Some might have found it odd when Mazda first announced that it would be introducing a new compact crossover, given that it already had the Mazda CX-7 filling that particular niche. With the departure of the Mazda Tribute, however (itself a re-badged Ford Escape), and with the market moving towards more fuel efficient 'utes, the potential to phase out the CX-7 in favor of a smaller, nimbler, but still practical model held plenty of appeal to the Japanese brand. This is especially true when considering Mazda's core competency as a builder of fun-to-drive automobiles.
Enter the 2013 Mazda CX-5. More than a tall wagon, the CX-5 exudes true crossover appeal, and it also comes with the latest in Mazda's fuel-saving technology stuffed under the hood. This clean-slate model is a much better fit for the current automotive climate than the competent, but otherwise unremarkable CX-7, and it provides a path forward for Mazda to snag additional family sales without compromising its identity.