Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A grey 2022 Mazda MX-30 is shown on a cobblestone lane after leaving a Mazda dealer.

Driving a Mazda MX-30 in Canadian Winters: Is It Doable?

The Mazda MX-30 has been on the market for a hot minute. This all-electric crossover is Mazda’s first foray into EV territory. It shows promise that the company could further expand its nameplates into all-electric segments. However, before getting too excited about the possibilities and potentialities of an entire line-up of electric Mazdas, it first needs to be determined if the company’s latest electric SUV can stand the test of time. Or, in the case of Canadians looking for a good EV, the test of Canada’s harsh winter weather.

Whether you’re scouting a Mazda dealer in Edmonton or you’re thinking about grabbing one from a dealer’s lot in Quebec, it’s important to get as much information as possible about some of the latest EVs before diving head-first into ownership. Whether you’re thinking about buying one, already own one, or just want to know because you want to know, it is time to examine the MX-30’s compatibility with Canada’s mostly predictable yet harsh weather patterns. In short, can you drive the MX-30 in Canada’s sometimes unforgiving weather? The short of it is, yes. But the long answer requires you to strap in because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

What the Mazda MX-30 Offers

The Mazda MX-30 is a brand-new nameplate that has recently joined the company’s line-up of vehicles. In fact, it’s only been made available for Canadian car shoppers since late 2021, rolling out first in British Columbia and Quebec. This all-electric SUV seats five, spread across two rows, which includes traditional captain chairs up front and a 60/40 split-folding bench in the back.

A 35.5 kWh battery provides the vehicle with propulsion, with a rated range of up to 161 km for the 2022 model year. Multiple charging options are available, including Level 1 charging, Level 2 charging, and DC fast charging that can charge from 20% to 80% in just 36 minutes. You can expect the electric motor to output 143 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque via a front-wheel drive configuration.

With 431 litres of cargo volume behind the second row and up to 1,053 litres of total cargo volume with the rear seats folded, you have a decent amount of space to work with inside. A built-in rear window defroster, automatic headlights and 46 cm alloy wheels with an accompanying puncture repair kit are all useful to have while traversing Canada’s winding roads. With the features and specs out of the way, the real question is: how well does the MX-30 perform across Canada’s varied seasons?

Harsh Realities of Driving in Canada

With two different trims available, you get some leeway in outfitting the 2022 MX-30 to suit the needs of various road conditions. The GS trim is the base trim, while the GT trim is a little more furnished for surviving the challenges Canadian roads can throw at unsuspecting vehicles. The addition of driver-assist features, such as an Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Jam Assist, to the GT makes it a little more road-ready than its GS counterpart.

During the spring and summer, there haven’t been many reports about Mazda’s EV running into too many problems. However, the warmer seasons aren’t where EVs run into problems. As many of you know, cold weather can really zap the performance of an electric vehicle, no matter how big or small it is. The cold can render an EVs total driving range much shorter than some of the initial marketing pitches.

In Canada, that rings especially true, as areas like Alberta can average around between -5 and -15 degrees Celsius during mid-winter. It can get much worse in other areas, as places like Manitoba can see temperatures drop down to as low as -18 degrees Celsius during the day and as low as -40 degrees Celsius at night. These kinds of sub-zero temperatures can wreak havoc on a poorly-designed EV, shortening the driving range significantly.

A white 2023 Mazda MX-30 is shown in front of an a shop.

How Well Does the Mazda MX-30 Fare in Cold Weather?

As we know, EVs and cold weather don’t always mix very well. Regardless of the brand, there’s just a fundamental roadblock in the chemistry of batteries and cold weather that makes them about as incompatible as pineapple on pizza (yeah, I went there). However, like pineapple on pizza, there are ways to make it work and work well enough that sometimes seemingly unholy combinations are actually worthwhile. That’s exactly the kind of problem-solving mindset that Mazda put into engineering and developing the Mazda MX-30, making it winter-ready with some neat tech. That’s precisely why it’s available to drive off the lot at select dealers throughout Canada, though finding one at a Mazda dealer in Edmonton or Alberta right now might be a bit of a challenge.

Nevertheless, Mazda is well aware of the ups and downs that come with driving in Canada and preemptively structured the MX-30 around those conditions. For instance, the MX-30 has thermal management that can automatically kick in. What this does is turn on battery warmers to heat up the batteries in frigid cold temperatures, maintaining power and speeding up charging times.

What’s interesting here is that the battery warmers automatically kick in once level 2 or higher charging is initiated for the vehicle while the battery is under a certain temperature. If the vehicle is not being charged, battery warming will automatically kick in so long as there is more than 30% of a charge left in the battery pack. Basically, every time you charge the Mazda MX-30 in cold temperatures, it automatically warms up the batteries for better battery life. This is a neat way to counter the inevitable issues you would likely encounter trying to drive an EV in Canada when the weather is anything less than ideal (which is frequent).

Mazda’s Continued Support for the MX-30

Contingencies don’t always work out as planned, and it’s common for many EVs to fall short of their potential due to weather alone, not counting road conditions or travel times. However, Mazda is committed to making the MX-30 work in freezing cold climates, even if the tech hasn’t shown an affinity for such driving conditions. First of all, regular over-the-air updates are rolling out to balance out battery heating, charging rates, and energy preservation.

Additionally, owners of the MX-30 can modify the battery warming features by utilizing the infotainment deck to disable the feature if they would prefer it not to automatically come on. An auto-sleep feature that comes on after nine days of inactivity is also implemented for those who may not use the MX-30 for more than a week; the vehicle will go into a sleep state, where remote start and entry will be disabled, along with all other tertiary features in order to preserve battery life. You can restart the vehicle by simply pressing the start button on the dashboard inside the vehicle.

The pre-warming feature is also a neat addition to keep the Mazda MX-30 effective during cold weather. You can use the infotainment deck to schedule pre-warming of the vehicle so that the interior is automatically warmed up before you get inside. While this can drain the battery life beforehand, if you schedule this while the vehicle is being charged, you can have the battery fully topped off when you start driving, as the vehicle and battery pack will be warmed up ahead of time. This can net you some additional range on the MX-30 while driving in cold conditions. It’s also important to keep the vehicle updated with the latest firmware for optimal performance. Thanks to the over-the-air updates, it is easy to keep the vehicle road-ready, regardless of the weather conditions.

A grey 2022 Mazda MX-30 is near a modern staircase.

Is the MX-30 Worth Driving in Canada?

Whether driving an internal combustion engine or an EV, prepping for winter will always be a thing. How you prep will change based on the powertrain requirements. In the case of the Mazda MX-30, the preparatory phase is mostly automatic and designed to utilize the latest tech advancements to make this crossover EV as viable for Canada’s sometimes harsh weather conditions as possible. But is it worth it?

Well, it all comes down to what you want out of a vehicle. Mazda has certainly gone to great lengths to make the MX-30 winter-ready, or in this case, Canada-ready. But based on the limited availability of the MX-30 in Canada, it’s rather obvious that finding one at a random Mazda dealer in Edmonton, Saskatchewan, or Alberta may not be a commonplace thing until the automaker feels more confident with the performance of the MX-30 across all of Canada’s roadways and seasons. Mazda is definitely on the right track, though. If you’re willing to keep the vehicle warm enough to perform during the fall and winter, an MX-30 can be a great commuter SUV all year round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *