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It may only be receiving a mid-life facelift and is missing a hybrid powertrain, but the 2022 Mazda CX-5 could be poised to steal the spotlight in the mid-size SUV market.
That’s because it’s poised to capitalise on the troubles of its archrival, the Toyota RAV4, which has been hit by supply constraints that have pushed waiting times to up to 10 months for the hot-selling hybrid powertrain.
These two models have been locked in a two-way battle for sales supremacy in the medium SUV segment for years. The success of the new-generation RAV4 that arrived in 2019, as well as its hybrid option, have allowed it to take control of top spot. While Mazda publicly claims it isn’t interested in reclaiming the best-seller title, the two models will remain in fierce competition.
The RAV4 leads sales in the medium SUV segment, with 29,263 sales year-to-date (according to the September VFACTS figures), a comfortable 7930 sales ahead of the CX-5 (21,333). However, the CX-5 sales for 2021 are up more than 36 per cent on the same period in 2020, compared to the RAV4 which is only up 7.9 per cent.
Those figures put the pair well ahead of the pack, with the CX-5 selling almost twice as many cars as the third-placed model – the Mitsubishi Outlander.
As we’ve previously reported, the facelifted CX-5 will feature a split design update, with the lower-grade models (Maxx, Maxx Sport and Touring) featuring black-plastic cladding, with high-end variants (GT and Akera) receiving body-coloured wheelarches to give them a more premium look. Other new-for-2022 elements include a redesigned grille, headlights and tail-lights.
The powertrains will carryover, with the same 2.5-litre petrol (both turbocharged and naturally-aspirated) and 2.2-litre turbo diesel, which normally would have left Mazda at a disadvantage due to the increasing demand for hybrid powertrains.
However, with Toyota struggling to secure enough RAV4s – both hybrid and not – the consistency of the CX-5 line-up could ultimately help its 2022 sales.
Mazda is also preparing to launch another mid-size SUV to complement the CX-5 and potentially increase its share of the market, the just-confirmed CX-60. Instead of replacing the CX-5 it will sit alongside, giving Mazda another option to attract mid-size SUV customers.
The CX-60 will be based on the company’s new platform which is being developed to underpin the next Mazda6, CX-60, CX-80 and CX-90. It will be capable of offering both rear- and all-wheel drive layouts and will be powered by the brand’s new inline four- and six-cylinder engines.
Importantly for the brand’s future aspirations, these new engines are reportedly being developed with mild-hybrid functionality, which could give Mazda a much-needed rival to the RAV4 Hybrid by the end of next year.
Mazda Australia managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, hinted at what is to come when announcing the arrival of the new CX-5.
He said: “This latest update meets customer demand for self-expression and personalisation, addressing their style and lifestyle more acutely than ever before.
“It also strengthens Mazda CX-5’s position as an important mainstay in our stable, as we anticipate the arrival of new generation, large platform SUVs arriving in 2022.”
The combination of CX-5 and CX-50 will not only create a larger headache for Toyota, but also give SUV buyers more choice in 2022.