Mazda CX-5 Hybrid Vs. CX-50 Hybrid: What To Expect

Mazda CX-5 Hybrid Vs. CX-50 Hybrid: What To Expect

Motorists dreaming of driving a fuel-efficient compact hybrid SUV with the style, substance, and driving dynamics of a Mazda will soon have two options. That is if you’re located in one of the select markets that will offer both the new CX-50 Hybrid and CX-5 Hybrid. In anticipation of their impending arrivals, we’ve compiled a Mazda CX-5 Hybrid vs. CX-50 Hybrid comparison based on what we know so far from Mazda, and what’s been speculated based on the current gas-powered editions of these compact SUVs.

Two Compact Hybrid SUVs, Two Distinct Designs & Powertrains

Diverging Designs

As with the gas-powered CX-5 and CX-50, the new CX-5 Hybrid and CX-50 Hybrid will feature drastically different styling, with the latter boasting a rugged-looking exterior matching its adventurous persona. The CX-5 Hybrid will introduce a new design direction alongside the third generation of the gas-powered CX-5 model debuting shortly.

Expect every edition of the new CX-5 Hybrid to feature an evolution of the CX-5’s design language, maintaining a similar silhouette that has been a hallmark of this model over its first two generations. The trend of body-color wheel arches from the current CX-5 is sure to continue onto the new CX-5 Hybrid, giving this model a closer resemblance to the CX-60 and CX-70’s design than the black cladding and more rugged look of the CX-50 and CX-30 lineups.

The CX-50 has been the more modern and updated model ever since its debut for select markets, but that will change once the CX-5 Hybrid and CX-50 Hybrid both arrive on the scene. That’s because the CX-50 Hybrid is based on the current, first-generation CX-50, while the upcoming CX-5 Hybrid will be based on the completely redesigned, third-generation CX-5 platform.

The upcoming CX-5 and CX-5 Hybrid models will feature Mazda’s latest technologies borrowed from the development of its large-platform premium models (CX-60, CX-70, and three-row variants), while also introducing even fresher features and technologies that will make their way to the carmaker’s other compact vehicle offerings in coming years.

We expect Mazda to pull out all the stops for the next generation of its top-selling model. That includes the introduction of the automaker’s new internally developed e-Skyactiv hybrid engine powering the new CX-5 Hybrid.

Mazda vs. Toyota Hybrid Tech Inside

Like the Mazda CX-50 Hybrid currently on sale in Asia, the North American edition of the new CX-50 Hybrid will be powered by a version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Similar to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the CX-50 Hybrid utilizes a Toyota-sourced 2.5-liter gas engine with an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT) and offers an electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive system (AWD).

The biggest news regarding the new CX-5 Hybrid is its use of a new Mazda-developed hybrid powertrain that will likely provide the propulsion for other Mazda hybrid SUVs and cars to come. Expect this new hybrid setup to be built on Mazda’s venerable 2.5-liter Skyactiv inline four-cylinder engine platform.

So, this new hybrid CX-5 engine will match the displacement of the CX-50 Hybrid’s 2.5-liter powertrain from Toyota. However, even though they’ll share the same displacement and likely offer similar power output, the CX-5 Hybrid is expected to be equipped with a Mazda-developed e-Skyactiv-Drive transmission that will differ significantly from the eCVT used in the CX-50 Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid.

MPG Ratings vs. Driving Dynamics

For the CX-50 Hybrid, expect similar power output to the RAV4 Hybrid it borrows its powertrain from, at around 219 horsepower, and likely slightly lower fuel economy ratings: around the mid to high 30s combined. While the Toyota-sourced hybrid setup in the CX-50 Hybrid won’t match the responsiveness of the gas-engined CX-50 and CX-50 Turbo models, its high marks in fuel economy will be a welcomed addition to the CX-50 line for many motorists.

