June 26, 2022

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Mazda has three sporty crossovers, with AWD, available turbo engines

4 min read

Mazda has moved into the world of crossover utility vehicles over the past few years, and offers three models in the U.S. market, ranging from the family-size CX-9 to the subcompact five-passenger CX-30.

In between is the compact CX-5. Coming this spring is the new CX-50, which is similar to the size of the CX-5. There also is a battery-electric model, the MX-30, for 2022, but that vehicle for now is available only in California

A hallmark of Mazda vehicles throughout its history in the United States has been the driving experience, and today’s crop of SUVs is no exception.

Just like Mazda’s car models, the crossovers are fun to drive – which is a plus for vehicles that offer so much versatility. 

Mazda CX-30

Introduced for 2020, the CX-30 is a five-passenger small crossover designed for young people who are still single, or who are married and starting a family.

Eight trim levels are available: CX-30 2.5 S, $22,200; Select, $24,600; Preferred, $27,650; Carbon Edition, $28,290; 2.5 Turbo, $30,200; Premium, $30,500; 2.5 Turbo Premium, $32,800; and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus, $34,400. 

I-Active all-wheel drive is standard across the lineup, whereas it was a $1,400 option last year. 

Seven exterior colors are available: four standard (including new Polymetal Gray) and three premium colors ($200/$300/$595), depending on trim chosen. 

Interior colors and materials also vary depending on the trim and exterior color chosen.

The top-of-the-line Premium model has white leather seating. Lower models offer cloth or leatherette, in Black or Greige – depending on the trim.

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The Premium model adds standard Active Driving Display (head-up, on the windshield), Adaptive Front Lighting system, LED signature headlights/taillights, leather seating, power-sliding glass moon roof, steering wheel paddle shifters, power rear liftgate, and roof rails.  
Regular models are powered by a Skyactive-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 186-horsepower engine with cylinder-deactivation technology, paired with a Skyactive-Drive six-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode.

Turbo models have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 227 horsepower and a six-speed automatic. 

Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 is a compact crossover with seating for up to five, and is known for its sporty driving characteristics. 

For 2022, Mazda has updated the CX-5, and added the all-wheel drive as standard.

Performance-Enhancing i-Activ AWD Will Now be Standard on All Upcoming CX Models

Performance-Enhancing i-Activ AWD Will Now be Standard on All Upcoming CX Models

Hand-out/Mazda North American Operations

Mazda says the most-recognizable change is refreshed exterior styling, “focused on refining the front and rear ends, opting to minimize character lines in favor of reflective body surfaces that create a distinguished and elegant appearance.”

The front fascia has a new signature wing that extends outward from the front grille, which is also updated with a three-dimensional texture that replaces the previous mesh surface. 

Headlights and taillights have also been redesigned, with rectangular LED lights that create a sleek, eye-catching expression. All-new aluminum alloy wheels complete the transformation to help further the crossover’s urban and elegant appeal, Mazda says.

CX-5 turbo models have additional styling enhancements to further distinguish them  from non-turbo models.

A new 2.5 Turbo model, formerly the Grand Touring Reserve, “offers contemporary styling appealing for sport-minded enthusiasts, Mazda says, with gloss-black finishes throughout to support an athletic look. Inside, there are red accents and stitching. 

Under the hood of non-turbo models is Mazda’s Skyactiv 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower and 186 foot-pounds of torque. 

Turbo models have the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 227 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is used on all models.

Prices begin at $25,900 for the base front-wheel-drive Sport model, and run as high as $38,650 for the top-of-the-line 2.5 Turbo Signature model.

Mazda CX-9

After getting some upgrades and styling tweaks last year, the Mazda CX-9 midsize family crossover returns for 2022 with a new bonus: the i-Activ all-wheel drive is now standard across the lineup.

Last year, the all-wheel drive came at no extra cost only on the top-of-the-line Signature trim level, and was $1,900 extra on all other models.

The Mazda CX-9 now comes with standard all-wheel drive on all trim levels.

The Mazda CX-9 now comes with standard all-wheel drive on all trim levels.

Mazda North American Operations

Along with the all-wheel drive, the CX-9 also features off-road traction assist, which  helps maintain traction automatically on uneven surfaces. G-Vectoring Control Plus is also standard, designed to enhance steering response.

The CX-9 is aimed at young couples and modern families, but also is meant for older empty-nesters who pursue active lifestyles.

Now in its second generation, the CX-9 can hold up to seven passengers in its standard configuration, with two bucket seats up front, a middle-row three-person bench seat, and a two-person third-row bench seat.

With dual captain’s chairs instead of the bench seat in the middle row, the CX-9 has room for up to six passengers.

For 2022, CX-9 prices begin at $35,280 (plus $1,225 freight) for the base Sport model, and top out at $47,210 for the Signature model, which we tested for this report.

In between are the Touring model ($37,430; new-for-2022 Touring Plus model ($41,660);  Carbon Edition ($43,580); and Grand Touring ($44,440). Each model builds on the features of the ones below it.

Powering all CX-9 models is the turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine, which is rated at 227 horsepower and 310 foot-pounds when using regular gas (87 octane). But that can jump to 250 horsepower when using premium fuel.

It’s connected to a six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission.

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