air does travel from front to back quite well.

Rear passengers get cupholders in the centre armrest but no directional air vents. Rear passengers get cupholders in the centre armrest but no directional air vents.

What’s the tech like?

There are two screens in the MX-30. The larger, 8.8-inch multimedia screen at the top of the dash is the one that houses the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Note, it’s not a touchscreen but is controlled with a knob down on the centre console. 

The other 7.0-inch screen that sits lower has the climate control so you can raise and lower the temperature via the touchscreen. Slightly confusing set-up, yes, but it does work. Just ignore the manual climate control knobs on either side of the touchscreen. 

The larger, 8.8-inch multimedia screen at the top of the dash is the one that houses the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The larger, 8.8-inch multimedia screen at the top of the dash is the one that houses the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

How safe is it?

Finally an SUV in this size bracket and price category that has rear side airbags! In addition to all the usual ones of course (front, front side, curtain), but the rear side airbags are usually only seen in bigger, more expensive cars. It also has an extra one in the front centre. 

This makes up for this base model G20 Evolve not being fitted with front parking sensors and steering assist, though they are usually expected even on a base model. They can be optioned in for $1500 as a part of the 'Vision Technology' pack. 

The MX-30 scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2020. The MX-30 scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2020.

As standard you’ll get auto emergency braking (with intersectional, cyclist and pedestrian detection), active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane keep assist. 

The MX-30 scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2020 and comes with two ISOFIX points and three top tether points across the rear row for kids car seats. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Mazda MX-30 G20E Evolve costs $33,990, before on road costs and extras. The official fuel consumption combined figure is 6.4L/100km which is high for a hybrid, and in my week I averaged 7.3L/100km, doing mostly suburban driving. 

It’s covered by Mazda’s five year/unlimited km warranty. Servicing is required every 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first. This is shorter than the usual 15,000km. The first five services are capped to a total of $1942 which equates to an average of $388.40 per service. 

The Mazda MX-30 G20E Evolve costs $33,990, before on road costs and extras. The Mazda MX-30 G20E Evolve costs $33,990, before on road costs and extras.


The Wrap

Though Mazda should be commended for introducing a hybrid to its line-up, this particular hybrid may not go far enough to win over people who want to reduce their emissions. Perhaps they’ll wait for the electric version. 

Style and practicality wise, the MX-30 didn’t win me over, and I think Mazda could have wiggled more interior space in to fit a family comfortably. If you’ve got a small family (you plus one?) then it’s probably the perfect size and you will even appreciate the middle-opening doors for a kerb-side party vibe. 

I gave the MX-30 G20E Evolve a family rating of 6.6 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same. They would have preferred to be able to open their own door. 

Likes

Exterior design
Zippy driving
Safety

Dislikes

Interior and door design functionality
Less hybrid than it could be
Boot space

Scores

Nedahl:

3.3

The Kids:

3.3

$33,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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