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2022 Mazda CX-50 detailed: Subaru Forester Wilderness, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in sights of new CX-5-related SUV not destined for Australia

The CX-50 is powered by either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, but Mazda has plans for an electrified version later.

Mazda has lifted the lid on its new CX-50 SUV, which will be the first model in its expanded crossover line-up that also encompasses the CX-60, CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90.

While models like the CX-60 and CX-80 or CX-90 are already pencilled in for an Australian debut from next year, the CX-50 will be built and sold, in and for, the North American market at a Toyota joint-venture facility in Alabama.

Looking like a rugged version of the CX-5, the CX-50 sports squared-off wheelarch protectors, a matte bonnet sticker and roof racks to maximise its off-road usability.

As a rival for the likes of the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and Subaru Forester Wilderness (also off the table for Australia), the CX-50 also wears a blacked-out front grille and front scuff plate, as well as what appears to be – in the official imagery – all-terrain tyres and a higher ride height when compared with the CX-5.

Inside, the CX-50 features a new dashboard with redesigned airvents, as well as the Mazda3’s svelte steering wheel.

However, the brand’s floating multimedia screen, rotary control knob, digital driver display, tactile climate controls and leather-clad interior look take straight out of the similarly-sized CX-5.

Though Mazda’s new platform can accommodate the brand’s newly-developed inline six-cylinder engines, the CX-50 was revealed with a pair of 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines – one with a turbo and one without.

Though outputs for the CX-50 were not revealed, Mazda fans should recognise these engines as the same ones offered in the current CX-5, which output 140kW/252Nm and 170kW/420Nm.

Paired to the engine is a six-speed automatic transmission, which sends drive to all four wheels via Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel-drive system.

Mazda is also promising an electrified version down the line, possibly using the M Hybrid 48-volt mild-hybrid tech as seen on the MX-30, or the Skyactiv X 24-volt system as featured on the Mazda3 and CX-30.

Differentiating the new drivetrain is a drive-mode selector called Mi-Drive that allows users to switch between ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Off-Road’, with additional settings for towing and more.

The US-market launch for the CX-50 is expected early in 2022, while the Australian and European-focused CX-60 could be revealed before year's end.