by Karl Furlong
In the 1990s, Mazda had grand ambitions to launch a luxury arm called Amati that would effectively be its answer to Acura in the United States. While plans for the Amati brand were shelved, that hasn't stopped the Japanese marque from forging ahead with increasingly premium cars in recent years. The upcoming, yet-to-be-revealed CX-70 is one of them.
This two-row mid-size crossover will be America's version of the recently launched CX-60 in Europe. It will feature unique styling and be underpinned by Mazda's new longitudinal architecture. With both inline-six and plug-in hybrid powertrains, along with a top-class interior, it promises a better driving experience than its traditional Korean and Japanese rivals.
The Amati brand may have never seen the light of day, but Mazda's desire to be taken seriously as a premium automaker is very much alive.
A release date for the Mazda CX-70 is anticipated for some time in 2023, with a reveal coming before then. It will be coming out above the CX-50 but below the CX-9 in Mazda's lineup. The future three-row CX-90 will also be positioned above the CX-70.
An MSRP of around $35,000 seems like a logical starting price for the 2023 Mazda CX-70. Official pricing hasn't been revealed yet, of course, but this price point would reflect the model's more upmarket positioning than the CX-50. For a fully loaded plug-in hybrid model, expect to pay closer to $50,000.
If the prices above are accurate, the cost of the new Mazda CX-70 crossover will overlap with many capable two-row crossovers like the Hyundai Sante Fe, Kia Sorento, and Honda Passport. However, based on what we know about the CX-70, we expect it to be a more upscale alternative to all of these. Because of that, it could also be cross shopped with the Cadillac XT5 and, dare we say it, some of Germany's compact crossovers.
At this stage, the exterior of the Mazda CX-70 hasn't been revealed. We expect it to share some styling elements with the CX-60 but with a sportier profile than that car. We know that the CX-70 will be wider than the CX-60 (pictured below), and it could come with a more aggressively sloping roofline that is so popular in the USA. The stunning RX-Vision Concept could also serve as inspiration for the new CX-70.
The CX-60 incorporates the brand's Kodo-Soul of Motion design language which aims to express both toughness and sophistication. We expect the CX-70 to have either its own interpretation of the brand's pentagonal grille design, or it could have a much slimmer grille like the MX-30 EV. The CX-60's uncluttered lines should be mirrored by the CX-70 in a sportier fashion, with defined wheel arches. However, don't expect the CX-70 to come with the rugged trimmings of the CX-50.
LED headlights, a panoramic roof, a power tailgate, and rear privacy glass are just a few of the features customers will expect of a vehicle with premium aspirations. We don't know what all of the Mazda CX-70 colors will be, but the company's new Rhodium White that first appeared on the CX-60 would be a nice addition. We also expect to see the brand's signature Soul Red Crystal as well as Machine Grey.
Although it will be wider than the CX-60, the dimensions of the Mazda CX-70 are expected to be close to that model. For reference, the CX-60 measures 186.8 inches in length, 74.4 inches in width excluding the mirrors, and 65.9 inches in height when riding on 18-inch wheels. The CX-60 has a 113-inch wheelbase.
As with its dimensions, the CX-70 should be around about as heavy as the CX-60. In the UK, the CX-60 has a starting cub weight of 4,698 pounds including a driver weighing 165 lbs. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the CX-70 is likely to weight even more than this.
This is where the latest generation of Mazda SUVs are likely to elevate themselves above mainstream competitors from Japan and Korea. Underpinning the CX-70 will be a new longitudinal architecture. Although this often intrudes on cabin space, it lends itself to superior weight distribution, sportier handling, and more space for larger engines.
Two Mazda CX-70 engine types are expected at this stage, those being a new inline six-cylinder mill and a plug-in hybrid. In the CX-60, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) combines a 2.5-liter Skyactiv 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor for total system outputs of 322 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It's this powertrain that we expect to see in the CX-70 PHEV, too. Expect a 0-60 time in the mid-five-second range since the CX-60 PHEV takes 5.8 seconds to complete the 0-62 mph dash. Mazda's new eight-speed automatic transmission should feature.
As for the inline-six mill, the latest reports indicate that it'll be a 3.3-liter turbocharged unit with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. That sounds impressive, but the powertrain seems to be tuned more for efficiency than anything else as it produces a slightly underwhelming 280 hp and 331 lb-ft. That makes it only slightly more powerful than Mazda's current turbo-four in the CX-5. Still, being an inline-six, it is likely to deliver a much more satisfying exhaust note than rival SUVs' four-pot engines.
In Europe, a smaller 3.0-liter e-Skyactiv X gas engine and a 3.3-liter e-Skyactiv D diesel engine are coming for the CX-60, but the diesel is highly unlikely to make it stateside in the CX-70.
Although all CX-70 models are expected to boast the i-Activ all-wheel-drive system as standard, the longitudinal layout suggests that there may be a rear-wheel-drive option, too. In summary, we expect the new CX-70 to deliver a nicer driving experience than its rivals, even if it won't be the quickest mid-size crossover around.
Mazda has claimed a decent all-electric range of 39 miles for the CX-60 PHEV from its 17.8-kWh battery. With the same powertrain, the CX-70 PHEV should return something similar, although the CX-60's range is based on the more optimistic WLTP cycle.
If the CX-70 will be based on the CX-60, we can glean some information about charging that may apply. Mazda's specs for the CX-60 PHEV state that its battery can be replenished from 20% to 80% in 90 minutes with a 7.4 kW AC home charger, or from 0% to 100% in two hours and 20 minutes. Mazda claims a scarcely believable 1.5 liters/100 km or 188.3 mpg for this powertrain in Europe, but we'd wait for more information and the EPA's official MPGe rating before we get too excited about the CX-70 PHEV. As for the 3.3-liter gas engine, it will undoubtedly use more gas, but we'll have to wait for more information about this powertrain before we can publish any estimates.
As with the exterior, the interior of the Mazda CX-70 remains a mystery at this stage. If it's anything like the CX-60 (pictured above and below), though, there is much to look forward to. The older CX-5 and CX-9 have already impressed us through the years with their classy cabins, but the new CX-60 is even better.
The cabin is said to introduce the ideas of Kaichou, described as "an element of disruption which mixes different materials and textures." Not only does it look like a design Audi would be proud of, but the inside of the CX-60 comes with gorgeous materials like maple wood, Nappa leather, chrome, and Japanese textiles. We expect the seats in the CX-70 to come with leather on most trims.
Mazda's usual ergonomically-friendly layout should be present in the CX-70, along with physical knobs and buttons for often-used features. However, there will still be a modern color display, possibly up to 12.3 inches, and an available head-up display.
The safety specification should be at least as good as the current CX-9. To that end, one can look forward to lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and radar cruise control all being standard.
One area where Mazda crossovers aren't necessarily the best is in cargo capacity, and with the new CX-70's longitudinal architecture with RWD or AWD, we don't expect this to change. The CX-60 has just over 20 cubic feet of space behind its second row, so the cargo space in the Mazda CX-70 is unlikely to be much better than this.
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