These are difficult times for car companies as they try to introduce new cars in Ireland. Recently Mazda brought in a few left hand drive pre-production version of their new electric MX-30 to give the Irish motor writers a sneak preview.

We are all familiar with driving left-hand drive cars on European press trips, but sadly all those trips have stopped since the arrival of Covid-19. Left-hand drive cars are fine on continental Europe, but here in Ireland they seem strange and could cause problems at toll bridges!

The new MX-30 is a sharp, confident car with plenty of safety equipment on board. It’s a small SUV not dissimilar in design to the brand’s CX-30 petrol and diesel powered alternative.

The Mazda MX-30 in Soul Red.
The Mazda MX-30 in Machine Grey.

It’s exactly the same length and width as its sibling, if ever-so-slightly taller. The MX-30 and CX-30 share the same wheelbase.

The luggage area is good, but the rear seats can only be accessed through two backward-opening doors. I think Mini and BMW are the only other car companies that has these backward-opening doors, which Mazda are calling ‘Freestyle’doors. The back of the car is more coupe-like, with small darkened windows.

The range is around the 200km mark, much the same as the Honda’s new electric car the Honda e.

That’s a poor range for such a big car, but Mazda say that average car journeys are under 50km a day and that when you produce vehicles with smaller batteries they are far more environmentally friendly over their full life than bigger-range EVs.

The new car has the latest MyMazda app which is free from Apple AppStore and the Google Play Store. Exclusively available on the Mazda MX-30, users will be able to choose up to three destinations at once and remotely input the locations, including from third-party apps, directly to the navigation system.

Compatible with both Android and Apple devices, this function allows drivers to plan a trip on their device when not in the car, and immediately have the guidance available once the vehicle is turned on.

Other convenient functions of the upgraded app include being able to control the air-conditioning settings remotely.

As no engine is required, users can define the cabin temperature, turn on/off windscreen ventilation and adjust the rear screen heating before entering the vehicle. The ability to pre-warm or pre-cool the car while it is plugged in reduces demand on the battery once driving.

Additional remote commands include door locking and a vehicle finder for added driver peace-of-mind when away from the car. Further general functions include the ability to remotely access real time vehicle status information, including tyre pressure and door locking, roadside assistance, service history and service request.

Mazda say they have added functions only possible on an EV, such as the ability to control charging using a timer, monitoring charging progress, range indicator and charging availability.

Prices start at €30,495 after grants and new VRT changes, and there is a special highly speced First Edition model at €31,795. Mazda are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the brand this year. All models will adopt the latest functions next year.

The first editions of the MX-30 should be in Irish car showrooms in February and the company expect to sell around 200 units in 2021. With all that technology available, it’s certainly a very interesting option from Mazda in what is an ever-expanding range of electric cars.