Mazda's best-seller looks great as an EV.
Mazda's electrification strategy is taking off, starting with the MX-30's arrival in the United States. Though we think the MX-30 looks pretty cool with its suicide rear doors and range extender engine, Mazda only plans to offer it in California at launch. Such a limited vehicle is hard to get excited over, but Mazda has other electric vehicles in the pipeline. The company's new SkyActiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture will arrive between 2025 and 2030, underpinning five hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, and three EVs. Among those three EVs, we expect at least one to be an electric Mazda CX-5.
It's still a bit unclear what the future holds for the CX-5, but Mazda's electrification announcement helps us piece together the puzzle. We think a CX-5 EV is a full gone conclusion at this point, one which Mazda would be silly not to pursue given it's the company's best-seller. The question is, what will this model be like?
The Mazda 6 was recently discontinued for the US market, and all signs point to its replacement riding on Mazda's upcoming Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture with a SkyActiv-X inline-six engine under the hood. This same platform should underpin the next-generation CX-5, which could spawn a coupe-like CX-50 variant. Mazda says its new architecture will support transverse engines on smaller cars, longitudinal engines (likely the inline-six) on larger cars, and all-electric drivetrains. If the electric CX-5 arrives using this platform, we expect it to route power to the rear wheels, with optional all-wheel-drive.
Another possibility is Mazda's SkyActive EV Scalable Architecture, a second platform dedicated solely to EVs. This architecture won't arrive until 2025, spawning "various vehicle sizes and body types." We know even less about this upcoming platform, but Mazda will work closely with Toyota in the future, so it could borrow Toyota's e-TNGA platform.
It's unclear if the rumored CX-50 will replace the CX-5 or arrive as an additional model slotted below the CX-9. Either way, we would not be shocked to see the electric CX-5 (or CX-50) adopt a sloped roofline in the back to improve the aerodynamic efficiency. We've already imagined what the gas-powered CX-50 might look like (pictured below in grey), so transforming it into an electric model (pictured above in white) wasn't too difficult.
Our electric CX-5 interpretation borrows the gas model's styling but now includes a smaller grille up front. Since there's no inline-six engine under the hood, less air flow is needed for cooling. We've changed up the wheels and added the black roofline from the MX-30, plus the obvious addition of a charging port. To make the design slightly more aerodynamic, we swapped the conventional door handles for flush units. If Mazda's next electric model looks this curvaceous, it could be a sales success.
Until we see the next-generation Mazda 6, it's tough to predict what the electric CX-5 will look like inside. If it takes elements from the MX-30 it could feature a unique floating center console, which houses the shifter and infotainment controller. The EV also uses more sustainable materials in the cabin, including cork trim and fibrous textile upholstery made from recycled bottles. There is a small touchscreen to control the climate controls, though the main infotainment system remains non-touch. Even if the electric CX-5 doesn't end up exactly like the MX-30, we have no doubt the cabin will have a premium fit and finish.
Mazda's next-generation EV drivetrains remain a mystery. However, it's safe to say that an electric CX-5 will have a higher output than the MX-30, which only produces 144 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. The most potent gas-powered CX-5 uses a 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv engine putting out 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, so the electric version should comfortably surpass these numbers.
For Mazda to compete with existing EV models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, the electric CX-5 should travel at least 250 miles on a charge. Keep in mind, though, this model won't arrive for several years, by which time the competition could improve their range. Mazda could offer a unique rotary-powered range extender, giving buyers a unique reason to buy it over a competing EV.
An electric Mazda CX-5 will have far broader appeal than the MX-30. Mazda's first EV is a strange little vehicle with rear-hinged doors that will only be sold in California, so we doubt it will sell in huge numbers. As for the CX-5 EV, it would be the perfect size to compete with the Mustang Mach-E and ID.4, assuming it arrives at a low enough price. A CX-5 Signature currently tops out at $37,505, so an electric model would be at least that much. If Mazda could crack the $40,000 barrier, the electric CX-5 could sway buyers away from Ford and VW.