By on November 9, 2021

Mazda has announced that the 2023 CX-50 will debut on November 15th, foreshadowing its production launch in January of 2022 at the Alabama plant it shares with Toyota. That means odds are good that the model will share more than a few components with the Toyota Corolla Cross. But Mazda has been adamant that CX-50 is a unique vehicle riding on its very own platform.

Unique is a relative term, however, when the upcoming model represents another “lifestyle vehicle” designed to convince consumers that a jack-of-all-trades crossover is ready and willing to drag them up the side of a mountain. Officially, Mazda is claiming this one caters to adults with particularly active lifestyles and has surrounded it with nature-themed marketing materials. That presumably has something to do with the CX-50 boasting “enhanced all-wheel-drive capabilities.”

Of course, we cannot confirm or deny those improvements until someone has actually slogged one through a swap or battered it down a dry riverbed. We don’t even know what the CX-50 looks like yet and only have the most basic details of its mechanical makeup. Mazda has only been willing to confirm that the mid-sized crossover will use the same platform as the current Mazda3/CX-30 and feature all-wheel drive.

That had us assuming AWD would be optional. However numerous outlets( e.g. AutoBlog) have suggested the CX-50 would not replace the CX-5 due to the former having made all-wheel drive standard equipment. We remain dubious, particularly because the CX-5 already offers i-ACTIV AWD and would undoubtedly exist in the same space. But the older crossover is an exceptionally good one and highlights how Mazda has managed to transform mainstream vehicles into something that feels (and looks) like something a little more premium.

The teasers don’t show us much of the vehicle and what we can see has it hidden behind some distant, moss-covered trees. But it appears to be just as curvatons as the current CX-5 with a touch more ground clearance. It’s also shown driving exclusively on a dirt trail, which could be Mazda’s way of telling us something.

Perhaps the CX-50 really is taking a more off-road focused approach and the updated AWD system is there to seal the deal. If Subaru can sell Impreza wagons alongside the Crosstrek, then there’s a case to be made for Mazda to have a second mid-sizer with some newer tech and more off-road goodies. But we remain convinced that this is a risk and the brand will dump the CX-5 the second it appears unprofitable.

As for the CX-50’s hardware, we’re expecting a standard Skyactiv 2.5-liter and optional turbo 2.5-liter inline-four found in other Mazda products. That means output somewhere in the neighborhood of 190 horsepower, with turbo-equipped models being closer to 250 hp. While early speculation had the crossover getting an inline-six Mazda’s longitudinal platform isn’t expected to appear until the CX-70 and CX-90 arrive sometime in 2023.

Speaking of which, we don’t currently know whether the brand plans on offering the CX-50 as a 2022 model-year vehicle or MY 2023. We’ve heard both and, while it’s sort of trivial since the number doesn’t really matter to anyone but regulators, expect Mazda to clear things up on November 15th when the crossover debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

[Image: Mazda]

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12 Comments on “Mazda CX-50 Debuts Soon, Allegedly Off-Road Friendly...”


  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    If Lexus built a Subaru, it would be a Mazda. Or something.

    (Advertising by 1989’s Infiniti)

  • avatar

    It is the most boring news today. Only one comment! If you do not count mine which is not really a comment.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I have been following the new/promised Mazdas as news rolls out. Nothing here is really news aside from the grainy, bigfoot running through trees style photo of the new CX-50.

      Hoping that there will be a transmission upgrade for the new batch of Mazdas, but more anxiously awaiting the I6 RWD models that will be coming later.

  • avatar
    shifter25

    This is Mazda’s version of the Corolla Cross right? Built in the same Alabama joint venture plant? Wonder if it’s basically a restyled version of that vehicle, even though Mazda has said this will be based on the same platform as the CX-30, CX-5. Which makes the whole joint venture plant in AL even more intriguing, so they’re making two separate vehicles not shared on the same platform?

  • avatar
    conundrum

    All the CUVs have gone “off-road” in marketing and “tone”. Subaru Wilderness models for people that venture onto a gravel/dirt road now and then yet want to feel like hooning, a Nissan Pathfinder ad where Dad scares his son by driving over rocks like a madman, then scales some mountain as if lease payments didn’t exist just to impress the boy. A hairy-forearmed macho Dad in a Pathfinder? As if. But you get the picture: It’s marketing BS writ large.

    The existing CX-5 was based on the old 3, so it has independent sproinging all around, and I’ve always found my brother’s a bit tilty and wobbly, me not being a fan of hatchbacks on stilts anyway.

    The new 3 and CX-30 of course have that rather unique Mazda version of a twist beam rear axle, which kind of limits how much rear ground clearance you can get with a propshaft passing through the gubbins. Answer? BIG, ‘UGE wheels and fatso tires. Yessir. Still, I cannot work out how with such long arms trailing back, proper lateral location of the wheels is achieved. It all seems a bit bendy; fore-and-aft by design, laterally because there’s nothing but those trailing arms to resist sideways motion. Hmm. Is there a basement-dwelling world-class design expert out there who can ease my tortured mind on the matter?

    Now if anyone at Mazda has a clue, besides a bit of Toyotan hybridity, they should stretch the basic platform out quite a bit and give the inside of this CX-50 some SIZE. The CX-5 is small inside compared to the competition. This CX-50 thing was originally to have been called a CX-4 before someone in Marketing had a brainwave. Remember that?

  • avatar
    redapple

    Toyota – Mazda Joint ventures
    Toyota – Subaru joint ventures.

    Soon to be Toyota Divisions / brands during the crash?
    (which will be after the china Olympics and 1 yr before Brandon re election)

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Nothing says off-road capable like driving on dirt roads that an S-Class would be fine with as long as you sent it through a car wash afterward.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      And nothing says Big, 500hp multiturbo V8, and “Engineered for the Autobahn,” like sitting in Traffic in Beverly Hills, while screeching abut how “They” should ban motorcyclists, and others, for driving “too fast” down empty 4 lane freeways and down abandoned dessert roads…

      It’s all a bit silly, how competence at what people actually use their cars for, mindless bimbling around paved Suburbia in slow motion, is the very last thing automakers emphasize in their marketing. Toyota being the occasional exception over here (no wonder they’re slowly eating everyone else…).

      In Europe, particularly the South, things are much less bass whackward. (Perhaps surprisingly, considering the stereotype of the Italian Peacock….). Likely because the overriding practical selling point; max interior space per exterior dimensions; pose such a hard constraint in their densepacked cities, that silly frivolousness very obviously don’t pass muster.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Mazda is stupid. Take the Mazda6 wagon, stretch it a bit and elevate. Slap some plastic on the wheel wells and call it a CX-60. There comes your money, honey. And now with Mazda6 going to future RWD, there will be enough distinction between two.

  • avatar
    AK

    There’s already a lot of overlap in the CX30 and the CX5. I don’t understand how they’re going to jam another one of these things into the 30-35k price range.

    Also, Mazda is getting close to Infiniti levels of stupid with their naming scheme.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      In price – may be. In size and interior setting – not at all. In CX30 there is no rear legroom and the rear seat is not reclining and is fixed in fairly uncomfortable upright position.

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