Mazda Doubles Down on Crossovers; Debuts Inline Six-Cylinder Engine

Mazda CX-30
Beginning in 2022, all Mazda CX models come with standard all-wheel drive.

Mazda is seeking a larger stake in the automotive market and intends to do so with five new utility vehicles appearing over the next two years. The Japanese automaker will introduce three new models for the U.S. market, including a compact CX-50 and midsize CX-70 (two-row) and CX-90 (three-row) crossovers.

Two other crossovers, the CX-60 and CX-80 are headed to other markets. Mazda may retain some of the current models with single numerical designations such as the CX-5. Further, the company is also releasing the MX-30, an electric crossover.

Inline Six-Cylinder Engine

But the news does not stop there as Mazda has a new engine on the way. Specifically, a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with a 48-volt hybrid assist will power some of the new models. Also, word has it that the company is building its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle offerings with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine planned. The PHEV’s engine may come from Toyota, which has a stake in Mazda. The two automakers recently launched a joint plant in Alabama with the Toyota Corolla Cross inaugurating production.

Two new vehicle platforms underpin Mazda’s crop of new crossovers. The CX-50 shares the automaker’s small vehicle architecture with the CX-30. On the other hand, Mazda’s new longitudinal architecture designed for the inline-six and plug-in hybrids will support the CX-70 and CX-90.

The timing of the new models begins with the CX-50 appearing in November and production added to the Alabama plant early next year. As for the CX-70 and CX-90, both models will be in place by 2023.

Compliance EV

The Mazda MX-30 presents an interesting wrinkle in this automaker’s electrification plans.

First, it is the company’s inaugural fully dedicated all-electric model. Mazda has long trailed the big competitors in this area, but it seeks to close the gap quickly over the next few years.

Second, Mazda plans to import just 560 copies of the MX-30 to the U.S., limiting its availability to California. In effect, the MX-30 is a compliance vehicle, designed to meet the Golden State’s strict regulatory requirements. Those requirements are outlined and enforced by the powerful California Air Resource Board (CARB).

Third, as a compliance vehicle, Mazda isn’t going all out to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E. Those models supply a range of approximately 250 miles, while the MX-30 will travel just 100 miles on a full charge.

Short Range

Is Mazda short charging its customers, pun intended? It may seem that way with a smaller battery pack and subsequently limited range, but then the automaker may have something else in mind.

In particular, the company likely sees the California market as unique, with vehicle owners typically driving an hour or two each way to work. Then, once at work, connecting their EVs for a full charge for enough juice to get them home. At home, the cycle repeats itself with owners connecting their EVs until charged again.

The target audience Mazda has in mind for its EV probably isn’t families, rather commuters. Here, a couple may have another vehicle, such as a standard gas model. That other model may cover all their other driving needs, including long trips. Meanwhile, the EV serves its role well as a commuter car that also happens to be far more versatile for those who need that.

Mazda and Electric Vehicles

Lastly, we expect Mazda will begin offering a wide range of other full-electric vehicles starting in 2025. That is when its new electric vehicle platform comes out, enabling this automaker to pivot to full electrification if it chooses.


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Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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