Mazda takes a new road with its new CX-50 — an unpaved one, at that.
The new compact SUV, which may eventually replace the CX-5, has chunkier looks with the unpainted black panels and silver faux skidplate trim that tend to mark off-road-focused SUVs. Though the photo Mazda released of a gray CX-5 with a roof-mounted platform hardly shows a Jeep Wrangler rival, it does show the brand better known for sharp handling is ready to get dirty.
Initially, the CX-50 will offer the same engines as the CX-5: a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that will probably put out north of 180 horsepower and a turbocharged 4-cylinder rated at 250 hp. A 6-speed automatic — down at least a couple of gears against most rivals — comes standard, as does all-wheel drive.
A front-wheel-drive version with a lower price point will likely follow, and the CX-50 is primed for electrification of some sort down the line. Mazda has promised a hybrid powertrain, though the automaker is mum on a fully electric version.
Inside, the CX-50 has the clean, unadorned look we’ve come to expect from modern Mazda vehicles. Its limited array of buttons is made possible by a central control knob like those typically found in luxury models. Mazda did not detail trim levels or other specifications, though expect plenty of active safety features standard as in the current CX-50.
The model will be built at a new Mazda-Toyota joint-venture assembly plant near Huntsville, Alabama. See Mazda models for sale