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The Mazda CX-50 is one macho crossover built for the outdoors

Hopefully this thing can really take on rough trails

The CX-50 breaks away from the trend of Mazda's crossovers. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

Mazda crossovers are some of the sleeker-looking vehicles on the market right now. Even though they are equipped with the capable i-Activ all-wheel-drive system is, it’s very easy to see how they look more destined for the streets rather than off the beaten path. But with the introduction of the CX-50, the automaker wants to show that it can produce something that’s as rugged as it is beautiful.

Zircon Sand suits this vehicle rather well. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

Just like other off-road inspired crossovers (like the Subaru Outback Wilderness), the Kodo design language on the CX-50 gets a shot in the arm. Gone are the smooth, swoopy curves, replaced with more angular and hard lines found in the lighting elements, around the body, and in the wheels.

Completing the outdoorsy-look are flared-out plastic cladding with silver accents, boxy fender arches, and large bumper vents. All traces of chrome have been deleted, and the CX-50 gets a matte-black hood decal that you may or may not like. Aside from the usual roster of colors, a new Zircon Sand finish will make its debut on this car.

The exterior gets bulked up with fender flares and an optional luggage rack. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

The driver-focused cabin receives a few more updates to bring it in line with the rugged nature of the exterior. It features contrast stitching, a bright-brown theme color called “terracotta,” and, for the first time in a Mazda, a panoramic moonroof to “help occupants feel more connected to nature.”

There’s an emphasis on cargo space as well, with the dimensions of the vehicle making it easy to load and secure outdoor equipment. You’ll also see a roof rack mounted on the high-strength roof rails in the promotional photos. Don’t expect that to come as standard, though.

The CX-50 will be offered with the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter engine in naturally aspirated or turbocharged flavors, mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Eventually, new electrified powertrains will be making their way to the car, just in case you want a more environmentally friendly option.

The panoramic roof makes the cabin feel more spacious. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

Unfortunately, it looks like CX-50 will be sold in North America only, since it will be the first Mazda built at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA plant in Huntsville, Alabama. Production is slated to start in January 2022. But as we’ve detailed in a previous article, expect its larger siblings, the CX-60 and CX-80, to make their way to global markets. Fingers crossed that one of them will be as capable as the CX-50.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.