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2022 Mazda CX-5 adds style, loses front-wheel drive

Mazda's compact crossover has revised chassis tuning to help keep its fun-to-drive reputation alive.

The changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the CX-5 was already pretty good.

Mazdas offer many traits that we, as enthusiasts, value highly. Take the Mazda CX-5. On paper, it's just another crossover with a four-cylinder engine, less-than-cutting-edge tech and a pretty face, but getting behind the wheel shows that Mazda cares deeply about making its vehicles feel fun to drive. None of that changes with the updated 2022 CX-5, which Mazda announced Tuesday.

The most significant change for the 2022 CX-5 is Mazda's decision to ditch the front-wheel -rive variant entirely and make all-wheel drive standard. This simplifies things for the customer and we suspect that the overwhelming number of buyers went AWD anyway. Other than that, the available powertrains -- 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder -- remain the same. Mazda also tweaked the CX-5's exterior styling to make it slightly cleaner. It's not a dramatic change, but it keeps the CX-5 looking classy and we support that.

The interior is also different, with more styling touches to differentiate between turbo and non-turbo trim levels. These include red accents and red stitching, and given how generally nice Mazda's interiors have felt over the past few years, we suspect this will be a good look. The seats have also been reshaped for better comfort and support.

Also new for 2022 is the introduction of Mazda's Mi-Drive selectable drive modes and a retuned six-speed automatic transmission. The latter is still likely going to be a weak point compared to the eight- and nine-speed autos competitors are using, but we'll reserve judgment until we get some seat time. Finally, Mazda tweaked the suspension and increased chassis stiffness, both of which should help the CX-5 hang onto its reputation as being one of the more fun and engaging crossovers to drive.

The 2022 CX-5 should hit Mazda dealers later this year and pricing will be announced closer to that time.

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