Mazda is giving one of its most important cars a mid-life makeover.
Although the cars pictured here feature Chinese badging on their boot, Mazda differs from its rivals by offering its standard global range in China.
Only the CX-4 coupe-crossover is unique to China; the rest of the cars produced as part of its FAW and Changan joint ventures are closely linked to those offered elsewhere in the world.
In other words, it’s likely the car you see here is the one that’ll go global.
First launched in 2017, an updated CX-5 would give Mazda more ammunition to fight in Australia’s most competitive segment.
Currently, the CX-5 is the best-selling Mazda in Australia. It sits second in its VFACTS segment behind the Toyota RAV4.
Mazda has released a number of updates to its core models in Japan recently, most of which have made the trip to Australia in some form.
It’s likely any CX-5 update will make it Down Under, although it’s not clear what that will look like.
The headlights on the leaked car have new graphics, as do the tail lights, while the grille has been tweaked with a more prominent chrome surround.
The leaked images follow reports the updated Toyota RAV4 rival will be launched in Japan during December, after orders for the current model were suspended at the end of August.
Mazda will also reportedly offer new appearance packages: one an off-road oriented one with all-season tyres, the other a sporty one with a black grille.
There are also said to be some tweaks to the suspension and the structure.
A new paint colour, Zircon Sand Metallic, will also be added.
Given it’s already been updated once, you might be wondering why Mazda is preparing another major tweak for the CX-5.
It could be gearing up to sell the current model alongside the new rear/all-wheel drive CX-50. After all, it’s taken a similar approach with the CX-3 and CX-30.
Mazda Australia’s managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, has previously confirmed there’s a new mid-sized SUV coming with a dramatically different drivetrain.
“[For] CX-5 and above on the large platform, inline six will be an option, and rear-wheel drive,” Mr Bhindi said.
“So, those things are going to be available to us where it fits in. We just have to see when the final product is signed off”.
A recent report by BestCarWeb indicated the new CX-5 would enter production in December 2022, offering both petrol and diesel inline-six engines.
Before then, a redesigned Mazda 6 on the new Large Architecture will reportedly enter production in March 2022.
Displacing 3.0 or 3.3 litres, the new inline-six petrol and diesel engines will be available with 48V mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology.
The Japanese outlet also reported the new mid-sized SUV could be sold alongside the existing CX-5, and could offer four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines at the entry level.
Suppliers have told Nikkei Asia production of the new models will ramp up to 300,000 units during the fiscal year ending in March 2025, or just under a fifth of Mazda’s global sales.
When asked earlier this year if the next-generation Large Architecture products would be gunning for established luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Mr Bhindi said the product strategy will stay true to the brand’s philosophy of offering premium products that also focus on value and the driver.
“It is our plan to offer products that are classified as premium or seen as premium, but the value equation still needs to exit,” he said.
“In Australia, there’s a clear luxury territory where the pricing reflects that, but that’s not where we are going to be. We are more about offering options but pushing towards the premium.”
MORE: Everything Mazda CX-5