Mazda MX-30 Debuts in Tokyo as the Marque's First Electric Car

EV is going into production first for Europe and other markets.

Mazda has finally unveiled its first electric vehicle at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, and appropriately for the times it's a subcompact SUV. Called the MX-30, the SUV features its own unique exterior design and a cool interior that uses sustainable materials. The MX-30 will be the third vehicle to ride on Mazda's latest platform following the Mazda3 and CX-30. Its exterior footprint, though, is similar to the CX-30, putting it squarely in subcompact SUV territory.

Unlike other Mazda SUVs, the MX-30 has its own unique look. It loses the large corporate grille in favor of a smaller one without openings that connect to the SUV's headlights. The side profile reveals the biggest distinguishing factors on the Mazda MX-30, the raked rear hatch and the suicide doors. At the rear, we see more design cues taken from the Mazda3 hatch and CX-30, including its LED light strips and circular taillights. This time, however, the housings have a striking three-dimensional look. The Mazda MX-30 will also be available in two-tone exterior colors.

The Mazda MX-30's interior is another evolution of the brand's minimalist design language. Traditional climate control buttons have been replaced by a 7.0-inch touchscreen mounted just ahead of the electronic shifter on the floating center console. Mazda's latest infotainment system is also present and retains its knob-based controls. Like most EVs, Mazda touts that the MX-30 uses sustainable materials such as tree bark for the trim and recycled materials for the seat upholstery. The lack of a mechanical shifter also provides more storage space under the center console.

Powering the Mazda MX-30 is an electric motor and a liquid-cooled 35-kWh lithium-ion battery dubbed e-Skyactiv. Unfortunately, no power outputs or range estimates have been given. We have heard rumors that the MX-30 will be available with a range extender, which is expected to be a rotary engine. Mazda says that you can charge the battery using level 1 or 2 chargers as well as combo or CHAdeMO fast chargers.

Mazda's G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC+) system, which uses the engine and brakes to help vehicles handle better, has evolved into e-GVC Plus. This optimizes load shifts from front to rear by managing torque output depending on the driving situation and steering wheel inputs. When taking a corner, e-GVC Plus reduces torque and enables more weight to shift to the front so that the car turns smoothly. It will then start shifting the load back to the rear when the vehicle begins exiting the corner.

On the safety front, Mazda's i-ActivSense suite gets upgraded with three new features. The Turn-Across Traffic feature is intended to help prevent collisions at intersections by monitoring oncoming traffic and applying the brakes automatically if it thinks you don't have a sufficient gap to make the turn. That's great for those just learning to drive and still figuring out how to gauge closing speed and distance, but more experienced drivers might find themselves frequently quoting the great Kimi Raikkonen: "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing." Meanwhile, Road Keep Assist allows the car to stay in its lane even when markings aren't detected by referencing the curb or grass along the edges. Emergency lane keeping expands on blind spot monitoring by adding collision avoidance capability when changing lanes.

Production of the Mazda MX-30 starts early next year, and the all-electric crossover will go on sale in Europe first, as that market has the strictest emissions regulations and thus the biggest push for EVs. Like the Skyactiv-X engine, Mazda hasn't given a time frame for the MX-30's arrival in North America.

This story originally appeared on MotorTrend.