In Depth

Mazda MX-30 2021: battery specs, hybrid model, price and UK release

Japanese carmaker will join the electric generation when its first EV hits showrooms in just over a year

Mazda’s first all-electric car has made its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, a day after an image of the new EV leaked online. 

Called the MX-30, the newcomer has an unconventional design featuring elements from the carmaker’s old RX-8 sports car. 

Following the official unveiling at the Tokyo expo, which runs until 4 November, Mazda announced that the crossover will be available in both fully-electric and hybrid form, Auto Express reports.

The MX-30 won’t hit the market until next year but in the meantime, here’s what we know about the electrified SUV and the critics’ intial verdicts after sampling a prototype version: 

Price and release

According to Autocar, prices for the MX-30 will start at £30,000 - a figure that includes the Government’s £3,500 grant to electric car buyers. 

Orders will open in the UK in the middle of 2020, before deliveries get under way early in 2021.

Buyers in Japan face a shorter wait, with the electric crossover set to hit showrooms there “within the next 12 months”, according to Auto Express. 

Design and interior tech

As Car magazine notes, the MX-30 adopts “Mazda’s familiar face and elegant, fuss-free surfacing,” complete with “an arcing, coupe-like roofline”. There are some “quirky engineering” elements as well, including thin back-hinged rear doors that have been plucked from the RX-8 - a design that first appeared back in 2003.

Mazda has “effectively” removed the car’s B-pillar, the vertical section of bodywork between the front and rear doors, for easier access to the back of the car, “though rear legroom doesn’t look generous”, the motoring mag adds.

On the inside, the MX-30’s cabin is “lined in soft fabric” made from recycled plastic bottles, reports CNet’s Roadshow. The interior design is minimalistic, with a simple digital gauge cluster and clutter-free dashboard layout. 

Set in the centre console is a 7in touchscreen panel that’s used to change the climate control settings, while a larger infotainment screen emerges from the top of the dash. 

Battery range and performance

At launch, the MX-30 will be available in electric-only form. 

This model comes with a single electric motor, delivering 141bhp and 195lb-ft of torque, which is coupled to a 35.5kWh battery system capable of powering the car for more than 125 miles on a single charge, says Auto Express.

Mazda has yet to announce the car’s performance details, but the magazine predicts a zero to 62mph time “between eight and ten seconds” and a top speed of about 100mph. 

The EV will be followed a year later by a version equipped with a small petrol engine to extend the range of battery, says Car magazine. 

This engine will take the form of a rotary motor, which comprises a triangular-shaped piston that rotates, as opposed to the circular pistons found in a typical combustion-engined motor. It’s an usual design, but the motors are capable of delivering high power outputs while being considerably smaller than most combustion engines.

Prototype reviews

The covers have only just come off the production-spec version of the Japanese electric car. However, a select few did get behind the wheel of a prototype model based on the company’s CX-30 crossover.  

One of the major differences between Mazda’s EV and its rivals is the sound it makes, according to WhichCar’s Wheels, an Australian motoring news site. The electric Mazda has been designed to mimic a combustion engine, as opposed to the futuristic whirrs emitted by other EVs, as Mazda believes driving is more enjoyable with audible - if fake - engine revs.

Mazda has also reduced the effect of regenerative braking, the motoring site notes, where the car automatically brakes when drivers ease off the throttle to recover energy for its batteries. The move was made to enhance driver involvement, so drivers can’t rely on engine braking to slow the car down.

In terms of performance, the EV feels “more on a par with that of a conventional 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel” and “lacks that immediate kick of acceleration that so many EVs offer”, notes Auto Express.

That said, the car’s power delivery is “silky smooth” and there’s plenty of performance for “daily commuting”, the magazine says. 

Overall, Mazda’s first electric car is shaping up to be a vastly different driving experience compared to other EVs on sale today, says Autocar.

“Mazda must be commended for what it’s achieved so far,” the magazine says. “Not only does this prototype feel original to drive for an EV, but also - for those who desire it - more like a car in the traditional sense of the word.”

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