Mazda CX-5 replacement to get rear-wheel drive and inline 6?

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Words: Matthew Hansen
1 Dec 2020

It’s odd to think that the current Mazda CX-5 is on the edge of celebrating its fifth birthday — a surprising revelation given how well its Kodo exterior has aged over time. An all-new replacement for the model is apparently on the way in 2023. And, according to reports from Japan, it could signal radical change for the nameplate.

Japanese outlet BestCarWeb.jp has reported that the next-gen CX-5 could be moving to the same rear-wheel drive platform as the next-gen Mazda6. It’s been suggested that the move could see the CX-5 share some power plants with the new Six (something the two models already do), with rumours abound that the model could adopt Mazda’s newly developed inline six.

Mazda recently showcased this engine for the first time as part of its third-quarter financial presentation. While it’s yet to be formally confirmed, the inline six has been widely tipped to be used in the next-gen Mazda6. Plug-in hybrid and 48-volt mild hybrid variants of the engine are also on the horizon, as are range extenders based on rotary technology.

A rear-driven, inline-six CX-5 might sound a little strange in concept. But, it makes some sense when you consider Mazda’s aspirations to move upmarket and be considered as a bridge manufacturer between Japanese mainstream rivals and premium German metal. The rear-drive platform is also likely to be offered with all-wheel drive, too.

As with plenty of these reports, they’re worth taking with a grain of salt. BestCarWeb’s article is just one contributor to the CX-5’s rumour mill. Earlier reports from other outlets have indicated that Mazda could be retiring the CX-5 nameplate in favour of ‘CX-50’ as a replacement. BestCarWeb, on the other hand, writes that the CX-5 is here to stay, but will soon be joined by a coupe-shaped CX-50 sister-model (not unlike the CX-30).

Elsewhere, it’s been reported that Mazda’s European replacement for the diminutive 2 subcompact is set to be based on the all-new Toyota Yaris, which debuted earlier this year. The two marques have had similar dealings in the past, with America’s version of the Yaris formerly being based on the Mazda2. But, Europe’s motoring rumour mill seems to believe that the pairing could reverse roles in coming years.

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