The Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover SUV that entered production for the 2013 model year. It showcased and flagships the company’s new “KODO – Soul of Motion” design language. It is also the first Mazda to showcase the company’s full SKYACTIV system of performance, handling, safety, and economy in one package. Some of these technologies were first introduced in the high-selling Mazda3 compact sedan for the 2012 model year and have proven to be successful in improving fuel economy and driver experience.
The Mazda CX-5 replaces the larger and underselling CX-7 as well as the Tribute SUV. The CX-5 is a five-door crossover SUV that seats five and is powered by a choice between two gasoline and one diesel engine options (Europe only). It is available in both front- and all-wheel drive and is made in Japan for U.S. and Canadian sales.
Mazda CX-5 Origins
The Mazda CX-5 began as a MINAGI concept, shown in 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show. This was an all-new concept based on the SKYACTIV suite of technologies using a smaller version of the CX-7 crossover as its base. A European version of the concept was shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show followed by the Japanese version at the Tokyo Motor Show that same year. The production version of the CX-5 was debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show that year and released in early 2012 to global markets.
Although some component elements are carried over from the CX-7 and Tribute, the Mazda CX-5 is completely new in its architecture thanks to the full integration and ground-up design utilizing the SKYACTIV system. Directly replacing the Mazda Tribute, the CX-5 has seen far better sales figures than its predecessor did in the compact SUV segment.
About the Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 features all new styling in the KODO language, which won it the Japan Car of the Year Award for 2012-2013 and it has received acclaim from most of the automotive press worldwide. In late 2012, it was named a finalist for the Green Car of the Year award in 2012. A total of just over 43,000 CX-5s were sold in the U.S. in 2012.
The Mazda CX-5 offers a 2.0-liter, SKYACTIV-G or 2.5-liter, SKYACTIV-G engine option in a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The automatic transmission gives an EPA rating of 26/32 mpg city/highway for the small SUV.
Mazda CX-5 Features
The primary feature of the CX-5 is its new exterior styling language, which will be the way forward for Mazda. The new Mazda6 sedan was the second vehicle to use it after the CX-5. The Mazda CX-5 has a sleek build, a saloon-like hood despite its SUV architecture, and a smooth, integrated style that moves forward with the eye.
Underneath, however, the CX-5 is a showcase of new technology as Mazda used it as a platform for the new SKYACTIV system. This incorporates a stiff, lightweight body frame that uses various alloys and high-strength steel to create a safer framework while shedding excess weight. Integrated with this is a chassis of stiff but responsive proportions, giving more control and better stability. Mounted on that framework are a suite of powertrain options tuned to optimize performance and economy. High-pressure gasoline engines and multi-speed transmissions are used to boost power output from smaller displacements, improving fuel economy and emissions outputs.
Throughout the Mazda CX-5 are other safety systems with class-leading options as standard. Both U.S. and European testing bodies gave the highest possible safety ratings to the CX-5.
Mazda CX-5 Evolution
The aging Mazda Tribute and the low-selling CX-7 were in need of replacement and Mazda needed both a compact SUV and a SKYACTIV showcase to put on the market. After years of investment and testing, the SKYACTIV’s preliminary market test in the Mazda3 was proving to be a great success. The Mazda CX-5 was conceived of as a way to both replace the outgoing models and showcase SKYACTIV.
About a year of development was required to finesse the KODO theme into the preliminary version of the MINAGI concept, which finally showed in 2011 on a world tour of major auto shows. With few changes, it was then put to production as the CX-5 and shown at the Los Angeles show at the end of that year. It was in showrooms just a few months later.
Proving to be a huge success in terms of sales volumes worldwide, Mazda had to add production lines to keep up with demand. This lead to other Mazda models incorporating the SKYACTIV system in their updates, starting with the Mazda6 in 2014. With design and production as fast paced as its look, the Mazda CX-5 is a showcase of what Mazda can do.