The new MX-30 is Mazda's first production EV. Yet that's not even the most interesting thing about the tall hatchback crossover, which officially made its debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday.
For starters, there's the design. The front fascia shows a clear, yet evolutionary link to Mazda's other crossover SUVs -- namely the CX-5. But look at it from the profile, and the fast roofline lends itself to a slightly more sporty nature. Two small suicide doors give passengers access to the rear seats, which is a nice nod to this unusual four-door configuration last seen on the Mazda RX-8 sports car.
Inside, the gauge cluster and dashboard have a simple design, not unlike that of the new Mazda3. The MX-30 gets a 7-inch touchscreen below the dash, which is where the climate controls are found. It lives on a floating console with storage space underneath, which also houses the electronic gear shifter and control knob for the infotainment screen atop the dash.
Speaking of the center console, it's largely made of cork. Mazda says cork "is a naturally derived product with low environmental impact," lending to the overall nature-friendly theme of this electric vehicle. Mazda notes this is also a throwback to the automaker's original 1920 founding as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Company.
Most of the interior is lined in soft fabric that's actually made from recycled bottles. Two passengers can sit comfortably up front, with three rear seats accessible via the rear-hinged side doors (which Mazda calls "freestyle doors"). The automaker says the front doors can open 82 degrees, while the rear doors open to 80 degrees, making it easier to get in and out of the MX-30. The removal of a B-pillar makes it easier for folks to climb in and out of the back, too. Behind those seats, Mazda says the MX-30 can accommodate four carry-on suitcases.
The MX-30 is powered by a 35.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Unfortunately, output numbers -- as well as an estimated electric driving range -- are not available as of this writing. The usual Level 1 and Level 2 charging options are available, as well as a combination-spec DC fast-charger.
The MX-30's e-Skyactiv powertrain allows for regenerative braking, with fore-aft G-force control for more natural body movements. (Very Mazda.) The company's G-Vectoring Control is also on hand to help manage side-to-side motions and keep body roll in check. Combined with Mazda's hallmark steering feel, the MX-30 ought to be pretty entertaining to drive -- with lots of torque on tap for off-the-line acceleration.
That said, Mazda appears to have unfortunately fitted the MX-30 with fake powertrain noise. According to the company's statement, "Mazda's e-Skyactiv provides aural feedback to the driver that enables him or her to subconsciously recognize the torque status of the power unit and thus control vehicle speed with greater precision. For example, when people hear the sound of a river flowing, they can imagine the amount of water and speed at which it is flowing based solely on the sound frequency and sound pressure. Mazda takes advantage of this human characteristic by actively controlling the sound through the audio system in a way that sounds natural and pleasing to the driver's ears." We'll be the judge of that.
Every MX-30 will come with Mazda's i-Activsense safety suite, which includes lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, nighttime and bicycle detection. The latter can also prevent collisions while turning left at an intersection (on left-hand-drive vehicles, anyway).
The MX-30 will go on sale in Europe first, but is likely destined for other markets, as well.
We're big fans of the new MX-30. With its unique design and interior layout, and its focus on sustainable materials inside, Mazda's certainly doing a lot to set itself apart from every other compact EV on sale today. If it's priced right, drives well and if it has decent range, this thing could be a real winner.