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Mazda kills FWD on the 2022 CX-5, plus more changes

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Starting with the 2022 Mazda CX-5, which will receive some fairly major changes, Mazda will make its all-wheel-drive i-Activ system standard across the entire CX lineup in the U.S. market.

The CX-5 is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S so it only makes sense to make i-Activ standard for all of their CX lineup, by starting with the CX-5.

Major changes coming to 2022 Mazda CX-5

One of the most noticeable changes for the 2022 Mazda CX-5 is in the refreshed exterior. It will receive a new front and back end. Most notably, the front fascia has an entirely updated look featuring with an eye-catching design element known as a wing that extends outward from the front grille. This updated grille and fascia replaces the previous model year’s mesh-like look.

The 2022 CX-5 also gets new headlights and taillights that feature rectangularly shaped LEDs that are horizontally spaced apart. Mazda says they’re hoping for a more youthful and elegant appeal along with an urban vibe. This suits the compact crossover’s main demographic well, as this small crossover is easy to park, and the smaller size makes it popular amongst urban dwellers.

New aluminum alloy wheels complete the CX-5’s transformation.

2022 Mazda CX-5 Turbo

Mazda will give its 2.5 Turbo model more distinction, with exclusive design touches for the sportier, turbo model. You will be able to tell the turbo thanks to gloss black finishes on the exterior. The 2.5 Turbo, formerly known as the Grand Touring Reserve trim, will have red stitching inside, and it’s nice to see Mazda offering distinctive looks for specific trims.

The CX-5 Turbo Signature trim is quite a bit different than the other Turbo trim. Instead of the aforementioned gloss black finishes, there’s a unified color scheme as the rest of the body that will be contrasted by bright silver finished wheels. Inside, the Turbo Signature gets Nappa leather and wood grain accents. This trim is meant to be the pinnacle of luxury for the CX-5.

Mi-Drive + iActiv = New driving dynamics

In addition to the iActiv AWD system being standard, the 2022 CX-5 will receive Mazda’s driver select system called Mi-Drive, which allows for various driver settings to be chosen to change the dynamics and performance of the crossover.

The various driver features on Mi-Drive will work with the six-speed automatic transmission to provide different shifting, as well various acceleration. Additionally, the 2022 CX-5 will have improvements to its suspension system including dampening control structure and increased frame rigidity, which will help suppress unpleasant vibrations, reduce road noise and help to provide a quieter cabin and higher quality of ride comfort.

Standard AWD for all Mazda CX models

According to information provided by Mazda “providing i-Activ AWD as standard for all Mazda CX models, starting with the 2022 model year, supports the brand’s dedication to deliver unparalleled driving pleasure for all owners.”

Furthermore, according to Mazda, “Activ AWD newly standard emphasizes the enhanced driving dynamics Mazda customers value, it is part of the Mazda brand’s expansion into the premium space.”

The i-Activ system shifts power to whichever appropriate wheel might need it, offering a confident and athletic performance. This not only assist in the confidence and performance of the crossover, but is an additional safety feature during more inclement weather.

The bottom line on AWD for Mazda

I am a huge proponent of AWD when it comes to trucks and crossovers. I understand the reasoning why some truck owners opt to not have it, but for a compact crossover like the Mazda CX-5, I simply can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want the extra confidence of an AWD system.

For those of us in finicky weather areas, AWD is just one more bit of confidence behind the wheel. Kudos to Mazda for making this standard across its crossover line.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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