Mazda has won over plenty of fans with its famous MX-5 Miata, but that’s not all the brand has to offer. Its lineup of crossovers pairs comfort and style seamlessly and is full of vehicles that are both practical and fun to drive. Mazda dealer lots are full of various CX models, and soon there will be even more to choose from, as the CX-70 and CX-90 have been announced. With such similar names and functions, it can be hard to keep these models straight, but each one brings something unique to the table, so let’s take a look at Mazda’s collection of CUVs.
What Is a Crossover?
Crossovers are also referred to as crossover SUVs or crossover utility vehicles (CUVs). From that, it’s easy to infer that crossovers are related to SUVs. Whether or not they should fall under the category of “SUV” is debatable. The classification “sport utility vehicle” doesn’t have an agreed-upon definition, and some include crossovers, while others draw a distinction between the two.
The main difference between a crossover and a traditional SUV is that crossovers are built with unibody construction, meaning that the body and frame are a single structure. Most passenger cars are also built in this manner, while most SUVs are built with a body-on-frame platform, making them more structurally similar to off-road vehicles and trucks. This means that SUVs are better for off-roading and towing; however, crossovers are generally more comfortable to drive, more affordable, and have better fuel economy.
The CX-5 has an affordable price tag but the look and feel of a luxury vehicle. As of the 2022 model year, all trims come standard with all-wheel drive, so you can expect great traction and control. Its smooth body shape matches the smooth ride it provides, thanks to its impressive suspension. The supportive seats add to the level of comfort for drivers and passengers.
What really sets the CX-5 apart from other options in its price range is its classy interior. Both the gear selector and steering wheel are leather-wrapped across all trims. There are plenty of useful storage compartments placed throughout, from a sunglasses holder in the overhead console to seatback pockets on both the passenger and driver’s seats. Infotainment can be accessed via a 10.25” display and operated using controls built into the steering wheel.
Pairing the style and feel of the CX-5 with an extra row of seating, the CX-9 offers a roomy interior while still driving like a champ. Its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides up to 320 lb-ft of torque, and its steering takes corners easily. This mix of family-friendly space and sporty driving earned an Editors’ Choice Award from Car and Driver in 2022.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control comes standard on all CX-9 trims. Instead of just driving at a fixed speed, this system uses radar to figure out the relative speed and distance of the car ahead and automatically adjusts to keep a safe following distance. Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is also a standard feature, so you can drive safely, knowing that you have the latest technology on your side.
With a more compact design, the CX-30 is the most affordable model in this lineup, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. When paired with the turbocharged engine option, it has up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Fans of Mazda’s sportier offerings will appreciate how responsive and fun to drive the CX-30 is; its smaller size makes it nimble and well-suited to twists and turns.
Those who find a large touchscreen distracting and difficult to operate while driving will appreciate that the CX-30’s infotainment system uses tactile controls. The dial in the center console is within easy reach for both the driver and front-seat passenger, and the screen rises above the dashboard, putting it at eye level so that the driver can glance at it easily without taking their eyes off the road. The CX-30 also features Mazda Connected Services, which lets you lock, unlock, and monitor the vehicle via the MyMazda app. You can even start the engine remotely using your smartphone, which can come in handy to let the car warm up a bit on a cold winter morning or get the AC going on a hot summer afternoon.
Introduced for the 2023 model year, the CX-50 is designed with adventure in mind. Where other options in the lineup have a more refined appearance, the CX-50 has a rugged style that won’t look out of place at a national park. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and this CUV has plenty of useful features that back up its trail-ready exterior.
Drivers can switch between four different driving modes to optimize responsiveness and traction, depending on the situation. Normal mode strikes a balance between fuel economy and performance for everyday use, such as driving down city streets and highways. Sport mode provides a more dynamic driving experience by prioritizing responsiveness. If you’re leaving paved lanes behind on an adventure into the wilderness, the off-road mode can coordinate the engine’s torque and brakes to give you extra traction on rough terrain. Finally, some trims offer towing mode, which takes the weight being towed into account to make controlling the car more intuitive for the driver.
There’s plenty of room for coolers, backpacks, and more in the back and the floor of the cargo area is flush with the liftgate opening, making it easier to unload heavier items. There’s even a rear power liftgate that can be programmed to automatically open to a specific height, so it’s never out of reach when you’re ready to close it. If the interior doesn’t give you enough room to fit all your gear, you can utilize the high-strength roof rails to bring your tent, bike, or kayak.
Upcoming: The CX-70 and CX-90
While the current models offer customers plenty of options, there’s always room to grow. One upcoming addition to the Mazda crossover family is the CX-70. While not all the details have been released yet, we know that it’s set to be a mid-size model with two rows of seats, and it should have more interior space than the current CX-5. Thanks to Mazda’s new longitudinal architecture, the engine’s layout is designed to improve handling and performance, making it even more enjoyable to drive. For the powertrain, you’ll be able to choose between an inline-six-cylinder engine and a plug-in hybrid option that can help you save money on gas.
A three-row crossover called the CX-90 has also been announced. It will have a plug-in hybrid option and make use of a longitudinal
as well. While not all of the details about this model have been released, we know that it’s going to be replacing the CX-9. So you can expect to see the features you know and love from the CX-9 in a new and improved design.
Starting with the 2022 model year, Mazda has made its i-Activ all-wheel drive standard across the CX lineup, which is great news for anyone who lives and drives in an area where roads are sometimes covered in ice and snow. While all-wheel drive provides more power and traction, it also uses more fuel. This is where Mazda’s high-tech i-Activ system comes in. A variety of sensors monitor road conditions in real-time and can automatically distribute torque from full front-wheel drive to full all-wheel drive or somewhere in-between.
Strength in Variety
The various offerings in Mazda’s CX lineup have different strengths and styles, but they all offer great looks paired with useful features, making it easy for drivers to transport passengers or cargo in comfort. Standard all-wheel drive makes the CUVs ready for a wide range of road conditions, and high-tech safety features let you feel at ease behind the wheel, knowing that your car has your back. Whether you’re looking to travel off the beaten path, commute to the office, or get your family where they need to go, there’s sure to be a CX model that’s right for you.