A unique looking addition to the Mazda line-up, the Mazda MX-30 was developed under the ‘Human Modern’ concept. While it retains the beautiful handcrafted forms of Kodo design, the styling of the Mazda MX-30 is an exploration of a more expressive design direction which focuses on emerging new values and lifestyles.
Proudly wearing the MX badge made most famous by the MX-5, a look back though Mazda's history reveals that the MX name actually pre-dates the world's best-selling roadster and has in fact been used more than a dozen times across a broad spread of production, concept and racing Mazdas. These vehicles share the MX prefix because they have all taken on the challenge to create and deliver new values without being confined by convention, regardless of vehicle type. When it was revealed in 1989 the MX-5 was exactly this kind of car - as the automotive industry moved away from the affordable sports car - Mazda defied convention to create a perfect modern reinterpretation of the classic rear-wheel drive roadster.
Revealed in 1981, the first Mazda to wear the MX badge was the MX-81 concept car. This futuristic wedge-shaped hatchback was created by Italian styling house Bertone and its high-mounted tail lights and pop-up headlamps were to appear in future Mazda models. Unique features of the 1983 MX-02 concept included rear wheel steering and a windscreen head-up display, whilst the 1985 MX-03 concept went several steps further with an aircraft-style yoke rather than a wheel, digital displays, four-wheel steering, plus all-wheel drive and a triple rotor 315PS engine.
First seen at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show, the rotary engined MX-04 boasted two sets of removable fibreglass body panels, allowing owners to choose between a glass dome-roofed coupe or a beach buggy-style open sided roadster. Just two years later, the MX-5 arrived. The next cars to wear the MX badge were production models: the 1992 MX-3 coupe hatchback sported the world's smallest V6 engine, while the larger MX-6 offered big coupe style for family saloon money.
The banning of rotary powered cars after the Mazda 787B took victory in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours spawned he most radical car to wear the MX badge in the 1990s - the MXR-01 prototype race car, of which just five examples were built. Sadly, the 1992 collapse of the World Sportscar Championship for which it was built denied the MXR-01 the chance of success, and spelt the end of Mazda's world level motorsport programme.
The 2001 MX-Sport Tourer was a radical concept with freestyle doors, and the 2004 MX-Flexa concept introduced the world to the sliding doors of the Mazda5 production car. The 2002 MX-Sport Runabout and 2003 MX-Sportif concepts previewed the second-generation Mazda2 and new Mazda3 respectively, while the 2004 MX-MicroSport was a US-focused hatchback concept and the 2005 MX-Crossport concept paved the way for a lineage of award-winning SUVs that lead to today's CX-5 and CX-30.
Now, the MX-30 joins this SUV line-up and it's appropriate that the MX name returns to a production model, as Mazda's first production EV is a car that represents a new chapter in Mazda's history – a car that creates and delivers new values without being confined by convention.
That’s certainly the case with the styling, which combines thoroughly modern flair with an impression of strength and elegance appropriate to an SUV. Concerted effort went into creating the latest expression of Kodo design - a pure look of solidity that reflects the beauty of shaving away all unnecessary elements. The natural presence of space within this strong, simple, yet meticulously crafted form establishes the exterior’s ‘Human Modern’ credentials.
The frontal design serves as the starting point for generating the MX-30’s image as a solid mass which combines simplicity, strength and familiarity with dynamic vitality. Mazda has done away with the signature wing used on other products in its model line-up. Though the wing's residual presence is still felt, all reflections and elements now converge on the central Mazda badge, which becomes the highlight feature of the front design. Breaking new ground for Kodo design, this powerful new front grille styling combines with the deeply sculpted form around the headlamps to realise a front design which, though new, still exudes Mazda’s characteristic vitality.
The image of a strong, solid mass travels along the sides of the body as a consistent, extremely simple, large surface. Though they appear flat, the body side surfaces are in fact formed with a bold curve in them that continues from the front end to the shoulder highlights. To add energy and movement to these simple forms, the A-pillars stand boldly upright to punctuate the flow with an effective 'Charge and Release' expression, while the C-pillars sweep down at a sharp angle to seamlessly blend the roof and cabin with the solid body mass at the rear. The side of the tailgate being finished in a metallic paint colour distinct from the main body, emphasises both the cabin’s streamlined look and its integration with the rear of the vehicle. All cars feature the Mazda name in a high-class Silver Metallic strip across the bottom of the C-Pillars.
On Sport Lux and GT Sport Tech models, to give the MX-30 a unique three-tone look, there’s the option to go for Ceramic Metallic and Soul Red Crystal Metallic with a Brilliant Black roof and Dark Grey Metallic side panels. There’s also the option to have Polymetal Grey Metallic with Brilliant Black roof and Silver Metallic side panels. Alternatively, across all models customers can choose between five standard single-tone body colours as a finish for the entire exterior: Polymetal Grey Metallic, Machine Grey Metallic, Arctic White, Ceramic Metallic and Jet Black Mica.
Across all three models in the MX-30 range, Mazda’s EV features the same cylindrical headlamp design used on all Mazda’s new-generation cars combining depth with distinctiveness. To highlight the three-dimensionality of the rear combination lamps, the outer lenses adopt a design that follows the shape of the lamp housings. The SE-L Lux and Sport Lux feature LED headlights, running lights and taillights, while the GT Sport Tech has Adaptive Signature LED headlights and Signature LED taillights.
Other subtle styling features unique to the Sport Lux and GT Sport Tech include 18-inch Bright Metallic alloy wheels (SE-L Lux cars have 18-inch Silver Metallic wheels), rear privacy glass and Piano Black window trim.
One of the MX-30’s standout design features is its pillar-less freestyle doors. A feature seen on the Mazda RX-8 sports car; the freestyle door set up on the MX-30 is carefully designed to facilitate smooth, effortless exit from the cabin as well as being a stand-out style feature that emphasises the open and airy nature of the stylish cabin.
To read the thoughts of Mazda Europe Design Director, Jo Stenuit on the MX-30’s design click here: https://www.insidemazda.co.uk/2020/11/27/the-evolution-of-design-at-mazda-an-interview-with-jo-stenuit-mazda-motor-europe-design-director/
To read about the history of MX models please click here: https://www.insidemazda.co.uk/2020/05/14/mazda-at-100-history-of-the-mx-models/