Caroline and the new Mazda MX-30

2020 Mazda MX-30 Preview In Lisbon

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

The new Mazda MX-30 electric SUV

Mazda MX-30 Electric SUV Expected In 2021

The new Mazda MX-30 electric SUV
The new Mazda MX-30 electric SUV

Mazda has debuted the Japanese brand's first production electric car at the Tokyo Motor Show. The new Mazda MX-30 is an all-electric SUV and is expected in Ireland in early 2021.

Mazda is following its 'right sized engine' strategy into the realm of EVs, claiming that the MX-30's 35.5 kWh battery is a 'right-sized battery'. Mazda indicate that the range will be approximately 200km, "exceeding the 48km average daily drive of the European customer".

"The Mazda MX-30 marks another positive step in Mazda’s multi-solution approach to reducing emissions following the recent arrival of the innovative Skyactiv-X engine."

Yasuhiro Aoyama President & CEO of Mazda Motor Europe said:

“As with all our products, our designers and engineers had a very clear goal for our first battery-electric vehicle. It had to have stand out design, be great to drive, something that is key part of Mazda’s DNA and makes us unique when compared with competitors, and most importantly, make a positive contribution to reducing emission across the entire life cycle of the product.

Alongside the electrification technologies we are introducing across our range, being a smaller manufacturer we focused all our efforts on creating an electric car that we anticipate will be a second car where the range of our vehicle will meet customers’ needs.

Many of the media who have driven our test vehicle have said it is one of the few electric cars they have driven with the positive characteristics of a regular car.  Delivering driving pleasure is at the heart of every Mazda we design and that will be no different in our electric car.”

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

Eco-materials and freestyle doors

Innovative engineering approaches have been employed in the new MX-30 to ensure a natural and responsive driving feel in the e-Skyactiv package.  This includes the battery being rigidly integrated into the vehicle body structure which enhances the overall body stiffness and improves response to the driver's input.

Mazda engineers have also created an electronic sound system inside the Mazda MX-30, which is synchronized to motor torque in sound frequency and sound pressure.  This leads to less variation in vehicle speed resulting in very stable driving, further supported by Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which has been expanded and uses the advantages of the electric motor (electric G-Vectoring Control Plus).

The new Mazda MX-30 features KODO design and distinct 'freestyle doors''. The interior also uses eco-friendly materials. Real leather will be replaced with a vegan alternative. There is also environmentally sourced cork featured in the floating centre console.

Distinct 'freestyle doors' feature
Distinct 'freestyle doors' feature

What we know so far about the MX-30 specification:

Body typeSUV
Seating capacity5 persons
Overall length × overall width × overall height4,395mm × 1,795mm × 1,570mm
Front suspensionMacPherson strut
Rear suspensionTorsion-beam
SteeringRack and pinion
Brakes (front/rear/control)Ventilated discs/Solid discs
/Regenerative cooperating brakes
Tire size215/55R18
Drive batteryTypeLithium-ion battery
Total voltage355V
Total electric power (battery capacity)35.5kWh
MotorTypeAC synchronous motor
Cooling systemWater-cooled
ChargingDC chargingCOMBO spec
AC chargingMaximum input 6.6kW