On Wednesday, Mazda confirmed that it will bring its new battery-electric vehicle to the US later in 2021. It’s called the MX-30, and it’s an attractive compact crossover that has been on sale in Europe for a few months already. It’s the first full EV to join the Mazda lineup. The MX-30 will be joined in time by a series hybrid version that uses a rotary engine as a range extender, as well as a new plug-in hybrid for an as-yet-unseen larger vehicle, plus a US-made hybrid crossover.
The MX-30’s technical specs probably won’t win any bench races. There’s a 107 kW (144 hp), 271 Nm (200 lb-ft) electric motor that drives the front axle, and a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that has a 124-mile (200 km) range under the generous WLTP testing format. And DC fast charging tops out at a maximum of 50 kW, which equates to a 36-minute pitstop to get back to 80 percent state of charge on road trips.
But we’re expecting it to drive like a peach, as it shares the same Skyactiv Vehicle architecture as the CX-30 crossover and Mazda 3 sedan and hatchbacks, all of which are a joy from behind the wheel.
That potentially limited appeal might not be much of a problem, though; as far as we can tell, Mazda is only planning to offer the MX-30 BEV in California for now. Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s arrival in showrooms this fall, but if European pricing is anything to go by, we expect an MSRP around $30,000 before any tax credits or incentives, so it should be one of the cheapest new BEVs on sale.
The return of a rotary engine to a Mazda will probably give the MX-30 wider curb appeal, since adding more range will just require topping up the gas tank. “The rotary generator will mark the return of our unique rotary powertrain. This technology is being engineered for nearly silent operation and will replenish the battery rather than drive the wheels. As a result, the MX-30 will always drive like the engaging EV that it is, but with freedom to charge from the wall or on the go,” said Jeff Guyton, president of Mazda’s North American operations.
Listing image by Mazda