It’s Mazda versus Tesla in this second episode of the Clean Technica Ultimate EV Battle Bracket Tournamentwhere EV experts Zachary Shahan and Jo Borras take car reviews to the next level by exploring each car from two different angles and ultimately determining the best EV you can buy today.
And, I don’t know – maybe we’ll give some sort of award or trophy to the winning brand.
This week it’s Episode 2, and we pit the “mainstream” Tesla Model 3 against the quirky Mazda MX-30 EV with a suicide door. Zachary is supporting the Tesla this time around, while I support the Mazda.
Ready? Let’s start!
Joe: Listen, I’m going to cut to the chase and concede the loss. There’s no one in the industry, probably even Mazda, who would recommend the MX-30 EV over the Model 3 except under very specific conditions – but those conditions, said out loud, don’t sound so crazy, if we’re being honest. So I feel good about my position on this one.
First, there is the build quality. The Mazda is assembled spectacularly, as if anyone had been involved in the project like the thing, and never got the memo that it was meant to be just a cynical compliance car that only exists so the brand can keep selling MX-5s in California. The interior is carefully crafted, manages to feel both sporty and airy, and the rear-opening “suicide” doors make dropping a duffel bag behind the driver’s seat a snap.
They’ve also been a huge hit with kids, and all the touchpoints give off a sort of ‘premium’ vibe that says a lot about Mazda’s move upmarket in recent years. In terms of interior quality, then, I have to give it to the Mazda.
Zach: I have to say that I’m a little limited in my comments on the MX-30 since I haven’t seen one — and I even forgot it exists. My personal take on the interior and exterior of the MX-30 from images online is that it looks pretty much like “any other vehicle”, or basically countless models that include a sort of bland and dated interior and exterior design. You’ve got the small screen, the big high dash, the typical old-school knobs and buttons. If you want something like most other cars of the last 10 years, I guess this is a good option. It has some remarkable features. The lower screen behind the shifter is…interesting. It seems like a bad placement because it’s so low and takes your eyes off the road, but I can’t say for sure whether or not I’d like it in practice. There’s this little sub-compartment under the shifter for phones and such, which I like, and I think it’s very well designed with a different color and material, which makes it easier to use and more attractive. I really like that you can cover the cup holders with a lid when not in use. The seat design is also very appealing to my taste. So overall, I think Mazda did a good job here despite all the old-school issues and the blandness of the dash and shoddy screens.
I think the exterior of the MX-30 is much better than most Mazda SUVs. There is no boring huge grille!! The lights look a bit 90s but kinda cool. The shape and size are appealing to my taste.
The clean, minimalist interior of the Model 3 is still one of my favorite things about the car after 3 years of ownership. It’s such a refreshing and soothing part of the car that feels understated. Of course, you don’t have all the clutter of normal cars because it’s all packed into the touchscreen, and oh my god – the touchscreen!! There’s so much to do for fun (Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, video games, a sketchbook, Caraoke) plus operational settings, information, great options like car wash mode, and Moreover. It’s really hard to imagine having a car without all these things now.
The last thing I will note inside is that the seats are second to none in my experience. Tesla is one of only 3-4 companies in the world that designs seats for cars and has specifically designed the seats so that no point on your body pushes too hard in one place, dissipating the pressure you feel when you are sitting for a long time. . I have rented many cars for long trips – from BMW, Mercedes, Toyota etc. I have never been so comfortable on long journeys. And then you have the cool and extremely soft white vegan leather. To like.
Joe: I must agree that the seats of the Tesla are excellent, and they’ve done a great job of convincing people that “cheap vinyl” = “expensive vegan leather” over the past few years, so I’ll give them props for that too. I’ll even grant you that Mazda design is a bit dated, but there’s a reason most cars of the last thirty years have knobs and buttons where they do: that’s where people put them. want.
Don’t get me wrong, the touchscreen looks cool, but if you’re going to criticize taking your eyes off the road to read the Mazda’s small screen, you have to recognize that the Tesla’s large center screen, in that moment you’re trying to adjust something can also be a distraction.
