The Changan Mazda joint venture has revealed the Mazda CX-50 Hybrid for the Chinese market, and it’ll reportedly use Toyota powertrain technology.
At the Shanghai motor show, Mazda’s Chinese joint venture made several announcements, detailing of the petrol-powered CX-50 range for that market, debuting the CX-50 Hybrid, and teasing its upcoming electrification plans in the world’s largest car market.
Diving through the country’s Weibo social network, China’s car cloud network reports pre-sales of the CX-50 have now commenced in China, with 2.0- and 2.5-litre petrol models available priced from 159,800 yuan ($34,660) to 212,000 yuan ($45,982).
Changan Mazda will launch the CX-50 at Mount Everest in May – there’s a mountain adventuring theme in the CX-50’s marketing materials in China.
The Japanese brand’s joint venture also presented the new CX-50 Hybrid, which will follow the petrol versions into market and kickstart Changan Mazda’s electrification journey.
More specific details are thin on the ground, but it’s reported the CX-50 HEV – as it’s also referred to in some of the Shanghai presentation – will use Toyota hybrid technology, in an interesting move from the brand.
Toyota Motor Corporation does hold a minority stake in Mazda (around 5.0 per cent), but other than a few rebadging jobs – like the Euro-market Mazda 2 Hybrid that’s essentially a Yaris in drag – we haven’t seen Toyota’s hybrid systems in one of Mazda’s own models outside of Japan, where the 3 Hybrid mixed Mazda’s 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine with Toyota’s hybrid tech.
While the specifics of the Mazda CX-50 Hybrid’s drivetrain don’t appear to have been released anywhere, a clue could come from where the brand’s crossover is produced, which could also point to a rollout of the hybrid beyond Chinese borders.
Changan Mazda will produce the domestic CX-50 at its factory in Nanjing, but for the US the crossover is assembled in Huntsville, Alabama, alongside the Toyota Corolla Cross. The US-produced model is also exported to Canada, Colombia, and more recently Mexico.
While the CX-50 and Corolla Cross don’t share common underpinnings – the CX-50 rides on an extended version of the Mazda 3’s and CX-30’s platform – it wouldn’t be surprising if the CX-50 Hybrid used a version (or versions) of the Corolla Cross’s available hybrid powertrains.
It’s unclear when Mazda Motor Corporation plans to introduce the CX-50 Hybrid outside of the Chinese market, but at the global reveal in November 2021 it confirmed electrified powertrains were in the nameplate’s future “including a traditional hybrid model”.
Given the US-built model is also meant to introduce hybrid tech at some point, the joint factory with Toyota further points to a powertrain collaboration with the Corolla Cross.
While the Corolla Cross offers both 90kW 1.8-litre and 146kW 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid drivetrains globally, only the 2.0L version is used in the US-built model.
Our guess is that the Mazda CX-50 Hybrid will offer a version of the 2.0-litre system, with reports out of China indicating both front- and four-wheel drive versions of the HEV will be made available when it comes to market.
Petrol versions of the Mazda CX-50 come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, though a Toyota hybrid system suggests an eCVT will be used in the CX-50 HEV – unless Mazda develops its own transmission or tailors a version of the six-speed hybrid auto being used in Toyota’s latest Hybrid Max models.
Further to the CX-50 HEV, Changan Mazda briefly teased two upcoming electrified releases, which appear to be sedans.
Sedans may be on the decline in most parts of the world, but they still play a strong role in the Chinese market.
Both vehicles, which are pictured under red sheets in the above roadmap teaser, will offer both plug-in hybrid and battery electric drivetrains according to the graphic.
This could be our greatest indication yet that the Mazda 6 is getting a new generation, though given Changan Mazda’s exclusively Chinese production, it could soon become yet another global nameplate that is exiled to a Chinese afterlife like the Ford Mondeo – we’ll investigate this more in an upcoming story, stay tuned.
Mazda Australia has previously ruled out the CX-50 for an Australian launch, largely due to the fact it’s currently only produced in left-hand drive.
The brand has mentioned numerous times at a local level, however, that there will be a new generation of CX-5 in some form, but whether that comes in the form of an all-new CX-5 or it’s replaced by something similar is still unclear.
Mazda’s top-selling model globally is the CX-5 by some margin, and in Australia it’s easily the brand’s golden child on the sales charts despite its advancing age.
It makes sense for the newer CX-50 to replace the CX-5 eventually given its newer architecture, similar size and familiar line-up of powertrains – plus plans for electrified variants – but on the other hand should the CX-5 be phased out this generation, the new CX-60 offers cheaper variants that in Japan undercut even the CX-8.
As reported by CarExpert last August, the CX-60 offers an entry-level 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with rear-wheel drive in its home market. In base trim, this is cheaper than a base CX-8 in Japan, which kicks off at $40,190 locally.
Stay tuned to CarExpert for the latest, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.