We anticipate the CX-50 Hybrid and its Toyota-sourced gas-electric powertrain will top the upcoming CX-5 Hybrid in gas mileage. As a decades-long leader in hybrid powertrain technology, Toyota’s hybrid vehicles often compare favorably to other automakers’ options when it comes to real-world MPG.

Mazda routinely prioritizes powertrain responsiveness and the driving experience over fuel economy ratings, and that’s why we fully expect the CX-50 Hybrid version of the Toyota system to take a minor hit in city and highway MPG ratings once tested and estimated by the EPA. And, with Mazda developing the CX-5 Hybrid’s powertrain in-house, we anticipate this model’s engine and driving dynamics will outperform the CX-50 Hybrid’s but fall short of its SUV sibling’s fuel economy ratings.

In other words, for maximum MPG within the Mazda compact hybrid SUV lineup, look to the CX-50 Hybrid. But, for impressive gas mileage (low 30s MPG combined) matched with a more engaging driving experience, you’ll want to consider the CX-5 Hybrid.

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Mazda Compact Hybrid SUV Dimensions & Cargo Space

As Mazda’s best-selling model globally, the CX-5 has been a smashing success since its global debut in 2013, and the carmaker is likely looking to continue that success by not messing with a good thing. The third-gen CX-5 should follow the previous models in general sizing and style, with a familiar silhouette, but we suspect the upcoming CX-5 will grow significantly in total interior volume.

Its closest competitors have grown, namely the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, and while the CX-5 likely won’t match those two in total interior volume or cargo capacity, it should be closer than it’s been in a long time. The second-generation CX-5 actually lost cargo space compared to the original CX-5 model; we expect the next-gen CX-5 to expand that figure by growing its maximum cargo capacity to nearly 70 cubic feet with rear seating lowered.

The CX-50 Hybrid is based on the current, first-gen CX-50, so its dimensions and cargo space will remain essentially the same as the gas-engined model. While the CX-50 body is wider and longer than the current, second-gen CX-5, its cabin and cargo hold are similarly sized and actually offer less maximum cargo volume, at 56.3 cubic feet compared to the CX-5’s 59.6 cubic feet.

So, a new, more spacious CX-5 and CX-5 Hybrid should provide significantly more maximum cargo space than the slightly smaller cabin of the first-ever CX-50 Hybrid.

Awaiting the CX-50 Hybrid & CX-5 Hybrid Release Dates

So, when should we expect the CX-5 Hybrid and CX-50 Hybrid SUV models to arrive at Mazda dealers?

According to Mazda’s presentation documents for its Fiscal Year March 2024 financial results, the automaker’s plans to progress its entire lineup to electrification by leveraging a multi-electrification technology strategy are well underway.

In addition to the mild hybrid and PHEV models of its large product group (namely models like the CX-70 and CX-90) available now, Mazda says it will be adding the “CX-50 hybrid version in the second half” of the year.

So, we can expect the 2025 Mazda CX-50 Hybrid to start arriving in dealership showrooms by the end of 2024.

The carmaker also noted its plans to “equip the next CX-5 with a Mazda-developed hybrid engine.” Still, no timetable for these plans has been given, and there’s been little direct mention of the next-generation CX-5 and its release date, only that there will be a third generation of Mazda’s best-selling model.

Given that the current CX-5 has been around since 2017 with only mild updates more recently, the redesigned CX-5 and the first-ever hybrid variant should be arriving sooner rather than later: sometime in 2025 as either a 2025 or 2026 model. We fully expect the CX-5 Hybrid to debut alongside the gas-powered models in 2025, unlike the release of the CX-50 Hybrid, which has trailed the standard gas-powered CX-50 model by several years.

The CX-50 Hybrid and CX-5 Hybrid will clearly compete for buyers, with some overlap within the Mazda lineup, so it stands to reason that Mazda will not release these two models too close to one another.

So, expect the CX-50 Hybrid to debut by late 2024, many months ahead of the next-generation Mazda CX-5 and the first-ever CX-5 Hybrid, which should be released sometime in 2025. See our CX-5 Hybrid preview for more speculation and updates.

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