New Mazda CX-50 revealed with rugged looks and electrification

A wave of new Mazda SUVs is set to arrive by 2023, and this new CX-50 is the first. It’s a rugged, four-wheel drive crossover designed for America, so while it won’t be sold elsewhere it still gives us a strong indication of how the brand’s upcoming SUVs – the CX-60 and CX-80 – will look when they arrive in the UK.

The CX-50 sits above Mazda’s CX-5 in the range, so is likely to be around the same size as a BMW X3. It shares its architecture with the Mazda 3 and CX-30, both of which are available with mild-hybrid engines.

Electrification for the CX-50 is in the pipeline, but for now, Mazda’s mid-size SUV will be available with a 2.5-litre petrol engine featuring the brand’s Skyactiv-G compression ignition technology. Two power outputs will be available, each version driving all four wheels.

The CX-50 is offered with a variety of driving modes to suit different conditions, and the car’s design makes no secret of its off-road pretensions. A set of narrow headlights, a wide front grille and smooth body surfacing are all examples of the brand’s ‘kodo’ design language, but the CX-50 adopts a more rugged look to other Mazda SUVs.

At the front, there’s a pair of deep vent cut-outs that integrate with plastic body cladding on the lower bumper, and a silver sump guard. The car also features matt black bonnet graphics, which will likely be optional.

The plastic body protection extends to the CX-50’s boxy wheelarches, with silver trim accents along the sills. The car can also be specified with a set of off-road tyres, further emphasising its all-terrain focus.

The front vent cut-outs are mirrored at the rear, where the black body cladding extends across the entire lower bumper. A pair of slim, darkened tail lights with a U-shaped LED running light design are similar to those on the Mazda 3 hatchback.

Inside, the CX-50 adopts a simplified dashboard design with a widescreen infotainment display in the centre. This will be operated using a rotary dial on the centre console, and not as a touchscreen. A panoramic sunroof will also be offered on the CX-50, a first for Mazda.

The CX-50 is the first of a range of Mazda SUVs set to arrive within the next two years. The first will be a rotary-engined range-extender version of the MX-30 EV crossover in the first half of 2022. The larger CX-60 and CX-80 to follow.

The CX-60 will be a five-seat SUV, with the CX-80 providing seven seats. The pair will be built on a scalable platform, and fitted with a four-cylinder petrol engine with hybrid assistance. A new Skyactiv-X straight-six petrol engine with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology will also be available, alongside a 48-volt diesel option. From 2025, Mazda plans to launch a number of pure-electric models on a dedicated EV platform, which could include another SUV.

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