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Monday, January 24, 2022

2022 Mazda CX-30 M Hybrid: Offering A Great Driving Experience With Strong Environmental Performance


It’s no secret that Mazda is set to electrify its entire line-up globally by 2030. However, instead of dropping traditional gasoline and diesel engines altogether, the carmaker will instead remain committed to its development. With the “Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture,” they will pair their power units, whether transverse or longitudinal, to one of many possible electrification solutions depending on customer needs, environmental regulations, and electric power generating infrastructure.

A peek of that electrified future for Mazda vehicle is shown by this: the CX-30 M Hybrid. As a prototype, brought in for validation testing, some specs are different from the CX-30 M Hybrid heading to local showrooms. The differences are mostly aesthetic—it has body-colored mirror caps and gun-metallic wheels as opposed to the high-gloss black wheels and mirror caps found in the Philippine spec model. The prototype also doesn’t sport a sunroof, and the interior color scheme’s black and brown compared to the showroom spec’s black and red colorway.



What is shared between this prototype CX-30 M Hybrid and what you’ll eventually get in Mazda showrooms is the powertrain. Popping the hood reveals no discernable difference between this 2.0-liter e-Skyactiv-G and its traditional (aka non-hybrid) counterpart, at least visually. There are no orange high voltage wires snaking around, and the engine cover just says, “Skyactiv-G.” Talk about being subtle. Starting poking around though and you’ll notice that the CX-30 M Hybrid sports a non-EFB 12-volt starter battery. This is a clue to the myriad of changes that have gone almost unnoticed here.

The Mazda M Hybrid pairs its 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G direct-injected engine with a small Belt-driven Integrated Starter Generator or B-ISG. The B-ISG captures energy that’s normally wasted during decelerating and braking and stores it in a small 0.216-kWh 24-volt lithium-ion battery that powers the car’s electrical systems. This reduces electrical load on the engine, saving fuel in the process.



There are advantages and disadvantages to the Mazda M Hybrid system. The main disadvantage is that it cannot run on electric power alone. This means it won’t be as fuel efficient as, say a full hybrid from Toyota. On the other hand, the smaller electrical architecture means it doesn’t carry such a big weight penalty (it’s just 39 kilograms heavier than the non-hybrid version). Plus, because there are no additional driving modes or buttons to set, this setup is more forgiving for hybrid neophytes.

Having driven the non-hybrid CX-30 extensively in the past (read our review and long-term coverage), the CX-30 M Hybrid retains every bit of its impressive driving experience. A year-plus on, few SUVs still manage to even come close to how well-judged the pedals, steering, and gear shifts are. This makes it great to drive, regardless of speed.



The biggest plus of the CX-30 M Hybrid though is its natural brake pedal feel. Although it uses a brake-by-wire system, due to its need to recapture braking energy, it perfectly simulates the brake feel and pedal feedback akin to its combustion engine counterpart. Only those with keen ears will notice the telltale energy recovery sound during the initial pedal stroke.

When it comes to handling, the CX-30 also does a great job of ensuring that body roll is always kept in check. Couple that with the G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) system which limits how much torque is sent to the wheels to help with the transfer of weight while driving, and you have a truly composed crossover. The addition of the battery pack has had no detrimental effect on the handling. More than anything, it seems to have settled its ride over higher-frequency small bumps.



On the subject of power and acceleration, the electrical assist ups the CX-30 M Hybrid’s outputs to 164 horsepower and 213 Nm of torque—that’s 10 horsepower and 13 Nm of torque more than the non-hybrid version. Around 5.3 kW or 7.2 horsepower is used for assisting in acceleration from a standing start. The experience isn’t transformative to be honest, but it is noticeable. Compared to the non-hybrid version, the 2.0-liter engine doesn’t feel as taxed. Decent acceleration can be achieved even before the rev counter reaches 3,000 rpm. However, because the assist isn’t much, any spirited driving maneuver, such as overtaking, still requires a kickdown from the gearbox.

The Mazda M Hybrid may not be able to start or run on electric power alone, but at speeds below 20 km/h, it automatically shuts off the combustion engine during deceleration. The B-ISG also takes over cranking up the engine in stop-and-go traffic making it smoother than traditional idle start/stop systems. Plus, the presence of the lithium-ion battery means the air conditioner compressor doesn’t need to shut off when i-Stop’s active—great for Manila’s sweltering midday heat. 



