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first drive Mazda finally enters the EV market by introducing a few lucky motor journalists to this fully-electric SUV - the MX-30

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The new Mazda MX-30

The new Mazda MX-30

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The new Mazda MX-30

The MX-30 was announced at last October’s Tokyo Motor Show and won’t be available to buy in Ireland until next February but SundayWorld.com got a sneak peek yesterday morning.

We even got to take it for a spin to experience some of their features first-hand as well as see if the reality lives up to the hype.

Starting at €32,295 (after all grants) for the Irish market, the Mazda MX-30 First Edition is loaded with special features and boasts sustainable materials such as cork, in homage to the companies 100 year anniversary.

What I love about this car right off the bat is the fact that Mazda has not tried to wedge in as many batteries as they can or to ramp up to Kw output. This would obviously add range but would also come at a higher cost and (in some cases) slower charge time.

With this they created a stylish and versatile crossover featuring an AC synchronous electric motor and a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers a range of approximately 200km and comes with AC charging up to 6.6Kw and DC rapid charging designed to meet 125A Combo Charging standards.

In layman’s terms…they built the battery, agreed on the range and then designed the car around it.

There are cars with a better range out there but they are either smaller city cars or way more expensive to purchase. The MX-30 enters a new area of the market; an area I didn’t think we needed but the more I think of it the more sure I am that this could well be a much bigger seller than Mazda anticipates when it finally lands into showrooms next February.

Let’s be clear about one important thing…this model is Mazda’s first all-electric production vehicle and part of an electrification strategy that has already seen Mazda M Hybrid, mild hybrid fitted as standard to the Mazda2, Mazda3 and Mazda CX-30. So they haven’t exactly rushed it. But by biding their time they hope to have created something that will change the way people approach the purchase process for an EV.

Thankfully for a lot of potential car buyers out there who would avoid some of the more ‘futuristic’ car designs in a lot of today’s EVs, Mazda has simply continued with the clever and slick design plan that they have used for their most recent additions to the fleet.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the lack of a grille you could be forgiven for thinking this was the next model in their already impressive SUV range.

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Design wise, standard equipment includes Adaptive LED signature headlights, 18” alloy wheels, 8-way electric adjustable drivers’ seat, windscreen projecting head-up display, a colour 7-inch TFT dial display, a leather wrapped steering wheel and chrome trim accents.

As you’d expect the MX-30 First Edition comes with Mazda Connect, navigation, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the technology tally also includes Mazda Radar Cruise control and a driver’s knee airbag.

So what about the interior? The lower console incorporates a 7-inch colour touch-screen air conditioning control panel, and in a nod to Mazda’s founding as the Toyo Kogyo Cork Company in 1920, the Mazda MX-30 features cork lined centre console trays and inner side door handles. Don’t be alarmed…these are delicious and creative and fun and practical and VERY tactile.

The three-tone design further marks out the MX-30’s unique styling with a brilliant black roof and metallic grey upper side panels to contrast the Soul Red Crystal or Ceramic Metallic main body colour. Inside, the First Edition features a light and modern cabin ambiance with light grey cloth and stone leatherette combined with a delicate-yet-lovely orange seat stitching.

And the drive? I loved it. It is as silent as a regular EV when parking or tiptoeing along but as soon as you apply some pressure to the accelerator there is a soft artificial engine sound pumped into the cabin that convinces you that you are driving an ICE car.

It is a smooth and competent drive and the front row seats are extremely comfortable. While you don’t have the extreme perch of some SUVs you feel you are higher off the ground than city and compact cars.

The second row is slightly smaller than some of the SUVs that will inevitably be compared to this, but none of them are EVs so keep that in mind. And absolutely none of them allow you access to the back seats via a pair of lovely 80-degree freestyle doors (aka suicide doors).

The use of sustainable materials all over the car isn’t done in a smug way either. The felt and cork materials are used sparingly in a slick way that isn’t in your face while at the same time gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside that you are further helping the environment.

Staying true to the company’s ‘Jinbai Ittai – car and driver as one’ ethos (yes that’s a thing), the Mazda MX-30 has been designed to deliver the intuitive responses, natural feedback and involving handling you’d expect of a Mazda.

Electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus) enhances chassis performance by using motor torque to optimise the front-rear load shift for improved stability and the MX-30’s Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture is specifically tailored to compliment the smooth power delivery of the e-Skyactiv drivetrain.

The dynamic focus also extends to a throttle pedal that delivers a seamless transition between linier power delivery and smooth regeneration on lift off, equally, the braking system offers a seamless transfer between energy regeneration and hydraulic brake action.

You should also know (if you are new to the EV market) that customers ordering a Mazda MX-30 First Edition will also qualify for the €600 wall box home charger SEAI grant, while the car is equipped with both a Type 2 mode 2 charge cable for 3-pin plug charging and a Type 2 mode 3 charge cable for AC charging via home or public charge points.

Additionally, the DC socket allows for rapid charging up to 50Kw. In this charge mode a charging time of 30 to 40 minutes can deliver up to 80 per cent battery charge.

Commenting at the launch, Managing Director of Mazda Motors Ireland, John Perry, told SundayWorld.com: “the Mazda MX-30 will offer a unique proposition to the electric vehicle market. The battery size was strategically chosen to allow for sharp, yet comfortable driving dynamics while staying true to overall CO2 minimisation. This will be one of the most stylish electric vehicles to come out in 2021 and will certainly cater to those who enjoy driving. I’m confident customers will be thrilled.”

A gorgeous looking, fully-electric, 5-seater SUV at an affordable price with a decent range? I think Mazda may have cracked it.

IG: @Daragh_Keany

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