Could a rotary even be on the table?
Mazda's latest model is the MX-30 crossover, the Japanese automaker's first production EV (if you don't count the prototype from the 1990s). While the MX-30 would have suited the eco-conscious 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, where other automakers like Ford revealed their new EVs, Mazda decided to turn up in the City of Angels with its new gas-engined crossover, the CX-30.
Having bowed in Europe, the CX-30 made its North American debut along with the announcement that it will start at $21,900. Only one engine will be offered in the US (for now), a 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G four-cylinder producing 186 horsepower. But speaking with Mazda Program Manager, Naohito Saga (through a translator), CarBuzz learned that more powertrain options are being considered.
During our roundtable discussion with Saga San, the topic of Mazda's revolutionary SkyActiv-X Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine came up. SkyActiv-X has been delayed coming to the US but in Europe, "it [already] accounts for 60% of the Mazda3 and CX-30 sales," Saga San said. "So they [Europeans] have received it positively."
In Europe, Mazda also offers the CX-30 with a 1.8-liter diesel engine but we asked if we might see the CX-5's 2.2-liter diesel, which Mazda went to great lengths to certify in the US, under the hood of the CX-30. "It's possible," Saga San said, not wanting to give too much away about future engine options. Of course, the CX-30 rides on a lifted version of the platform used by the Mazda3 hatchback, as does the recently-revealed MX-30 but "the changes we made [on the MX-30] are clearly greater [than on the CX-30]," Saga San explained.
So far, Mazda hasn't announced any plans to sell the MX-30 outside of Japan but when asked if we would see electrified powertrains under the hood of the CX-30, as with the diesel, Saga San left his answer pretty wide open. "Just like the SkyActive-X, this [electrification] should be included in the list of possibilities for the future. We are taking a strategy called 'multi-solution,' which includes the internal combustion engine, diesel engine, mild hybrid, EV, and range extender. We have to consider what fits best for the future," he answered.
Mazda has been rumored to be working on an all-new rotary engine, which could sit under the hood of an electric vehicle to generate electricity for the battery. Infiniti just announced a similar idea, featuring its new Variable Compression Turbo engine under the hood. Production models featuring these solutions (which we hope to see in the near future) will represent an excellent option for buyers who aren't ready to buy an EV just yet.