If anything, the entire setup could actually be more aggressive. As it stands, the combustion engine cranks back to life in less than a minute of idling. At higher speeds, the 2.0-liter also has cylinder deactivation which switches seamlessly between two and four-cylinder modes. All in all, the CX-30 M Hybrid does 13.69 km/L in the city and 17.24 km/L on the highway. These are excellent figures especially when compared to the non-hybrid’s 9.5 km/L city, 12 km/L highway figure.

With electrification surely in their horizon, Mazda Philippines is aligning itself towards that thinking and philosophy as early as now. On its own, the CX-30 has always been a head-turner that’s satisfyingly agile and blessed with a truly high-quality interior. Now, the addition of the e-Skyactiv-G powertrain simply adds to that already great formula. It may not find itself selling in great numbers, but that’s not exactly its game plan. Instead, it caters to those seeking a genuinely great driving experience with strong environmental performance to boot. This is something the CX-30 definitely manages to do.

14 comments:

  1. can you feel the gain in power or kick when accelerating as compared to the standard engine? (not from standstill but when the car is moving--> like during overtaking)

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    1. The difference isn't night and day. For someone who's lived with the non-hybrid CX-30 for about a year, I'd say there's a difference. For everyone else, I'd say the difference is negligible.

      What is noticeable is that the speed goes up without taxing the engine that much. Only when you depress the accelerator will the gearbox "kick down." Other than that, it prefers not to initiate a downshift to keep efficiency up. It relies on the electric motor instead to offer that bit of an assistance.

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  2. I have question Sir, how does the m hybrid acceleration compared to the corolla hybrid from 0-100

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    1. Mazda3 M Hybrid: 10.8 seconds
      Corolla Altis Hybrid: 10.9 seconds
      Mazda CX-30 M Hybrid: 11.1 seconds
      Corolla Cross Hybrid: 12.1 seconds

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    2. Mazda's figures though are based on the older 122 PS M Hybrid. No data available yet for the new 165 PS M Hybrid system.

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  3. I think mild hybrids are best suited on countries like us where there are barely infra for full EVs. Anyway, specwise sir, are there any differences between this Hybrid and the used to be TOTL signature model (the one that used to be above 2m PHP).

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    1. The hybrid loses the AWD system. This means the CX-30 will be composed of a purely FWD line-up starting in 2022. There are still a few entry-level Pro models left, but after that it'll just be the FWD 2.0 Sport and FWD 2.0 M Hybrid.

      Comparing the M Hybrid versus the previous Signature though, the only difference is the interior color scheme. The black/brown color scheme has been discontinued in favor of a black/red color scheme. Feature sets are the same--sunroof, Bose sound system, i-Activsense driver assist, power tailgate, etc.

      The FWD Sport non-hybrid continues with its black/blue color scheme.

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    2. that's a bummer for some buyers, the choice is limited to either AWD non-hybrid vs. FWD M Hybrid, but again maybe to bring the price down

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    3. Actually the AWD Sport CX-30 is an endangered species. Once the stocks run out, that'll disappear from the line up. CX-30 will be purely FWD.

      The CX-5 AWD Sport (2.5-liter gas) will be your choice if you really need AWD. It's price at P 1.990M as well.

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    4. that sucks, anyway thank you for the info sir!

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    5. Yeah. The CX-30 is a very niche product. If you understand it, it's great. If you don't, you'll probably end up with the CX-5 anyway.

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  4. I must have missed it, but what's the price delta between this and the non-hybrid model? If it's more than the AWD CX-30 then might as well get the CX-5 2.2D SkyActiv-D.

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    1. If it's non-hybrid AWD Sport vs FWD M Hybrid, the price is exactly the same: P 1,990,000.

      If it's the non-hybrid FWD Sport and FWD M Hybrid, there's a P 200,000 price gap with the FWD Sport priced at P 1,790,000. Take note that the feature sets are different. The non-hybrid FWD Sport doesn't get a power tailgate, sunroof, Bose sound system, i-Activsense to name a few.

      As for the CX-5 Skyactiv-D, the price is P 2,350,000. That's a huge jump. Your best bet would be the CX-5 AWD gas at P 1,990,000.

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  5. Coming in 2022 Nissan Almera, Elgrand, Kicks, Note, Pathfinder, Patrol, Terra, Serena Sylphy, and X Trail.

    Coming in 2022 Toyota C-HR, Harrier, Noah, Raize, RAV4 Hybrid, Avanza, and Sienta.

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