The all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 has added another impressive award to its trophy case, becoming the first vehicle in the industry to receive the Truffula Tree Seal of Approval. The honor, which recognizes the CX-5’s greener approach to the small crossover segment, was recently presented to Mazda by noted ecological activist The Lorax—and, of course, is all part of a promotional relationship between the zoomy CX-5 and the new movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, set to open on March 2 in eye-popping 3D.
The partnership’s first effort is a national TV spot that shows a Suessified CX-5 driving through the Lorax’s arboreal neighborhood while a narrator extols its ability to combine responsible environmental performance with Mazda’s typically impressive driving dynamics. Showing the extent of the relationship here, the animated CX-5 was developed by Mazda U.S. design team in conjunction with the filmmakers themselves. The result is a bit reminiscent of the Nissan Juke, but the bold Mazda “M” on the grille ensures viewers know who’s zooming who.
The goal here is a simple one: Connect the deep green commitment of Dr. Seuss’ beloved friend of the forest with Mazda’s similar respect for the environment by showcasing the automaker’s new SKYACTIV powertrain technologies. SKYACTIV components—including gasoline and diesel engines, along with enhanced transmissions—incorporate a wide range of small improvements aimed at delivering a big boost in fuel economy. The party line from Mazda is that SKYACTIV can boost low- and mid-range torque by 10 percent to 15 percent, with a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy and a 15 percent reduction in emissions. And it’s clear from a look at the CX-5’s spec sheet that those upgrades hit the mark.
Mazda’s entry crossover is the first vehicle from the company to get a full SKYACTIV powertrain and holsters a peppy 2.0-liter I4 gas engine that makes 155 hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the outcome is an EPA line of 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway/29 mpg combined that is unsurpassed by any segment rival. To put those numbers into context, the Honda CR-V, although a slightly bigger vehicle, tops out at 23/31/26, while the Toyota RAV4 can’t yet reach the 30-mpg barrier. The CX-5 also bests the projected fuel-efficiency of the coming 2013 Ford Escape, which is expected to hit 33 mpg in highway driving. Keep in mind, too, that the Mazda can tow a full 2,000 lbs., some 25 percent more than the Honda.
(The 2012 Mazda3 also offers a SKYACTIV engine, as well as EPA ratings of up to 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway/33 mpg combined.)
In addition, the partnership scores some added points by doing at least a little more than just putting the focus on selling cars and movie tickets. Mazda’s current SKYACTIV vehicles, the CX-5 and Mazda3, will support a 20-city tour for the National Education Association (NEA) and its Read Across America Program. The program is designed to get—and keep—school-age children interested in reading, while also building awareness of the importance of maintaining school libraries. As an additional boost, Mazda has committed to donating up to $1 million to Read Across America, although there is a minor catch: Mazda’s financial contributions will be based on donations of $25 per test drive now through April 2, 2012.
“NEA’s Read Across America Tour brings students, parents, educators and the entire community together to share the joy of reading,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the NEA. “At a time of budget cutbacks in education resources, including reading resources, NEA appreciates Mazda’s unique partnership to help raise $1 million to support our nation’s public school libraries and ensure all children have access to the gift of reading.”
Naturally, the Mazda-Lorax partnership also will include plenty of digital and social-media efforts, including a co-branded Facebook page.
And remember, while Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax won’t open for a few weeks yet, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is on sale now.