Huge range of electrified Mazda SUVs coming - and yes, a rotary range extender is happening in 2022
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Mazda has confirmed an onslaught of electrified SUV models for 2022-23 - including at least four for New Zealand.
But what isn't happening is the much talked-about CX-50, originally thought to be an upmarket alternative to the CX-5. That model does exist, but it's for the US only (built at a new Mazda-Toyota joint venture plant in Alabama) and belongs to Mazda's Small Product Group. So it's a sister SUV to the CX-30.
Instead, New Zealand will get another update of the existing CX-5 for 2022 (pictured above) - but eventually joined by an all-new SUV portfolio focused on an expanded range of replacements for the current CX-8 and CX-9 from its new Large Product Group.
While they are separate models, the current CX-8 and CX-9 do serve the same customer base: they're both seven-seaters, with the CX-8 being a narrow-body model (designed with Japan and Europe in mind) powered by a diesel engine, and the CX-9 a wide-body (created in and for the US) turbo-petrol SUV.
There are no fewer than four models set to replace the CX-8/9 in NZ. The narrow-body CX-80 seven-seater is a direct replacement for the CX-8, but Mazda will also offer a five-seat version called the CX-60.
Meanwhile, the CX-90 seven-seater will take over from the CX-9, but it will also be joined by a five-seat version called the CX-70. So it's odds and evens for the wide and narrow body badging.
Electrification is key to the new Large Product Group. No model or market-specific powertrain details have been shared as yet, but Mazda says it will "offer a variety of choices of electrified powertrains to respond to each country's electrification roadmap".
The lineup includes Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) with four-cylinder petrol engines, but also new-generation straight-six petrol and diesel powerplants, which will be paired with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Expect the PHEV powertrain to be more aligned with the narrow body models, while the petrol six is likely to be aimed more at the US-centric wide-body versions.
The new large platform supports both AWD and RWD, so it also opens the door to other more enthusiast-oriented offerings further down the track. Maybe even another MX sports car.
There's no commitment to a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV, pure-electric) SUV for the Large Product Group as yet, but Mazda says it will continue to establish its MX-30 BEV compact-SUV and in the same breath has confirmed it will introduce a plug-in powertrain that uses a rotary engine as a range extender in the first half of 2022.
There's a standalone EV platform (the MX-30 also comes as a mild hybrid) on the way from Mazda for 2025; the company promises it will have a completely electrified lineup by 2030.