Mazda MX-30 R-EV Makoto (2024) review: The Wankel engine disappoints

Mazda MX-30 R-EV Makoto (2024) review: The Wankel engine disappoints

This hurts a little. Since the introduction of the MX-30, Mazda’s cool but not-so-far-fetched electric car, we’ve been told that a second special variant is on the way. Now here it is, several years later. But we’re afraid it wasn’t worth the wait.

The concept of a column extender (here we immediately throw the ball for the Dutch ‘range extender’) is a little old – you know it from the original Opel Ampera and the BMW i3. The former died a silent death and BMW quickly dropped the option on the i3. Still, Mazda thought it would be a good way to give the MX-30, which deliberately has a smaller battery pack to reduce weight and energy loss, a wider range.

Here’s a look at the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, which will soon be available at dealerships. The ‘R’ in its name stands for ‘rotary’, or cycle. In other words, yes, a Wankel engine. Specifically for this application, Mazda scrapped their old favorite engine concept and developed a small, compact package with a single rotor that would match the rest of the technology under the MX-30’s front end.

Mazda MX-30 R-EV range

With a battery half as big as the full electric version and a 50 liter tank, the R-EV can drive 85 kilometers on electricity, or 680 kilometers in total. A lot of effort was put into the 830-cc engine: high compression, reduced friction, special coating against fuel consumption. The thinking was that the Wankel engine has a smooth, vibration-free motion; better for not disturbing the peace in an electric car.

Not only is the MX-30 R-EV vibration-free, it’s also loud. Three driving modes allow you to choose how the petrol engine works – staying away until the battery is empty, maintaining the charge around 45 percent or increasing it to a set percentage – and in all cases it’s not fun when it starts. The gravity doesn’t look good or interesting and it blows like a jammer through the quiet interior, as if someone is using a leaf blower outside. Speed ​​varies with power requirements, but because the engine never drives the wheels directly, it makes no difference in performance.

The performance of the MX-30 is also disappointing

And that success is not yours either. With a 170 horsepower electric motor that responds smoothly and slowly, the MX-30 is fast enough for the best; there is no tension whatsoever. Now you can still get used to technology at low speed: silent and comfortable travel, occasional brr and bzz, just call it a habit.

But at 120 km / h the car has to work hard to produce enough kWh, and then it is very annoying. The steering wheel vibrates and the engine at high revs seems like it is conquering the highway in the old cage and the four-speed gearbox. And a quick calculation shows: if 50 liters of petrol gives you 595 kilometers of extra range, it is also not very economical.

It is a great pity that the technology is not better

Like we said, this hurts a little. We really wish Mazda that their crazy and original ideas are paid off with enthusiasm. And the MX-30, with its excellent handling, its cool swing doors and its clean cork and felt interior, deserves more praise than it gets. But you have to accept it (and you really want a bigger range than the EV version can offer) to endure this power training. Although it should have been the opposite: a block that shakes like a cool and attractive spear. Unfortunately.

Details of Mazda MX-30 e-SkyActiv R-EV Makoto (2024)


1 electric motor (+ 1 vibrating rotor)
170 pk (+ 75 pk)
260 Nm (+ 117 Nm)
17.8 kWh (battery)

front wheels
without action

0-100 km/h in 9,1 s
up to 140 km/h
Consumption (average)

17.5 kWh/100 km (+ 1.0 l/100 km) Label
21 g/km CO2

85 km electric (total 680 km)
Time to load
50 minutes at 11 kW
25 minutes at 36 kW (20-80%).

4.395 x 1.795 x
1.555 mm (lxwxh)
2,655 mm (wheelbase)
1.778 kg
50 liters (gasoline)
350 / 1,155 liters (luggage)

€40.490 (NL)
€39.520 (B)