Mazda sporty EV crossover MX-30 debuts in Tokyo

Mazda Motor Corporation has unveiled its first mass-production electric vehicle, named Mazda MX-30, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. A new addition to Mazda’s car lineup, the MX-30 is the automaker’s third new-generation model. Aiming to offer an experience that lets customers relax and be themselves and deepens the bond between car and owner, the model offers a creative time and space that invites new ways of using a vehicle.

Mazda’s first fully electric offering is here, in the form of the MX-30. From the outside, it looks like a reasonably sporty two-door crossover, but the MX-30 boasts one of the coolest features from yesteryear’s RX-8 sports car – small suicide rear doors. That endows the small MX-30 with decent- ingress-egress capability for the second row, but we’re getting a bit distracted from the really big news here.

That news is obviously the electric motivation that underpins something with a Mazda badge for the first time. As for specifics, we aren’t given too much detail just yet, but for European markets, the compact crossover is said to utilize a single electric motor generating 143 horsepower (106 kilowatts), with a 35.5kWh battery offering a range of approximately 210 km. If that sounds a touch on the soft side, you’re not wrong. But Mazda bills the MX-30 as a different kind of EV that focuses on the joy of driving, as well as the relationship between people and cars.

As such, the interior is awash with environmentally friendly materials such as cork for the console tray sourced from trees that aren’t felled. Door trim uses fibers made from recycled plastic. Fabrics are also sourced from recycled materials, and the design itself promotes an open, airy sense, something certainly enhanced by the lack of a B-pillar. A floating console in the center offers tactile controls for forward and reverse, while a 7″ touchscreen incorporated into the front of the console accesses the MX-30’s various climate control and tech systems, including a plethora of safety systems as part of Mazda’s I-Activsense gear.

As for the driving experience, the MX-30’s e-Skyactiv powertrain is said to offer an “outstanding response with smooth dynamic behavior to achieve performance that drivers can enjoy naturally.” To that end, Mazda did draw some parallels to the new crossover and another notable MX-badged runabout in its portfolio, the MX-5. Yes, 143 hp may not sound like much in a crossover saddled with battery weight, but the forever-young Miata is a general hoot to drive, and it doesn’t scorch the pavement with power. To that end, we’re inclined to give Mazda the benefit of the doubt until we have a go behind the wheel, especially with the MX-30’s trick G-vectoring system that uses the powertrain to shift loads and forces from side-to-side.

The automaker's first production EV is light on range, but it gets the RX-8's cool rear doors

That’s where things are similarly murky, however. We’ve been briefed on MX-30 info for the European market, and we’re told pre-orders are available now with deliveries starting next year.