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Mazda SUV lineup overhaul includes inline-six engine, new platform

We'll see the first step of Mazda's transformation this November with the new CX-50.

2021 Mazda CX-5
The CX-5 lives on, but make way for the CX-50.
Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Mazda is making moves on this Thursday morning. The Japanese automaker confirmed in an announcement it has three new SUVs coming, and two of them will ride on a new longitudinal architecture and sport an inline-six engine. These rumors swirled for years, and finally, came true.

Here's how the lineup will soon shake out. The CX-50 kicks things off, though it won't ride on the new platform, nor will it get the inline-six. Instead, it will share its goods with the CX-30 and Mazda3 sedan and exclusively offer all-wheel drive. Mazda plans to reveal the CX-50 next month before production starts in January 2022 at its new joint-venture manufacturing plant with Toyota in Alabama. While this seems like a logical replacement for the CX-5 we know today, that SUV will live on, actually.

The company said it plans to still sell the CX-5 in the US with AWD, and this vehicle will become a catch-all for future Mazda technologies. Essentially, as the fancier Mazda SUVs evolve, the CX-5 will remain an entry point for shoppers and gain more features as the model years roll on.

From there, we reach the Mazda CX-70, which will come with two rows of seats and be the smallest SUV on this new architecture, with inline-six power married to a plug-in hybrid system. The company promised the platform and powertrain will provide "next-level performance, handling, technology, and design." Any day there's a new inline-six engine coming to life is a good day, frankly. From there, the CX-90 will sit as the range-topping SUV with three rows of seats and the same bones as the CX-70. The CX-90 will replace the current CX-9.

This marks a massive shift in Mazda's efforts to court a more premium car buyer, and I can't wait to see what the small Japanese firm's cooked up.