Mazda jolts into electric life. We take a helicopter view.
Mazda think differently. They once took a rotary engine to Le Mans and won the race. They reinvented the small British sports car, firmly trouncing anything wearing an octagonal badge or hailing from Hethel. They made a sporting car, placing that high pitched, wailing engine into bodywork with funny rear doors – discussed almost as often as the rotary – and sold respectable amounts.
Today, toeing the line is in order; bigger, taller vehicles from the Hiroshima based manufacturer (but styled in Germany) have taken a tangent by listening, studying and evaluating what (some) folk aspire to. One cannot see the competition breaking sweat over this Mazda eXperiment-30 but for those who switch on more, an opportunity to chose differently.
Where ones derrière resides, along with the detritus a young family can generate, lie all the safety kit and expected modern connections. Our concerns lay deeper – the underfloor batteries, stacked in the modular style, thin cooling fluid layers and just 35.5 kWh which is considerably lower in both size and output any other current manufacturer crows loudly about.
As the MX-30 is based upon the CX-30 platform, there’s literally no room at the inn for more batteries. This of course reduces the bulk to a svelte 1645Kg; featherweight to an EQC or e-Tron. Car journalists will hardly be salivating over the spirited handling, though Mazda engineers have equalled the front-rear balance which must count for something?
Guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles, with a 50Kw cable you get fast battery charging – 36 minutes from 20 to 80% charge ok? Enough for the parents to enjoy a coffee, children’s ablutions and dig about for the miniature Peppa Pig that’s in the back, somewhere… The charging kit brought to you by New Motion, a part of Shell. Well, if the fossil fuels are running out…
Mazda Europe design director Jo Stenuit has (been told to?) kept the Kodo design with added Jinba Ittai and plenty of reinforcement in those doors that Mazda name freestyle. This may allude to bodily contortions necessary for in or egress, or simply where you lob your designer shopping bags.
Side on views reveal the C-pillar (with added Mazda name) retracts at angles more suitable to those of diminutive dimensions, the press categorically in unison at how little wriggle room there is, aft. When open, those freestyle doors posses a character and provide a conversation point, if little else. On screen/ paper, to these eyes their quirky charm appeals but out in the big nasty world, will they be useful or useless? Time will tell but at least the rear door handle is more than hidden – totally omitted as they can only be opened from within, silly.
Back inside and we find eco-materials, a pleasant floating console, some traditional looking instruments with only the lower of the two screens operated by touch. One has to guess the fitted sound system will be just fine and dandy connected to Apple car play but the acoustic boffins have supplanted an old fashioned internal combustion engine sound (though from what old jalopy I could not ascertain) that only the occupants can hear.
Again, the (some) press believe this sound discreet, heightening your sense of vehicle speed without constantly checking dials. Gimmick? Ghastly? Gorden, are you listening? Without a chance to experience the sound first hand (ear?) I must reserve judgment.
Other items for your digestion being the 143bhp and 200 foot pounds on tap but a definite top whack set at thirteen short of the ton; practically twenty above the U.K. speed limit but will such limitations assist in saving juice? Range anxiety raises its ugly three pin plug face, au natural, once more. Mazda state the battery will propel you for 124 miles before discharging which should cover your weekly shop and trips to the park for the swings and feed the ducks before heading over to the in-laws for an end of driveway conflabration in our still-Covid world, no?
And recharging for mere pennies. The real world where low temperatures, hilly terrain, loads of shopping/kids and plain forgetfulness will reduce that significantly. “I ask you to do one job, plug the car in…now we can’t go to IKEA for Joseph’s bedside lamp!” In our everyday electrical world, we are all guilty of plugging in, just in case meaning the MX-30 will be chained to that charger. The battery guarantee may ease furrowed brows but will anyone keep this car eight years?
Concluding today’s objective review we must carefully avoid the trip hazard cable by the kerbside and admire the view. The MX-30 won the 2020 Red Dot award for design, making the parents rightly proud. Mazda are brave for offering something left-field but my fears are such boldness will garner nothing more than a polite applause, a grudging smile in the face of wanting more. Why have egg on toast when Eggs Benedict with bottomless coffee is on special offer? Mazda receive my applause for at least trying something different. Just don’t expect to see many actually unplugged from that damned cable.