Currently reading: New Mazda CX-50 is rugged 4x4 crossover for America
Mazda kickstarts its SUV offensive with an all-wheel-drive rival for the Subaru Forester

Mazda has revealed the new CX-50 as the first of five new SUVs due in the coming years, aiming it squarely at customers with "active and outdoor lifesyles". 

Developed especially for the US market, the CX-50 will be built at Mazda and Toyota's shared Huntsville, Alabama factory from January 2022. It is the first model to wear the CX-50 nameplate, slotting into Mazda's line-up between the Mazda CX-30 and Mazda CX-5.

The CX-50 gets four-wheel drive as standard for "greater confidence on- and off-road", with Mazda's new Intelligent Drive Select function (Mi-Drive) providing a variety of drive modes for tackling a range of different terrains and conditions. Mazda claims it will drive "naturally" both on challenging terrain and while towing.

It will be offered from launch with a choice of either turbocharged or naturally aspirated versions of Mazda's 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine, both paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox, while electrified options - including a full hybrid - will be launched at a later date. 

Mazda cx 50 01 polymetal gray

Mazda has previously confirmed it will introduce plug-in hybrid technology to its line-up with the Europe-bound CX-60 and CX-80, 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.

Design-wise, the CX-50's relationship with the 3, CX-30 and MX-30 – each inspired by the radical Vision Coupé concept from 2017 – is clear. The brand's 'Kodo' design ethos extends to narrow LED headlights, an expansive chrome-surround grille and a long, sloping bonnet. The contrasting body cladding - a nod to its off-road aspirations - draw a link to the MX-30 EV. 

The interior is familiar from the 3, too, though Mazda has introduced "details inspired by technical, modern outdoor gear" to mark the CX-50 out as the more outdoors-focused SUV in its line-up. 


Read our review

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The 3-based Mazda CX-30 is the first SUV based on the Japanese brand’s latest hardware

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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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Marv 16 November 2021

I saw it and immediately thought "That's based on the RAV4".  Upon reading the article and getting confirmation that it will use the PHEV set-up of the RAV4, along with being built on the same US production line, it all made sense.  It's a win/win for both companies.  It looks somewhat more rugged than the CX-5 and I'm curious to see what the interior looks like.  If it's as good the perceived quality of the 3 and CX-30, then Mazda are moving in the right direction.  I'm currious to see what the CX-60 and CX-80 we're due to get here in the UK look like.

mx5xm 15 November 2021

It looks the business! If the rest match up to the looks, then it could be a great buy in Europe too. The bigger models due will be an eagerly waited addition for famalies and 7 seat buyers. 

On my list of vehicles to keep an eye on!