At long last, Mazda has finally confirmed that it will indeed go electric in 2021, with the debut of the funky MX-30 crossover.
Two versions – a plug-in petrol/electric hybrid and a battery-electric vehicle – will wing their way to Australia in 2021, with pricing yet to be confirmed.
Closely related to both the Mazda3 and CX-30, the MX-30 caused a sensation when it debuted in Tokyo in 2019, thanks in part to its nod to the lamented RX-8 sports car.
Though Mazda calls them ‘freestyle’ doors, the rest of the world refers to them as suicide doors, and they were last seen on the RX-8 before it bowed out of production in 2012.
The MX-30 is still considered part of the Kodo design family, and it certainly blends the looks of the CX-3 and CX-30 while introducing an even more abbreviated rear roofline.
A handful of details were released, including the all-important – and slightly contentious – claimed range for the EV of 224km from a 35.5kWh battery array.
It’s powered by a single electric motor on the front axle that makes 171kW and 271Nm, and the battery can be charged via an AC or a rapid-charge DC connector.
The electric motor, inverter, DC-DC converter and junction box are integrated into a single high-voltage unit that's mounted towards the front of the MX-30
No efficiency figure per km was offered.
Mazda claims that, given the average Australian commute of 32km per day from home to work and back again, the MX-30 can run for a working week without being recharged.
A smaller battery offers the advantage of being lighter and faster to charge.
When asked if there was any concern about the relatively short claimed range of the EV version, Mazda’s director of sales and marketing, Alistair Doak, said the company had hit its target.
“People are aware of that [range] before they start,” he said.
Managing director Vinesh Bhindi also said that the MX-30 is a "very focused” product.
“It's a niche product, like the MX-5,” he said. “It won't be for everyone.
"We're lucky enough to have a mild-hybrid version that looks exactly the same.
"If a customer comes in [looking at the EV] and says range and range only is the primary concern, we can say that we have a different vehicle for you in the mild hybrid."
COMPARED Which is best - hybrid or electric?
The hybrid will come equipped with a 2.0-litre version of Mazda’s older generation SkyActiv G that helps to create a combined output of 114kW and 200Nm when combined with Mazda’s M Hybrid system.
It’s good for a claimed 6.4L/100km combined fuel economy return – though the CX-30 can return a very similar 6.5L/100km when asked.
So where’s the long-rumoured rotary assistance engine?
"It’s something we would like to see here,” confessed Doak, adding “it’s something that hasn't been signed off."
"2022 is the target,” added Bhini. “Every time we get on a plane, we're like 'Pick me, pick me!’
“It supplies another option choice, and a unique choice for Mazda.”
On the inside, the CX-30 features sustainable cork elements as a nod to Mazda's history.
Synthetic leathers that use water rather than chemical solvents in the tanning process are also used, along with recycled PET plastic bottles for the upper door trims.
The floating design centre console is also a new direction for Mazda.
A new 7.0-inch touchscreen display sits on the central console and adapts its display to suit the temperature and time of day. The climate control system (including air-conditioning and seat heating) is controlled via this screen.
An 8.8-inch widescreen central display, as seen in the Mazda CX-30, acts as an information centre, while a 7.0-inch TFT LCD meter panel sits in the instrument panel.
The MX-30 M Hybrid will arrive in the first half of 2021, with the MX-30 Electric on-sale in the middle of the year.