2023 Mazda CX-50 revealed as outdoorsy compact SUV with upcoming hybrid

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Mazda has announced a whole expanded line-up of fresh SUVs coming in the next few years, and the first of them has finally been revealed. The 2023 Mazda CX-50 will fill a slot above the CX-30 with a size similar to the CX-5. And it will have a number of interesting features, including an upcoming hybrid powertrain.

The design looks like a more rugged and butch version of the CX-5. It has broader fenders with more detailed plastic flares. The grille has a bolder bezel and can be had in gloss black. There are even sporty matte black decals available for the hood. Mazda also noted that the rear doors were given particularly wide openings to make it easier to step on the sills for access to the roof rack. The interior is reminiscent of other Mazdas, with its minimal dash, large hidden air vents and emphasis on the instrument panel. But it gets touches such as the vertical air vents around the instruments that make it unique and a bit more squared-off in shape. It also features a new interior color called Terracotta.

Mazda CX-50 interior
Mazda CX-50 interior

Mazda has been quiet on a number of details concerning the CX-50, but it will have a couple of familiar engines to begin with. The base engine will be a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder, with a turbocharged version available as an option. Expect power for the base engine to be around 185 to 190 horsepower, and 250 horsepower for the turbo model. Both come paired with Mazda's six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive will be standard on all models, as this model is aimed at being more outdoorsy and off-road capable than other Mazdas. And if it sounds strange that Mazda is looking at a more "active lifestyle" sort of vehicle, it shouldn't. Besides the growing number of off-road-oriented options on sale, we learned from press materials of a rival automaker that the CX-5 is one of the more common vehicles used for camping and off-pavement excursions.

Multiple drive modes will be available, too, rather than just Normal and Sport. The additions are a Towing mode and an Off-Road mode. According to Mazda engineer Dave Coleman, only one off-road mode is offered to keep things simple. It makes some interesting changes such as making the G-Vectoring system more aggressive, which is the system that cuts torque on turn in to shift weight onto the front wheels for more grip. It also more fully engages the all-wheel drive to help keep wheels turning at the same rate for stability. On hills, hill-holding comes into play, the idle is raised for smoothly transitioning to throttle, and the torque converter doesn't lock up as soon to help the car ease over objects.

There are a number of other interesting tidbits. The CX-50 will be the first Mazda to be offered with a panoramic sunroof, and it will be the first to be produced at the new joint Mazda and Toyota factory in Alabama. It goes on sale next spring, and pricing will likely be announced closer to release.

Update (Nov. 15, 2021 12:52 p.m.): Additional details and images added.

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