Mazda CX-50 Could Kill the Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 is a wildly successful vehicle. It’s the best-selling model in the Mazda lineup and it’s well-regarded by automotive critics with its upscale design, impressive performance, and many premium features. However, an all-new Mazda model could eventually kill the CX-5: the Mazda CX-50.

Will the Mazda CX-50 replace the Mazda CX-5?

2023 Mazda CX-50 driving on a rocky road near a lake
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

With the enormous success that the CX-5 has achieved, why would Mazda kill it? Why would the automaker discontinue it? 

This week, Mazda unveiled the first-ever CX-50. It has a similar size as the CX-5, but it’s more capable off-road and has more rugged styling. The first reason why the CX-50 could kill the CX-5 is precedent. Mazda replaced the CX-3 with the CX-30 and may do the same with the CX-5 and CX-50.

The second reason is off-road capabilities. Crossovers and SUVs that can travel off the beaten path are all the rage these days. With the greater off-road capabilities of the CX-50, Mazda rides the wave of this trend.

The third reason is the vehicle platform. While Mazda could completely redesign the CX-5 to give it more off-road capabilities, it would likely need to create a new vehicle platform. This would be a very expensive endeavor. It makes more sense financially to go with the CX-50, which rides on a different platform than the CX-5, despite its similar size. While some customers have loyalty to the CX-5 brand name, the CX-50 name is not very different, and it could be a smooth transition.

Mazda CX-50 vs. Mazda CX-5: What are the differences?

Red 2022 Mazda CX-5 driving on a curvy road
2022 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

As mentioned earlier, the Mazda CX-50 has more rugged styling and greater off-road capabilities than the CX-5. While both crossover SUVs have a standard all-wheel drive system, the CX-50 has higher ground clearance than the CX-5 for driving over uneven and rocky terrain. Also, while the CX-5 has a Sport mode, the CX-50 adds off-road and towing modes. 

Not only does the styling of the CX-50 create a rugged look, but it also protects the crossover from the abuse of off-road adventures. It has bumper trim that looks similar to skid plates, as well as black cladding on the wheel wells. Furthermore, the CX-50 offers options and accessories to aid off-road excursions, such as a roof rack and all-terrain tires.

For its initial release, the Mazda CX-50 will offer the same engine options as the Mazda CX-5: a 187-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Also, according to Mazda, the CX-50 will offer a hybrid model at a later date.

While the CX-50 and CX-5 have a very similar size, the CX-50 is slightly longer than the CX-5. Mazda claims that this extra length creates more space for the rear seat passengers.

When will the Mazda CX-5 be discontinued?

Blue 2023 Mazda CX-50 driving near a river
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

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It’s not a “for sure thing” that Mazda will discontinue the CX-5. However, as detailed earlier, this course of action is likely, given the precedent of replacing the CX-3 with the CX-30, the greater off-road capabilities of the CX-50, and the financial implications of creating a new platform for the CX-5 when Mazda already has a new one for the CX-50. 

However, this is not an action that Mazda will implement overnight. If Mazda decides to discontinue the CX-5, it probably won’t happen for several years. Until then, Mazda will likely sell the CX-50 and CX-5 side-by-side and then gradually phase out the CX-5.

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