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Mazda MX-30 EV confirmed for Australia in 2021

Electric and mild-hybrid Mazda MX-30 variants to hit Australian showrooms in 2021

11 Dec 2020

MAZDA has confirmed it will bring the MX-30 electric small SUV to Australia next year, along with a petrol-powered mild hybrid variant for those who like the looks but are not yet ready or able to commit to all-electric motoring.


GoAuto understands the launch will take place earlier rather than later in 2021 as Mazda Australia was well advanced in gaining government approval for import of the MX-30 back in October and official photography accompanying the announcement shows the new model on Melbourne streets.


Mazda says petrol mild-hybrid versions of the MX-30 will arrive in the first half of 2021, with versions debuting the brand’s first battery-electric drivetrain set to be rolled out mid-year.


Apart from drivetrain details, specification and pricing remain undisclosed for now, although the RX-8 coupe-referencing reverse-hinged rear doors and unique interior finishes are likely to attract a premium over the similar-sized but more conventionally styled CX-30 compact crossover that tops out at $46,490 plus on-road costs.


Electric versions are likely to be priced even higher still and could go toe-to-toe with the Mini Electric Cooper SE hatch that costs $59,900 driveaway in Launch Edition form and has a similar circa-220km battery range as the Mazda.


Premium features unique to the MX-30 include a 7.0-inch touchscreen panel for climate control and seat heating functions sit atop a floating upper centre console tier, plus the use of sustainable cabin materials such as cork centre console and door grip surfacing that is extracted without felling trees, vegan leatherette upholstery produced with water rather than solvents, door trims made from recycled bottles and recycled thread in some of the seat stitching.


Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi described the MX-30 as “combining modern design and sustainable, tactile interior materials”.


In contrast to the hi-tech Skyactiv-X mild hybrid petrol engines that can use both spark and compression ignition added to the Mazda3 small hatch and sedan as well as the CX-30 in July, the combustion-powered MX-30 surprisingly makes do with a more conventional spark ignition Skyactiv-G engine.


This borrows the belt-driven ‘M Hybrid’ 24-volt starter generator from Skyactiv-X models, which cannot drive the wheels but enables greater energy recovery from regenerative braking than Mazda’s existing i-Stop system while also enabling the engine to shut down before the vehicle comes to a stop and restart it again more smoothly than a conventional starter motor.


Like the Skyactiv-X, the MX-30’s engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder. Its outputs are 114kW of power and 200Nm of torque compared with the more advanced Skyactiv-X that pushes out 132kW and 224Nm.


Mazda claims the petrol MX-30 will achieve combined-cycle fuel consumption of 6.4 litres per 100km, while a CX-30 with the Skyactiv-X drivetrain is officially rated at 6.0L/100km.


Electric ‘e-Skyactiv’ MX-30 variants are more powerful, with the high-voltage drive motor sending 107kW and 271Nm to the front wheels to help overcome the extra weight of a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is claimed to deliver a 224km range on the New European Driving Cycle combined cycle.


This range falls well short the 449km range of a Hyundai Kona Electric (64kWh battery) with which the MX-30 will share a segment, but Mazda argues that its smaller battery “was carefully considered to fit the inner-urban lifestyle of the target market, while minimising CO2 emissions throughout its lifecycle, from resource extraction through to battery disposal”.


Like the Kona Electric – priced from $59,990 plus on-road costs – the MX-30 stows its battery pack below the floor, with the electric motor, inverter and control electronics located under the bonnet. Mazda says it has integrated these modules “into a single high-voltage unit”.


According to overseas reports, the electric MX-30 takes around 40 minutes to go from empty to 80 per cent charge using a 50kW DC fast charger or five hours using a 7kW wallbox AC charger.


Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak confirmed that a third variant – an EV supplemented by a rotary-powered range extender – would follow around 2022, which should approximately double the EV’s driving range.


“It’s definitely happening,” he said. “They’ve confirmed it will be into production in the first half of 2022, and we’re not being shy about seeing if that’s something we can add to the MX-30 range in Australia.”


When asked about potential customer range anxiety for the EV, Mr Doak said that it was not a concern for Mazda, and that those who may be worried about such problems would likely not consider the MX-30 in the first place.


On the styling front, the MX-30 takes a sizeable step away from the current Mazda design language with designers saying they “pushed the boundaries of Kodo design further than ever before”.


Targeted at “young, metro and forward-thinking” buyers, the MX-30 features plenty of bold contour lines, especially on its front and rear fascias while the body itself has been designed to exude a certain amount of chunkiness, complemented nicely by the short rear overhangs and high window line.


A sloping roofline with bulbous, contrasting C-pillars add an athletic touch while RX-8-inspired ‘Freestyle’ rear doors add an extra element of drama to the equation.


Mr Doak said the styling of the MX-30 would help differentiate it against the rest of the compact SUV segment, providing an additional point of difference on top of the powertrain.


“I think we’ve been consistent over the years, we’ve always said that over time, the SUV segment will continue to fragment and there’ll be more desire to stand out from the crowd and look a bit different than the traditional wagon-shape SUV, and I think for us MX-30 gives us that opportunity,” he said.


He added that the brand was not expecting big sales numbers for the MX-30 with its design and powertrain painting it as a niche vehicle.


“Obviously we have internal targets but we said the other day and we still haven’t told everybody, we’re still putting the finer point on the plan, but it is a niche product, no question about that,” he said.


“Just from a design point of view as much as anything else, it’s an open-base, high-style vehicle and they tend to sell in relatively small numbers, and that will be very much where MX-30 is.”


MX-30 buyer demographics are expected to be highly educated, environmentally conscious and predominantly without children.


Three-tone paint finishes will be available to further differentiate the MX-30, with Soul Red Crystal, Polymetal Grey and Ceramic Metallic having the option of a contrasting black roof and metallic upper bodywork.


In addition, Machine Grey, Polymetal Grey, Ceramic Metallic, Jet Black and Arctic White will be offered for single-colour bodywork.


The MX-30 has already attained a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test safety rating and will come standard with a full suite of active safety and driver aid technologies.


The latest Mazda Connect media system will also be standard, accessed via a wide format 8.8-inch dash-top touchscreen. The instrument cluster will also feature a 7.0-inch digital display.


“While furthering our ‘well to wheel’ emissions reduction strategy, the MX-30 remains a Mazda at heart: it is poised, agile and fun to drive with exceptional handling,” said Mr Bhindi.

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