2022 Mazda CX-5: Next-generation mid-size SUV spied for the first time

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Next-generation medium SUV caught for the first time, with modern styling clothing a rear-wheel drive powertrain.

The next-generation 2022 Mazda CX-5 (or CX-50, as some rumours suggest it could be called) has been spied testing for the first time in the US.

Images published exclusively by American outlet The Fast Lane Car show Mazda’s new CX-5 mid-size SUV won’t stray too far in the visual department from the current model, with ‘conventional’ SUV proportions, sharp rear haunch lines, and slim lighting units and grilles in line with the Japanese brand’s wider range.

Up front, a slimmer, more contemporary interpretation of Mazda’s corporate grille is flanked by inset headlight units, with what appears to be a faux metallic skid plate sitting below.

While the bonnet features a subtle bulge along its centre, likely to fit the much-rumoured inline-six engine, the crossover’s dash-to-axle ratio – the distance between the A-pillar and front axle, with a larger spacing typically associated with rear-wheel-drive vehicles – isn’t significantly longer than that of the current model.

The door panels are devoid of any sharp creases (as per the smaller Mazda 3 hatch and CX-30 SUV), while at the rear there’s a pair of freestanding LED tail-lights, a sporty roof spoiler, and dual exhaust tips.

The angle the images were captured from makes interior details hard to discern, however it’s likely a similar freestanding central screen similar to the CX-30’s 8.8-inch unit will feature (albeit larger, to the tune of around 10 inches).

Under the skin is all but confirmed to be Mazda’s new rear- and all-wheel-drive ‘Large’ architecture – a significant departure from the front-wheel-drive-based architecture of today’s CX-5 – that’s set to be shared with the next-generation Mazda 6 sedan and wagon.

Powering cars on the new Large architecture will be a selection of inline-four and inline-six petrol and diesel engines, mounted longitudinally under the bonnet (front to rear, versus the current model’s left to right layout) and offering varying levels of electrification, from a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to a full plug-in hybrid set-up.

Mazda’s innovative SkyActiv-X technology will feature, after debuting on a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the 3 and CX-30 X20 Astina vehicles.

Purported leaked information posted on Spanish forum Cochespias suggests the CX-5 will be offered with a pair of inline-six engines on higher grades at launch: a 3.0-litre SkyActiv-X mild-hybrid petrol unit developing 210kW and 340Nm, and a 3.3-litre diesel mill producing 210kW and 600Nm.

Entry-level and mid-spec models will reportedly offer a choice of three four-cylinders: a 140kW/270Nm 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated mild-hybrid petrol engine, a 169kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo-petrol unit, and a 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel motor – all of which are currently offered in today’s CX-5 in various forms.

Rear-wheel drive is understood to be standard, with all-wheel drive likely to be offered as an option.

Japanese publication Best Car claims the new CX-5 will measure 4600mm long and 1680mm high – 50mm longer and 5mm taller than the outgoing car.

Buyers keen on a more stylish package will reportedly be able to opt for a coupe-styled CX-50 model, according to Best Car, with a 60mm lower roofline than its CX-5 sibling. Spy shots of that model have yet to surface, nor has Mazda officially confirmed its existence.

While Best Car claims the 2022 Mazda CX-5 will launch in late 2022 – followed by the CX-50 in mid-2023 – the minimal camouflage worn by the US prototype spied suggests a global unveiling could occur as early as sometime this year.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for the all latest.

Below: Best Car’s illustration of the new Mazda CX-5 (brown) and CX-50 (blue)

Below: The current Mazda CX-5

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