Mazda’s new electric crossover may be just what the EV market needs.
In Tokyo this month, Mazda unveiled the new MX-30 all-electric crossover. This is Mazda’s first mainstream electric vehicle and the company is wisely adopting a formula that many buyers will find attractive. In the decade since EVs returned to the modern automotive world, shoppers have been grabbing up crossovers of all shapes and sizes. The new MX-30 seems to hit the sweet spot in the market.
Although Americans have migrated to crossovers in droves, and although electric vehicles are a hot topic, EV crossovers had a slow start. Sure the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt have a crossover-ish shape to them, but to many shoppers’ eyes, they appear to be compact cars. Like Hyundai’s new Kona EV, the new MX-30 from Mazda has the distinctive shape and approximate size of the crossover vehicles that are taking over the family car market.
With a length of 173 inches and a width of 71 inches, the new MX-30 is about six inches shorter than the Mazda CX-5 and about two inches narrower. As you can see from the images, its shape is the same as the top-selling RAV4, CR-V, and Mazda’s own CX-5. “In any era, Mazda wants people to experience exuberant moments in life through cars,” said Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO at the show. “We will continue striving to deliver creative products and technologies so our customers will love and hold onto their Mazda for a long time.”
One very interesting aspect of the MX-30 is that its “skateboard” platform designed around the battery pack allowed the engineers the rigidity they needed to make the rear doors hinge from the rear. This is an interesting feature and shows that when designers are given an EV assignment, the opportunity for some novel ideas can emerge. Note the black-colored door latch along the bottom of the door sill. That’s where the rear doors will be secured for side-impact safety.
The first MX-30 will be designed around the European duty cycle. The battery pack is 35.5 kWh. That will translate to about 125 miles of nominal range on a charge. However, we spot room in the battery area for more cells to be squeezed in. We suspect that the MX-30 will also be offered in a longer-range version. We expect the first MX-30s to be front-wheel drive, but we would not be surprised if the design was engineered for an all-wheel drive version as well. It would also be no surprise if the MX-30 is in fact just the first of a few electric crossover models Mazda could produce with the same basic platform. No automaker creates a platform for a single model anymore.
Automakers know that EV buyers are environmentally conscious. To serve that market, the inside of MX-30 has some novel material choices. The beige trim you see is cork. Cork is harvested from living trees and is considered a sustainable wood. It also has a nice feel and is not slippery. The seats are made from recycled PET plastic. That material is commonly used for plastic milk bottles.
The MX-30 will likely come to the U.S. in the 2021 model year. Watch for more announcements in the spring with updated specifications and a well-defined timeline.