Meet the Mazda MX-30, a battery-electric compact crossover SUV designed for the city and due to hit the market in 2020.
The vehicle was unveiled on Wednesday at the Tokyo Motor Show as a new addition to the Mazda lineup, though it's closely related to the CX-30 crossover. A flat battery sits in the floor and powers an electric motor at the front axle, rated at 141 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
The MX-30 only has a 35.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, which Mazda said will deliver 130 miles of range. That's low but Mazda said by going with a smaller battery the MX-30's emissions over the lifecycle, i.e. including production, should be lower than an EV with a bigger battery and lower than even a gas-powered compact like the Mazda 3. The smaller battery should also help keep the price down.
For longer drives, there will be an extended-range version where the range extender will be a small rotary engine. The extended-range version is expected to make an appearance in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Interestingly, Mazda has developed the MX-30 to perform much like a conventional car. Instead of instant torque, power is delivered gradually. Regenerative braking is also mild, meaning no 1-pedal driving, and piped-in sounds get louder as the vehicle accelerates to mimic the building of engine revs. Mazda may allow drivers to disable this last feature, since many EV buyers appreciate the lack of engine noise.
The MX-30 may only have a single door handle on each side but there are four doors in total. You need to open up the front doors to access the handles for the rear doors which open rearward—the same design was used on the Mazda RX-8.
Inside the cabin, you'll find a digital instrument cluster and an infotainment screen. A third screen sits at the bottom of the center stack for controlling many of the vehicle functions. In line with the vehicle's sustainability themes, you won't find any leather here, and accents like the door grips and center console storage area are made from cork left over from the wine industry.
While the MX-30 will start sales next year, availability in the United States is yet to be confirmed, though a launch here sometime in 2021 is expected. Mazda is also planning to add further EVs, some of which will be developed with Toyota.
For more Tokyo Motor Show news, head to our dedicated hub.