With the announcement that a hybrid drivetrain will be offered in the US-market 2022 CX-50, the likelihood of a hybrid CX-5 grows stronger
The recently unveiled CX-50 midsize SUV is positioned as a more premium alternative to the CX-5 in North America and shares its platform DNA with the Mazda 3 small car and CX-30 small SUV.
The CX-50 will go on sale in early 2022 with both naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions of the 2.5-litre ‘SkyActiv-G’ petrol engine currently offered in the CX-5 here in Australia.
Mazda stated at the reveal this week that “in the coming years, the CX-50 will also be offered with electrified powertrains, including a traditional hybrid model” but made no mention of when it will become available, or where the electrified option will come from.
A potential solution could be found in its partnership with Toyota, with Mazda sharing a joint-venture production facility with the Japanese automotive giant to build the CX-50 at the new Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) plant in Huntsville, Alabama.
The partnership could give Mazda access to several hybrid engine options including the 2.5-litre petrol-electric four found in the RAV4 midsize SUV and the smaller 1.8-litre unit from the C-HR and Corolla Cross small SUVs.
Another option is Mazda could build its own hybrid system from scratch, be that a self-charging series parallel that specialises in cutting overall fuel consumption or a plug-in hybrid system that provides a short driving distance on electric power only.
Mazda has already announced plans to fit a plug-in hybrid option to its next generation of premium vehicles such as the CX-60 and CX-80 so this could be adapted for the CX-50 and subsequently the not dissimilar CX-5.
While the Japanese manufacturer already offers a modest 24-volt mild-hybrid system on vehicles such as the Mazda 3 (in the G20e), it has announced plans to introduce a more comprehensive 48-volt system in the future.
This would be the easiest solution for Mazda however neither will offer the fuel economy or performance benefits typically associated with a self-charging or plug-in hybrid system.
The CX-5 is currently the second best-selling midsize SUV in Australia but it has regularly fallen short of the Toyota RAV4 in sales in recent times due, in part, to its lack of a hybrid drivetrain option.
Self-charging hybrid powertrains (that do not need to be plugged in) have become increasingly popular in Australia for a number of reasons including the significantly improved fuel economy, reduction in noise and the instant torque available from the electric motors.
Year-to-date in Australia, hybrid models account for greater than 70 percent of total RAV4 volume in 2021.
Regardless, electrification is clearly on Mazda’s agenda, with buyers becoming increasingly conscious of their fuel usage and environmental footprint. And it seems like only a matter of time before a fuel-sipping hybrid makes its way into the big-selling CX-5.
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