Mazda revealed the new CX-50 as the first of five new SUVs arriving in the coming years, directly targeting customers with “active and outdoor lifestyles”.
Developed specifically for the US market, the CX-50 will be built at the Mazda and Toyota plant in Huntsville, Alabama, shared from January 2022. It is the first model to wear the CX-50 nameplate, joining the Mazda range among CX-30 Other CX-5.
The CX-50 has standard all-wheel drive for “increased safety on and off-road”, with Mazda’s new Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) function providing a variety of driving modes to tackle a wide range of terrain and different conditions. Mazda says it will drive “naturally” on both challenging terrain and when towing.
It will be offered from launch with a choice of turbocharged or naturally aspirated versions of Mazda’s 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G petrol engine, both paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, while electrified options, including a full hybrid, will be launched. at a later date.
Mazda has previously confirmed that it will introduce plug-in hybrid technology to its range with the CX-60 and CX-80 destined for Europe, but has given no indication that this US-only model will be available as a PHEV. The CX-50 will soon be joined by the larger CX-70 and CX-90, which will be among the first models to use the Japanese brand’s new six-cylinder petrol engines.
From a design standpoint, the CX-50’s relationship to the 3, CX-30 and MX-30, each inspired by the radical concept of the 2017 Vision Coupé, is clear. The brand’s “Kodo” design ethic extends to slim LED headlights, a wide chrome grille and a long, sloping hood. The contrasting bodywork – a nod to its off-road aspirations – draws a link to the MX-30 EV.
The interior is also familiar from the 3, although Mazda has introduced “details inspired by technical and modern outdoor equipment” to mark the CX-50 as the most outdoor-oriented SUV in its range.