Bermaz Motor, the official distributor of Mazda vehicles in Malaysia, has previewed the MX-30 ahead of a launch set to take place in the fourth quarter of this year. The brand’s first mass-production electric vehicle (EV) made its global debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and was sighted here without disguise last December.

The Japanese carmaker markets the EV powertrain used in the MX-30 as e-Skyactiv, which consists of a 35.5-kWh, 355-volt lithium-ion battery mounted under the vehicle floor that delivers a maximum range of approximately 199 km.

The battery powers an electric motor rated at 145 PS (143 hp or 107 kW) and 271 Nm of torque that drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission (reduction gear). In terms of performance, the MX-30 will take 9.7 seconds to get from 0-100 km/h and has a top speed of 140 km/h.

For charging, the MX-30 comes with an onboard AC charger (Type 2 port) at up to 6.6 kW. Using a wallbox at the maximum rate, it takes five hours for a full charge, while a normal power plug providing 3 kW will take 12 hours. Alternatively, there’s also DC fast charging (CCS2 port), and following the provided spec sheet, getting from a 0-80% state of charge takes 36 minutes with an input of 40 kW. Bermaz Auto, the parent of Bermaz Motor, said it will partner with local charging providers like TotalEnergies to support MX-30 customers.

Measuring in at 4,395 mm long, 1,795 mm wide, 1,570 mm tall, and with a wheelbase spanning 2,655 mm, the MX-30 shares the same SkyActiv-Vehicle Architecture with the CX-30 and nearly the same dimensions too, although the EV crossover is 30 mm taller.

Despite the shared platform, the MX-30 has a more distinctive design compared to the CX-30, with key cues at the front being a recessed honeycomb grille that blends into the round elements of the slim headlamps. Meanwhile, the lower apron is in black and sports a horizontal slat that splits the intake into two, joined by light strips at the corners of bumper that serve as the daytime running lights and indicators.

Along the sides, we find the most unique aspect of the MX-30, its doors. In a throwback to the RX-8, the EV comes with rear suicide doors – the company prefers to call them “freestyle doors” – which are rear-hinged. Like the RX-8, you’ll first need to open the front doors first before you’re able to access the rear ones.

The MX-30 also comes with thick body cladding in the lower portion of its body, along with a coupe-like roofline and the Mazda script set upon a silver plate on the C-pillars. Moving to the rear, the two-piece taillights have large round elements to mimic what’s up front, along with short light bars that intrude into the tailgate.

You’ll also notice the trim above the taillights, which are colour matched to the upper side panels, framing the rear window along with a black rear spoiler. Elsewhere, the black cladding covers a large portion of the rear bumper and integrates the reflectors and rear fog lamp. This particular example sports a tri-colour theme with a Soul Red Crystal primary colour, dark metallic upper side panels and a black roof.

On the inside, there’s a horizontal wide dashboard where the central and passenger-side air vents placed on a single plane. Unlike the CX-30, the driver doesn’t have two dedicated air vents on either side of the instrument binnacle, with the rightmost unit being of a different design as well.

Additionally, the MX-30 has three screens instead of just the two – instrumentation and infotainment – in the CX-30. The third is a seven-inch touchscreen display to control the car’s climate controls, which is another first for the brand, and is located just ahead of the raised, dual-tier centre console. Mazda also uses sustainable materials inside the cabin, including cork as well as “breathing” fabric made from recycled PET bottles for the door cards.

In terms of equipment, we were told the preview car is actually a United Kingdom-spec example and comes with 18-inch alloys, dark grey cloth/ brown leatherette upholstery, a powered driver’s seat, a powered sunroof, automatic air-conditioning, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen and a 12-speaker Bose sound system. As a side note, this being a UK-spec car is the reason why it comes with a CCS2 port for DC fast charging instead of a CHAdeMO port that is found on Japan-spec MX-30 variants.

As for safety, there’s seven airbags and a host of passive systems like ABS, EBD, brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control, traction control and ISOFIX child seat anchor points. Active systems include Smart Brake Support (autonomous emergency braking, front and rear), Mazda Radar Cruise Control, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert and a 360-degree camera. Final specifications for our market aren’t available just yet, but it will apparently not differ significantly.

Practicality-wise, this MX-30 offers 332 litres of boot space, including the underfloor storage that must sacrifice a few litres to make room for one of the Bose speakers. With the 60:40 split-folding rear seats tipped down, that figure increases to 1,137 litres.

If you’re hoping for a front trunk (frunk), there is none because the space under the bonnet is taken up by the electric motor. If it looks a little odd that there’s still so much room in the “engine bay,” that’s because the MX-30 was designed to accommodate a mild hybrid powertrain featuring an e-Skyactiv G 2.0 litre NA four-cylinder engine in selected markets like Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Official pricing for the MX-30 wasn’t revealed at the preview, but Bermaz Auto executive chairman Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh revealed during a Q&A session that the company is working on bringing the price under RM200,000, with the current EV incentives factored in. For context, the MX-30 starts at 27,650 British pounds (RM153,543) in the UK for the base Prime-Line and rises to GBP33,450 (RM185,751) for the top-spec Makoto.

Beneath the RM200,000 price point, the MX-30’s chief rival will be the Hyundai Kona Electric, which was launched last November and is offered in three variants and two battery capacities (39.2 and 64 kWh), with prices ranging from RM149,888 to RM199,888.

Under RM200,000, there’s also the base variant of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 available, along with the MINI Cooper SE and Nissan Leaf. Would you pick the MX-30 offer these alternatives? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.