Caroline and the new Mazda MX-30
Caroline and the new Mazda MX-30

Mazda Ireland brought me to Lisbon, Portugal, to preview their exciting new electric vehicle – the new Mazda MX-30.

What is it?

The MX-30 is Mazda’s first ever electric vehicle and it’s debuting in the form of an SUV. The car is still in development and is due to hit production around the middle of 2020. We can expect to see the MX-30 in Ireland in January 2021.

What does it look like?

We had an opportunity to view the new Mazda MX-30 up close, fresh from its reveal at the 2019 Toyko Motor Show. From a design perspective, it’s more of an SUV coupé than a conventional SUV with distinct ‘freestyle doors’ that hark back to the Mazda RX-8 of the Noughties. Mazda has evolved its famed KODO design philosophy for the company’s new EV line. As a result, the car looks more futuristic and suburban than say the CX-30 or CX-5 in the current Mazda SUV range.

What’s it like inside?

Mazda has given the MX-30 interior the feel of a cool lounge. The MX-30 shares the same carefully considered cockpit design found on all Mazda cars, with a horizontally symmetrical layout centred on the driver. The focus is on eco-materials: unique fabric from recycled plastic, vegan leather, and natural cork. For the first time in a Mazda, the MX-30 adopts a touchscreen air-conditioning control panel on a 7-inch screen in the lower centre console.

The Mazda MX-30 will have a range in the region of 200 km
The Mazda MX-30 will have a range in the region of 200 km

So how far will it get me on a full charge?

The MX-30 introduces a new electric drive technology to Mazda, called e–Skyactiv. The power output of the car is about 140 hp and there will be about 265 Nm of torque. The MX-30 will be powered by a 35.5 kWh battery with a range estimated somewhere in the region of 200 km. In an era where many mainstream EVs are now debuting 64 kWh batteries with a range in excess of 400 km, this might appear short-sighted but Mazda like to do things differently. The company is famous for its ‘right-sized’ engine philosophy, which has seen the Japanese brand buck the trend for small turbocharged units in favour of large capacity naturally aspirated engines. Now Mazda continues to challenge conventional wisdom with their ‘right-sized’ battery approach to electric vehicles. Their research has shown that 48 km is the average daily drive of the European customer, well within the Mazda MX-30’s range. But they also cite this battery size as kinder to the environment right now, resulting in lower life cycle CO2 emissions.

How about charging?

There will be a 6.6kW onboard charger for charging at home and 50kW rapid charging through a CCS connection.

The interior of the new Mazda MX-30
The interior of the new Mazda MX-30

Will it be good to drive?

We expect so and we actually got an opportunity to test drive the technology in an EV prototype in the body of a CX-30. The MX-30 will be the third new Mazda after the Mazda3 and the CX-30 to use the new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. It’s an EV designed to deliver ‘outstanding driving pleasure’ based on the company’s Jinba Ittai – driver and car as one – engineering ethos. Mazda technologies like electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus) are fitted as standard. This system gives the car a feeling of more natural feedback by precise torque control and sound that lets the driver know exactly what the car is doing.

How cool is the EV technology?

Mazda has developed its own bespoke motor pedal concept for the Mazda MX-30 for a more natural feel relative to the driver’s intended amount of acceleration and deceleration. They have also developed special sound or ‘aural feedback’ through the audio system corresponding to the driver’s pedal action. Mazda engineers also showed us the place where under the hood a rotary petrol engine can be added to extend the range.

Is it safe?

The MX-30 has no centre pillar because of the freestyle doors but safety is not compromised due to the MX-30’s high strength bodyshell. The suite of i-Activsense advanced safety technologies will be enhanced by a new Smart Brake Support (SBS) system to help to prevent collisions at intersections in the traffic and technology designed to help keep drivers on track on roads with kerbs or discernible edges, even in the absence of lane markings.

How much will it cost?

We have no indication of pricing yet for Ireland but in Germany the MX-30 will go on sale from €33,900 before grants.

The MX-30 is expected in Ireland in early 2021
The MX-30 is expected in Ireland in early 2021

Caroline Kidd