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The CX-5 might have lost its crown as best-selling SUV in Australia to the popular Toyota RAV4, but Mazda is expected to counter with an upmarket gambit in the form of the CX-50.
Sharing showroom space with the CX-5, the CX-50 is expected to be revealed next year for a 2023 arrival, and will likely be bigger, bolder and more sophisticated than its sibling – think the CX-30 to the CX-3.
Only time will tell if Aussie buyers will be receptive to the CX-50, but with more and more families opting for higher, more expensive grades with all the bells and whistles, it makes sense for Mazda to introduce an all-new model to capitalise, and here is what you can expect.
Mazda has made no secret that it is working on an all-new platform to underpin its large cars, with the first receipient expected to be the Mazda6 sedan as previewed by the Vision Coupe concept from the 2017 Tokyo motor show.
To stand it apart though, Mazda is said to have engineered this platform for rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts – the former suiting a long-slung, BMW 3 Series-rivalling executive sedan like the Mazda6, and the latter a good fit for high-riding SUVs that aren’t afraid to get their feet wet.
Expect to see Mazda’s driver-centric philosophy (called Jinba ittai) be retained though, so whatever shape the new platform takes has the potential to deliver an engaging driving experience.
The big question mark currently dangling over the CX-50 is just what the heck it will look like.
But what does this mean? Mazda says “Soul of Motion”, but in real terms the brand’s exterior design is expressed in a way to make it look like striking even when stationary.
Expect smooth lines and few creases, while the trend of slimmer headlights and a confident shoulder line could continue.
Probably the most exciting thing about the CX-50 is what exactly will be powering it.
With Mazda selling the CX-5 alongside the CX-50, the former will likely continue on with existing four-cylinder engine choices – a 2.5-litre petrol, a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel.
But the CX-50 will need to stand apart to justify its expected higher price positioning.
Enter the new family of in-line six-cylinder engines, with petrol, diesel and even Mazda’s sparkless ignition SkyActiv-X tech in mix.
Going with more cylinders and bigger displacement is an interesting tact for Mazda to take, given Toyota and the rest of the world are charging head-first into electrification, hybrid and downsizing to reduce emissions, but it could be the bold move it needs to step up against the likes of BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
Expected to be bigger and more tech-laden than the CX-5, the CX-50 will surely wear a pricetag to match its premium aspirations.
For reference, the soon-to-be-facelifted current CX-5 kicks off from $31,190 before on-road costs and tops out at $52,380, so expect the CX-50 to start on the higher-side of the equation.
Mazda Australia will need to walk a fine line here, as the CX-8 seven-seater is positioned from $39,990-$69,920, while the larger CX-9 is available from $45,990-$73,875.
However, with a cutting-edge six-cylinder engine, unique styling and likely new technologies included, the CX-50 could even creep up closer to the likes of the Lexus NX available from $57,500.
Rumours of the CX-50 have been floating around for some time now, but Mazda Australia boss Vinesh Bhindi has given the most accurate window of when we can expect the new SUV to land, and its sooner than you might thing.
Speaking about the facelifted CX-5, Mr Bhindi said: “This latest update (CX5) meets customer demand for self-expression and personalisation, addressing their style and lifestyle more acutely than ever before.”
“It also strengthens Mazda’s CX-5 position as an important mainstay in our stable, as we anticipate the arrival of a new generation, large platform SUVs arriving in 2022.”
The new-gen Mazda6 is also tipped to be revealed towards the end of 2022, but its hard to say exactly where this and the CX-50 could debut.
Either way, expect a reveal next year and a likely Australian-market debut either late in 2022 or early in 2023.