Mazda CX-50 gets Toyota RAV4 Hybrid power

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Mazda has borrowed the frugal petrol-electric technology from the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to give its CX-50 family SUV hybrid power. It is no closer to Australian showrooms.

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The Mazda CX-50 – a mid-size SUV sold in the US and China, which is slightly larger than the CX-5 available in Australia – has added the option of hybrid power.

But rather than use its own system, Mazda has purchased “off the shelf” the engine, electric motors and battery from the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Australia’s top-selling hybrid with a two-year-plus wait time on certain versions.

Mazda is the latest car company to purchase Toyota’s hybrid technology – after Subaru – following criticisms of its own in-house hybrid technology, which is a weaker “mild-hybrid” system which delivers negligible fuel savings.

The Mazda CX-50 – unveiled in 2021 and introduced last year – is not sold in Australia as it is only produced in left-hand drive in factories in the US and China.

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It is on Mazda Australia’s wish list – should it become available with the steering wheel on the other side – but both factories that build it do not currently support right-hand-drive cars.

However Mazda and Toyota’s hybrid tech-sharing deal could bode well for the next-generation CX-5, which is due in Australia in 2025 at the earliest – likely on similar, new-generation underpinnings to the CX-50.

Toyota owns five per cent of Mazda, and the two companies have previously worked together on shared models and hybrid technology – including a Toyota hybrid-powered version of the previous Mazda 3 in Japan.

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The Mazda CX-50 and Toyota Corolla Cross are manufactured in a factory in Alabama, USA operated as a joint venture between the two car companies.

However – aside from rebadged Toyotas sold as Mazdas, and vice versa – there has never been so much Toyota DNA in a Mazda before.

The CX-50 fits the RAV4’s hybrid system exactly as it is configured in the Toyota.

It combines a 131kW/221Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder non-turbo petrol engine with a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT), 88kW/202Nm front electric motor, and in all-wheel-drive versions, a 40kW/121Nm rear electric motor, for 163kW combined.

Photo credit: Autohome.

Unlike Subaru – which will use Toyota electric motors and batteries in the new Forester, but mated to its own engine – Mazda has elected to fit Toyota’s 2.5-litre petrol engine, even though it uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine of its own design in the regular CX-50.

The similarities between the vehicles even extend to the plastic cover on the engine, which is identical to the Toyota aside from the Mazda logo.

Mazda in China claims fuel consumption of between 5.1 and 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres in Chinese lab testing – compared to 7.4L/100km for a 2.5-litre all-wheel-drive petrol CX-50, or 7.7L/100km for a 2.5-litre all-wheel-drive petrol CX-5.

It is nearly as efficient as its Toyota RAV4 Hybrid donor, which claims 5.1 to 5.2L/100km in China, depending on if front- or all-wheel drive is optioned.

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The CX-50 and RAV4’s hybrid system is different to the Corolla Cross – which is built alongside the Mazda in the US, for North American showrooms – which uses a 146kW 2.0-litre hybrid system.

Australian Toyota Corolla Cross SUVs are built in Japan.

In China the CX-50 Hybrid is priced from 195,800 to 239,800 Chinese yuan ($AU42,700 to $AU52,200) – compared to 159,800 to 177,800 yuan ($AU34,800 to $AU38,700) for 2.0-litre petrol CX-50s, and 175,800 to 206,800 yuan ($AU38,300 to $AU45,000) for 2.5-litre petrol CX-50s.


Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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