Coming back to the materials, the cork board visible in the Mazda is, I think, very clever. It looks premium, it dampens the sound, I feel like it could fend off Capri-Sun fruit punch stains. Perfect for commuting with the kids around town and for games and the like.
Zach: Yes, I love cork. And there are a few things about the Tesla touchscreen that I prefer having more control over the steering wheel buttons. Many people use voice commands for them, but I find voice commands to be annoying to perform and disrupt the car environment.
I can’t speak to the performance or feel of the Mazda MX-30, but hey, we finally have to say it. The MX-30 has ONLY 100 MILES OF RANGE!! Like what??? It’s not 2015, it’s 2022! I’m not a range freak at all that’s why I have a Standard Range 3 model and I think that’s quite adequate but 100 miles is so below standard and below which is convenient that I’m lost. How could they do that unless they really didn’t want anyone to buy the car? It could only be used for limited city driving and you had to really I love the MX-30 (for some unknown reason) to buy it instead of another electric vehicle like the Hyundai IONIQ 5, Volkswagen ID.4 or a Tesla. It would have been competitive a decade from. I mean, I might even consider a MINI E a city car/second car because it’s so cool and appealing, but I see no reason to consider the MX-30.
Joe: Oh, man – yeah. This is a solid, solid review. But it’s getting worse. For example, when you open the hood of any modern electric vehicle, you almost expect to see a somewhat finished plastic frunk or “vanity cover” to give the underhood a nice look.
On the Mazda? Not only is it obvious that they originally designed this thing to be a range-extended hybrid, but it’s obvious that the BEV version was rushed to market. You open the hood, you see the ground directly.
Joe: Yeah. The irony is that a small Wankel REx motor, which you can see fitting in there, could give the MX-30 EV real, usable range. Without it, however, that 100-mile range is extremely limited. It only really makes sense as a second car or as a weekend toy… but, when I bought exactly this kind of second car recently, there were no MX-30s available.
Zach: Well, to be honest, I think a REx with 100 miles of range would be a brilliant option that could serve a ton of buyers well. I know the trade-offs of having two powertrains (and I owned a REx!!), but there is a trade-off with everything. A 100 mile REx could serve many people who aren’t quite ready to upgrade to full BEV (or are upgrading to full BEV and then wish to have an REx – I know a Model 3 owner in this boat), and it would limit the battery mineral requirements while allowing almost 100% electric driving – and we all know that the battery mineral crisis is the big story in the industry this decade!
But as things stand, well, I remember why I forgot about the MX-30. We barely knew you, little underpowered MX-30, but you’re already dead to me again.
Joe: I understand. It’s kind of like a Miata or, perhaps a better analogy is a Smart Car. If you want one, you want one. They are impractical, they will never make sense when faced with cheaper, faster, or more convenient options, but if that sounds like you, there’s really nothing else like it.
And, for what it’s worth, the little Mazda EV spoke to the Borras family – and our next-door neighbors, who literally never asked about a single tester, but asked for rides in the Mazda. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the styling or the size of the car or the suicide doors or what, but the red paint job was absolutely stunning. Mazda could have sold me this car just on the paint alone…but all Mazdas are like that. They have the best paint in the auto industry, and that’s especially true for their special,”Red Soul Crystal.”
We liked it. But, as I said, none were available – and it looks like they are one and done. There’s no word I’ve seen of Mazda offering its little BEV for a second year. Any thoughts on this?
Zach: What vehicle? Oh, yeah, that vehicle is dead to me. I did not hear anything.
Joe: Yeah. I think that’s the criticism. Well put together car, but not enough range, charging time is too slow, weird waste of space under the hood, and — we didn’t even mention it’s much, much slower than the model 3, right?
I guess we don’t need it. Model 3 wins by knockout in the first round.
Zach: As inviting as the Mazda is, it’s no contest. The Tesla wins this round.
You can watch the “debate” live on our YouTube channel, below. Also, be sure to subscribe to our channel, so you can stay up to date with all of our latest reviews, and follow our way up (down?) support to determine THE BEST VEE YOU CAN BUY. Enjoy!
Mazda MX-30 EV vs. Tesla Model 3 Ultimate Showdown!
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