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RAY MASSEY: Mazda’s MX-30 features pillar-less design


RAY MASSEY wonders at Mazda’s masterpiece as new family-focused MX-30 crossover features pillar-less design

When you open all the doors, there’s an almost disconcertingly wide open space in the middle of Mazda’s new family-focused MX-30 crossover. 

While the front doors are hinged conventionally, the rear ones are hinged at the back. With no central pillar, you can look right through. 

It’s a style already used on Mazda’s 2003 RX-8 sports coupe, as well as BMW’s 13, the Rolls-Royce Phantom limousine (which has a central pillar) and London cabs. 

Mind the gap: Mazda’s new family-focused MX-30  features a pillar-less design

Launched in Mazda’s 2020 centenary year and on sale officially in the UK this week, the new MX-30 is its first all-electric car as well as its first to achieve a 5-star EuroNCAP crash test safety rating under the new more stringent testing regime. 

Having seen it unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Show, I recently drove an early production model on UK roads. Sitting quite high on its 18in wheels, but with low-slung looks and a commanding seating position, it’s a sprightly and engaging drive with nimble handling and dynamic pace.

Stylishly distinctive looks combine with neat design and eco-friendly touches including a clean dashboard, contemporary fabric seats and recycled bottles used in the doors. 

Cork trim around the gear selector — off-cuts from bottle stops — reflects Mazda’s origins as a cork manufacturer.

Prices range from £25,545 for the SE-L Lux to £27,545 for the Sport Lux and £29,845 for the top-of the range GT Sport Tech.

There is also a well-specced limited UK-run of 350 ‘First Edition’ cars from £27,495. All these prices are after deducting the £3,000 plug-in grant. 

Open space: While the front doors are hinged conventionally, the rear ones are hinged at the back

Open space: While the front doors are hinged conventionally, the rear ones are hinged at the back

Powered by a 145hp electric motor and a smaller, lighter-weight 35.5KWh lithium ion battery, it accelerates from rest to 62mph in 9.7 seconds, reaching a top speed of 87mph. The big compromise is the low 124 mile range — fine for commuting but a pain on a long journey. 

Those who place orders before the end of this month qualify for a free domestic wall-charger. 

A full-charge takes about five hours, with 80 per cent on a fast-charger taking 36 minutes.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER VOTED WOMEN’S CAR OF THE YEAR  

 The new Land Rover Defender was this week voted Women’s World Car of the Year for 2021. 

It was also named Best Medium SUV in the only car awards with an all-female jury of 50 motoring journalists from 38 countries across five continents. 

Favourite: The awards were timed to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8

Favourite: The awards were timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8

The awards were timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, and Marta García, executive president of Women’s World Car of the Year, said: ‘­The jury’s decisions represent the liking and preferences of millions of women drivers around the globe.’ 

The Land Rover Defender is from £44,825 for the 90 and £46,215 for the 110, with a 90 Hard Top from £35,360 (before VAT). 

Among other winners were: the Peugeot 208 (urban car); Skoda Octavia (family); Lexus LC 500 Cabrio (luxury) and Honda e (electric).

CELEBRATION FOR 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF JAGUAR E-TYPE 

The 60th anniversary of the iconic Jaguar E-Type is being celebrated with the creation of six matching pairs of restored Series 1 models — a coupé and a convertible — based on the two cars used for its debut at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. 

Costing about £650,000 for the pair, they honour the cars driven flat-out overnight from Coventry to Switzerland — by test driver Norman Dewis and Jaguar PR Bob Berry — on March 15. 

Stylish: Six matching pairs of restored Series 1 models — a coupé and a convertible (pictured) — based on the two cars used for its debut at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show

Stylish: Six matching pairs of restored Series 1 models — a coupé and a convertible (pictured) — based on the two cars used for its debut at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show

Named after their number plates — 9600 HP and the 77 RW — the cars were created by Jaguar Classic in Coventry and have 3.8-litre 265bhp straight-six engines. 

An engraving on each car illustrates the original routes. In the reborn E-Type coupé, this engraving is accompanied by Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons’ words to Berry on his arrival in Geneva: ‘I thought you’d never get here.’ 

In the convertible, this is swapped for Lyons’s phone instruction to Dewis: ‘Drop everything and come now. 

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