New Mazda MX-30 R-EV plug-in hybrid revealed

Mazda has unveiled a ‘range extender’ plug-in hybrid version of its small MX-30 electric SUV

  • PHEV setup utilises small rotary engine
  • Pure-electric range of 53 miles
  • Edition R on sale now from £37,950

Mazda has unveiled an all-new plug-in hybrid version of its MX-30 SUV, allowing owners to travel much further than they would in the standard EV model. Dubbed the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, this new hybrid will be sold alongside its fully electric sibling and will utilise a novel rotary petrol engine.

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The Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is available to order now in special Edition R specification; limited to just 400 units nationwide, this fully-loaded model is priced at £37,950. Less-expensive, Prime Line, Exclusive Line and Makoto models are confirmed to be coming later in 2023, with prices confirmed to start from £31,250. In a strange move by Mazda, the fully-electric MX-30’s pricing will be adjusted to match that like-for-like of the plug-in hybrid, in order to give customers “ease of choice”.

As previously mentioned, the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is fitted with a rotary engine; also known as a ‘wankel’ engine, these are famed for their compact size and high power output, but issues with reliability and fuel efficiency have held back rotary powertrains from gaining mainstream appeal. 

The return of the rotary engine has long been teased by Mazda, and it’s also possible the popular RX-7 sports car could make a comeback with some form of rotary power, based on the Mazda Vision Study Model concept car.

Regardless, the MX-30’s rotary engine will be paired with a 17.3kWh battery to provide a total driving range of 373 miles on a single tank of petrol and a full charge. This ‘range extender’ setup provides significantly more range than the electric MX-30 which has a larger 35.5 kWh battery and needs charging after just 124 miles – significantly behind that of rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa Electric.

Like most plug-in hybrids, the e-Skyactiv R-EV can travel short distances on electric power alone; with a pure-electric range of 53 miles, so the hybrid MX-30 will enable buyers to cover short commutes without using a drop of fuel. With charging speeds of up to 36kW DC, a full top-up of the battery will take 25 minutes at a public rapid charger, or 90 minutes at a 7kW home wallbox.

Combined, the rotary engine and electric motor provide an output of 168bhp and 260Nm of torque, enabling the MX-30 PHEV to get from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds – slightly faster than its full-electric counterpart. However, like the electric MX-30, we expect the e-Skyactiv R-EV to remain fun to drive, despite a small gain in weight.

Visually, there won’t be much to differentiate both the PHEV and the EV MX-30 models. The e-Skyactiv R-EV will get model-specific ‘rotary’ badging on the front wings as well as a set of aerodynamic alloy wheels. Limited-run Edition R models can be identified by their Maroon Rouge paintwork and embossed leather seats. Otherwise, the rest of the car is mostly unchanged, bar a slightly smaller boot in order to fit a fuel tank.

Looking for an inexpensive way into the world of EVs? Check out our list of the top 10 cheapest electric cars

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