The Eunos 30X was a small coupe launched in November 1992 and remained on sale until October 1997. The Eunos marque was part of a marketing experiment by Mazda. Accordingly, the 30X is closely related to the Mazda 323, with the former using the Mazda EC Platform, which is based on the B Platform of the latter. However, the curvaceous lines and pronounced wedge of the 30X’s body marked it out as a separate car to the Mazda 323, which looked like a sensible hatchback.
Although technically a three-door hatchback, the Eunos 30X was marketed as a coupe, featuring the same small 1.8L V6 throughout its short lifespan.
Initially, only one version of the 30X was available, and it was impressively equipped for its time. The second version – the 30X Leather – was released in February 1994 and added a few welcome features as standard. The third version – the 30X Sport – was actually much less well-equipped than either of the other two models available.
Finally, the 30X was rebadged as the Mazda Eunos 30X in an attempt to boost sales, but this did not work. Although not terribly successful in the marketplace, the Eunos 30X is fun to drive, and if found in good condition, it should be a reliable purchase.
As previously stated, the Eunos 30X had the same tiny 1.8L V6 engine throughout its existence. The engine used double camshafts and a multi-point fuel injection system, and it was one of the smallest displacement engines in the world at the time.
With 99kW of power output and a torque of 159Nm at 4500rpm, the standard and leather models could reach 0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds and had a top speed of 206km/h. Some say the 30X Sport was quicker as a result of being lighter due to the lack of equipment, but there is no hard information that corroborates such a claim.
Because the V6 engine was so small and used small cylinders to match, it had to be pushed hard to access the 99kW that was available. The small 1.8L capacity of the engine capped the potential muscle hidden in the 4 vales per cylinder V6, making the car’s acceleration sluggish below 3000rpm. The 30X engine has a fuel cut-off at 7800rpm. For this reason, the car arguably works better with an automatic gearbox, which will be able to match gear changes according to how hard the car is pushed.
In terms of fuel economy, the manual gearbox–equipped Eunos 30X is said to consume 10L/100km in an urban environment and 7.4L/100km in an extra urban environment, giving a combined fuel consumption of 8.4L/100km. Those 30X models fitted with automatic gearboxes are known to be thirstier, with a combined fuel consumption of 8.7L/100km.
The Eunos 30X is a front-wheel drive car, creating a front-end push; this limited cornering speed at which point the power steering begins to gently under-steer. On the whole though, handling has a neutral feel. This neutrality is compounded by the Twin-Trapezoidal Link (TTL) suspension, which was used to smooth out the ride and minimise body lean. From 1994, the 30X was given a slighter wider track to improve handling even more.
A less desirable characteristic of the 30X is its tendency for tyre noise, which is particularly prominent at high speeds, as is wind noise. Issues reported on used models in the years since production stopped include problems with crunching gearboxes, especially during the downshift from third to second gear.
Upon introduction in 1992, the 30X had air-conditioning, a compact disc player, driver’s airbag, central locking, and power windows and wing mirrors. The 30X Leather – released in February 1994 – added leather trim (hence the name) and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
The Eunos 30X Sport – released in August 1994 – was minimally equipped – removing the air-conditioning, leather trim, and compact disc player from its kit.
Competition came from contemporaries such as the Peugeot 205 GTi and the Golf GTi. The 30X was clearly not a match for either of these two cars in terms of power, speed, or acceleration. Yet the Peugeot and contemporary VW Golf had begun to look old and dated, and they were commanding high insurance premiums as a result of their high performance characteristics.
The Eunos 30X was conceived as way of combining sporty looks with a relatively modest performance in order to appeal to those who wanted sporty aesthetics without the huge premiums. To this end, the Eunos 30X was a good compromise, and although not successful at the time, it is still a very reliable little car.