Mazda takes on the compact CUV segment
Earlier this year, Mazda unveiled its Minagi Concept which was a thinly veiled version of its next crossover, and now Mazda has unveiled the first images of the production version of the all-new Mazda CX-5. Although it isn’t clear if the new CX-5 will be a 2012 or 2013 model year vehicle, Mazda has confirmed that its newest model will debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and go on sale globally early next year.
After seeing the Minagi Concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, it didn’t take much guess work to imagine what the Mazda CX-5 crossover would look like. Using Mazda’s new “Kodo” (soul of motion) design language, the CX-5 brings a refreshingly sporty look in a class filled with “cute utes” like the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson. The new CX-5 should even manage to stand out from the, Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Kia Sportage – two of the better-looking compact crossovers on the market. Mazda’s new look starts with narrow headlights, angled lower air vents and a smaller, more striking take on Mazda’s signature five-sided grille. While this new grille still displays some elements of the smiley “Nagare” design language, the smaller size and sharper edges help create an entirely new look. Mazda still seems keen on keeping the flowing side body lines (made popular by the 2012 Mazda MAZDA5) but the taller ride height and lower plastic cladding make these lines less of a focal point and more of an accent to the overall look. The eye-catching 10-spoke wheels finish off the CX-5’s look and do a good job of complimenting the bulging wheel arches.
So far, Mazda has only released a single picture of the new CX-5’s interior, but the new cabin design brings with it an equally fresh appearance as the exterior styling. Fans of the current Mazda interior designs will instantly notice that the automaker seems to be going away from the two-gauge instrument gauge cluster in place of a sportier three-gauge layout. Also gone from the CX-5’s dash is the information screen that is currently offered on all other Mazda products. The interior shot Mazda released appears to be of the top CX-5 trim level (likely the CX-5 Grand Touring) due to the leather-trimmed seats and navigation system. Another interesting element of the new Mazda CX-5 is that the large central control dial for the audio and navigation systems now appears to be more accessible to the driver conveniently positioned on the center console instead of on the center stack like other current Mazdas.
One of the most highly anticipated features of the Mazda CX-5 is that it will expand the use of Mazda’s new SkyActiv technologies that officially debuted on the 2012 Mazda Mazda3 and is expected to spread across Mazda’s vehicle line. The SkyActiv will be used on various elements ranging from efficient engines and transmissions to lightweight body and chassis components which are all expected to reduce the vehicle’s weight while balancing performance with fuel economy. European buyers will be able to choose from a 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D diesel engine or a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G gasoline engine, but only the latter option is likely to be offered in the United States. Although not many details have been released about the new components, Mazda has previously stated that it expects SkyActiv to help deliver a 30 percent improvement in its overall fuel efficiency by 2013. Both engines will be paired with either a six-speed automatic (SkyActiv-Drive) or a six-speed manual transmission. Finally, the SkyActiv name will also be applied to the body and chassis signifying reduced weight and added rigidity.
Pricing for the all-new Mazda CX-5 probably won’t be announced until closer to the on-sale date early next year, but we expect a starting price in the $18,000 to $19,000 dollar range based off the competitive pricing of the compact crossover segment and the fact that it will be positioned below the Mazda CX-7 which starts at $21,990.
More details for the Mazda CX-5 will be released when the car debuts in September in Frankfurt.