Mazda may not have the scope and breadth of larger competitors such as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, but it does claim a solid following in the U.S. market. This automaker is making moves as it updates and transitions its fleet, with electrification arriving full force in 2025.
New Models, All-Wheel Drive, PHEVs, and an Inline-Six
Between now and 2025, Mazda has several changes afoot. To begin, the company announced the MX-30, its first all-electric model. Arriving this fall, the MX-30 will serve the California market only, and is limited to just 560 copies. Further, the EV has a projected range of only 100 miles and that’s considerably less than the 250 miles of other new EVs such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4.
We see the Mazda MX-30 as simply a compliance model, enabling the automaker to meet the California Air Resource Board’s exacting requirements. Moreover, the electric Mazda targets couples, including people who need a commuter vehicle and likely have a gas model as their other vehicle. No pricing details are available yet, but we see the MX-30 costing perhaps $35,000 before federal and state incentives come in.
Standard All-Wheel Drive
Mazda also announced that each of its CX models, which are represented by crossovers, will come with standard all-wheel drive. That is an approach taken by Subaru for all its models except for the rear-wheel-drive BRZ. The shift is part of the company’s initiative to make Mazda more of a premium brand, like Buick and, of course, Subaru.
The changes are far from finished as Mazda has five new models in the pipeline, including a compact CX-50 model arriving this fall. The new crossover will supplement the CX-5, but it will share its platform with the CX-30. Both models are underpinned by Mazda’s new small vehicle platform.
Large Vehicle Platform
Above the CX-50 are four new models: the CX-60, CX-70, CX-80, and the CX-90. The CX-60 and CX-80 will serve overseas markets, while the CX-70 and CX-90 will serve the North American market. The CX-70 (two rows) and CX-90 (three rows) are midsize models with the latter replacing the CX-9. Pricing and other model details are pending. All four vehicles share a common large vehicle architecture that was introduced by Mazda this year.
The last change announced by Mazda involves powertrains. Specifically, an all-new 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine will power the CX-70 and CX-90 models. It won’t be the only powertrain available for these two models as Mazda will offer a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle variant for both. That powertrain will include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and at least one electric motor. We believe the engine will come from Toyota. Indeed, the entire hybrid system might come from Toyota, which happens to hold a stake in Mazda.
Alabama Joint Manufacturing Plant
Speaking of Toyota, that company partnered to construct a factory in Alabama with Mazda. The first model, the Toyota Corolla Cross, inaugurated the plant when production commenced in late September. The Mazda CX-50 will also be built there.
Once the new models are in place by 2023, Mazda’s lineup will be comprised of four crossover utility vehicles. A fifth model, the CX-5, is not likely to continue for long. On the car front, the Mazda6 disappears after 2021. That leaves the Miata MX-5 and the Mazda3 as its lone remaining car models. Thus, Mazda’s modified lineup is overwhelmingly tilted to crossovers, in keeping with customer demand.
Lastly, while the Mazda MX-30 introduces full electrification to the brand, more models will follow. Beginning in 2025, a dedicated electric vehicle platform rolls out. Thus, it will initiate Mazda’s pivot to electric vehicles, with many changes to follow.