Groundbreaking Mazda arriving next year
Mazda's intriguing MX-30 crossover will hit local showrooms in the first half of 2021 with a choice of petrol or electric propulsion.
The eye-catching compact SUV is set to be pitched as a premium model for trendy urban motorists with a social conscience. Mazda says it is too early to discuss prices or specifications for the car, which costs more than a similar-sized Mazda3 or CX-30 overseas.
Wearing the "Mazda Experimental" name originally introduced for the MX-5 roaster, the new MX-30 will be a halo model of sorts for the brand, with eye catching design and its most comprehensive safety suite.
While the Mazda3 or CX-30 are available with supercharged "Skyactiv-X" engines capable of high-compression running without needing spark plugs to ignite fuel, the petrol MX-30 makes do with the same fundamental engine as the cheapest Mazda3.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 114kW and 200Nm has "mild hybrid" functionality, according to Mazda, but picky customers might see through 6.4L/100km claimed fuel economy that uses 80 per cent more fuel than a Toyota Corolla Hybrid.
Mazda expects the majority of customers to choose the petrol version, though some may hold out for a dedicated electric model due mid-year.
Powered by a 107kW/271Nm electric motor driving the front wheels, the EV is fuelled by a 35.5kWh battery with a claimed 224km of driving range. That's less than small electric cars such as the Mini Electric, Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Kona, which is why Mazda marketing director Alastair Doak says "it's very much an urban-based car".
Families are unlikely to gravitate toward the MX-30, which has a coupe-like fastback roof and pillarless "freestyle doors" similar to the BMW i3 hatch or long-discontinued Mazda RX-8 sports car. The front doors must open before rear passengers can enter or exit the vehicle, making it tricky on the school run.
While it's not as practical as conventional models, the MX-30 has eye-catching looks inside and out. The cabin features imitation leather, sustainable cork and recycled plastic in place of conventional materials. New touchscreen controls for the airconditioning join updated driver aids in a cabin set to feel familiar to loyal customers.
The brand doesn't expect to sell significant numbers of the MX-30.
Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi, says it will attract customers looking "something different, something that's unique, to add to their experience".
"This is a very focused offering," he says.
"If anyone is thinking this is a mainstream offering - a car that is everything to everybody, you've got the wrong lens on."
Originally published as Groundbreaking Mazda arriving next year