Mazda is definitely in the news right now. The refreshed 2022 CX-5 just debuted with an extremely subtle facelift. Additionally, Mazda announced that the CX-5 – and all of its CX-branded SUVs – will feature all-wheel drive as standard equipment. So why is Mazda also announcing a rear-wheel drive SUV for 2022?
This is the question we come to after seeing this report from Australia Drive. The outlet says the first of Mazda’s next-gen SUVs will arrive next year, using a rear-wheel-drive platform compared to the front-wheel-drive configuration on current models. The word apparently comes from Vinesh Bhindi, Managing Director of Mazda Australia, so it is by no means a summary source. According to the report, Bhindi confirmed that the first of the company’s new large-platform SUVs was due to arrive in 2022, but did not mention a specific model. Drive speculates that it will be the next-gen CX-5, possibly referred to as the CX-50.
It is entirely possible that the plans for Australia differ from those for the United States, although it seems very strange to release a facelift model and a new generation model in the same year. If CX-50 is the name of the new SUV, it is conceivable that Mazda could offer it alongside the CX-5. There is also the question of Mazda announcing standard all-wheel drive for its SUVs in 2022, but also the announcement of a new rear-wheel drive model. We suspect there is a basic signal crossing here, so we reached out to Mazda USA for clarification. We will step in with an update when we have a response.
In addition to adopting a rear-wheel drive chassis, Mazda’s next-generation SUV platform will feature a new inline-six engine. Powertrain details are still under wraps, but with a north-south layout under the hood sending power to the rear wheels, it looks like Mazda is looking to recapture some of its zoom-zoom history. Whether or not that will be enough to give the CX-5 a sporty reputation remains to be seen, but if this new report is correct, we could get a taste of it as early as next year.