Mazda MX-30 R-EV


Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, front
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, side
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, rear
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, doors
Mazda MX-30 R-EV, 2024, interior

REMEMBER the rotary engine cars? Maybe not...

Well, here's a refresher. Pioneered by German Felix Wankel in the 1930s, his first pistonless engine was installed in an NSU convertible in 1963. The concept was later taken up by Mazda for the RX-7 Coupe back in 1978.

And the last rotary powered production was the racy looking RX-8 Coupe which reached the end of the line in 2012.

But now the revolutionary - in more ways than one - design is back...with a difference. In its latest incarnation the Mazda MX-30 is both rotary engine and a petrol plug-in hybrid, offering a range several times bigger than the pure electric version alongside the recognised smoothness and refinement of the novel design.

Named the MX-30 R-EV, it's unusual in other ways, aside from its power unit.

The first thing you notice is that the two back doors are rear-hinged and there's no central pillar. This means in order to open the back doors you must first undo the front ones.

This can be somewhat tedious and time consuming, but there's no denying the dramatic effect and the look is striking. Back in the Fifties when rear-hinged back doors were fashionable, they became known as ‘suicide doors' for obvious reasons!

Under the bonnet tiny 830cc rotary engine which is coupled to a 17.8kWh battery endows it with a healthy 170bhp. It will run electric only for around 50 miles with a petrol range of another 350 miles.

The salient and lasting driving impression on first acquaintance is the smoothness and silence of travel. Electric and rotary power blend seamlessly. It revs smoothly with an absence of vibration and impressive refinement.

Acceleration is immediate - in typical electrified fashion - though not exactly thrusting, with 62mph coming up in about nine seconds. High marks for economy - we averaged 47mpg over fast cross country running and only slightly less around town.

The cabin is classy and attractively styled with high grade furnishings and lots of soft touch materials and flashes of cork are dotted strategically around - not sure how well this will weather with use however. The ubiquitous touchscreen is somewhat small by today's standards.

Space in the front is more than adequate but there hasn't been a lot of emphasis placed on where to stow oddments and the usual family clutter. Buttons on the steering wheel are somewhat small and tricky to use.

Rear headroom is a tad tight and entry and exit to the back seats might be challenging for elderly passengers. The rear windows are quite shallow and don't open which makes for a claustrophobic ambience.

With 350 litres of boot space, the R-EV has a smaller load area than most rivals but the rear seats fold and split to allow up to 1,355 litres of cargo room and a flat floor.


Mazda MX-30 R-EV Exclusive

Price: £33,440

Mechanical: 830cc, 170bhp rotary petrol hybrid engine with 17.8kWh battery, driving two wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 87mph

0-62mph: 9.1sec

Combined MPG: 282.0

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 21g/km

Bik rating: 8%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles


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