Skip to main content

With the press release for the newly redesigned CX-5, Mazda made the announcement that starting in 2022, AWD would be standard for all CX models. The i-Activ all-wheel-drive system will be in every CX-30, CX-5, CX-9, and CX-3, no matter the trim level. All of them were already available in AWD, but it was optional. Now, the FWD will fade out and Mazda’s entire lineup of crossovers can take you anywhere.

How does standard AWD affect pricing?

A dark gray 2021 Mazda CX-5 driving through a city.
2021 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

With this type of change comes the part Mazda, and any other automaker, won’t want to talk about. Everything is going to get a little bit more expensive. This isn’t too different, because the previously optional AWD models will likely remain the same price. It’s more about the fact that the less expensive versions will disappear. For example, the current 2021 CX-30 costs $24,625 in AWD and $23,225 in FWD. The FWD version will no longer be available, so the CX-30 will have a starting price of $24,625.

Why is Mazda making all CX models standard AWD?

A red 2021 Mazda CX-3 at a stop line. The Mazda CX-3 is one of the cheapest SUVs you can buy.
2021 Mazda CX-3 | Mazda

Mazda is looking to make more of a name for itself as a luxury brand. Competing with the likes of Infiniti, BMW, Lexus, and so many more, Mazda is a bit far behind. Those vehicle brands offer AWD as an option on just about every vehicle, or it is completely standard for certain models. The CX-9 in particular is a midsize SUV with tons of luxurious features. Nappa leather adorns the cabin and the center dashboard features a 10.25-inch display. It has seating for up to seven people and has plenty of safety and technology features.

What would all those features be without one of the most commonly requested features in a vehicle? AWD is a staple for many vehicle owners. Especially in the midsize SUV segment. Chances are if someone is shopping for a vehicle of that size, they are looking for something to fit their entire family into. Someone with a large family in the backseat is going to want peace of mind knowing the AWD system prevents traction loss, and the vehicle is that much safer. This is just another step in the direction of competing with other midsize SUVs like the BMW X5, Audi Q8, or Lincoln Aviator.

How does the Mazda AWD system work?

Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system works together with its G-Vectoring Control Plus to proactively adjust to changing road conditions. It constantly monitors the conditions of the road and sends varying amounts of power to each wheel to optimize traction and performance. i-Activ also features Off-road Traction Assist, which optimizes torque distribution and traction control for traversing uneven terrain.

The technology in Mazda’s AWD system tracks exactly where the vehicle is driving and ensures the vehicle is optimized for that surface. G-Vectoring Control Plus responds to steering inputs with engine torque and braking adjustments. Together with the AWD system, the Mazda crossover lineup drives smoother, is more stable, and gives better control.

With this new announcement, Mazda attempts to push itself into the luxury crossover segment. There’s still plenty of progress to be made, and with other automakers constantly updating and improving, it isn’t getting any less competitive. Still, the advanced AWD system Mazda provides as standard is a needed amenity for many. It will immediately help bolster the Mazda crossover lineup in 2022 and beyond. That’s why Mazda is making AWD standard for all CX models in 2022.


The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Might Be the Best Car I’ve Tested This Year