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Beijing show: Mazda uncovers China-only CX-4

Made in China: The CX-4 is not on the cards for Australia, but a Mazda executive recently said models like it could be evaluated for a wider roll out, depending on how it is received in China.

Mazda CX-4 set to capture the attention of younger buyers in massive Chinese market

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Mazda logo25 Apr 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

MAZDA has finally unveiled its Chinese-market-only CX-4 crossover at the Beijing motor show, with its latest model tasked to build the Japanese brand's presence in the world's largest new-car market.

As expected, the exterior design of the CX-4 closely follows the look of the Koeru concept that made its debut at last year's Frankfurt motor show, retaining the Kodo design theme but with a more planted stance and coupe-like profile than the CX-5.

The CX-4 matches some of the dimensions of the CX-5 mid-size SUV on which it is based, sharing the same 1840mm width and 2700mm wheelbase, but the CX-4 is 93mm longer and 175mm lower than its more traditional-looking sibling.

Ground clearance is also greater on the CX-4 at 197mm compared with the CX-5's 150mm.

Mazda says the CX-4 has flexible cargo space, adding that the “functionality” and “user friendliness” of the cabin is highlighted by the ease of entry and egress.

It will be offered in two-wheel drive and i-Activ all-wheel drive layouts, with two engines and transmission options available.

The engines include a SkyActiv-G 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox, six-speed automatic transmission in front-drive models, or a 2.5-litre petrol engine matched with the auto and 4WD system.

Mazda has not provided power and torque outputs or performance data, but the 2.0-litre unit could have the same 114kW/200Nm output as it has in the CX-5 in Australia, while the 2.5L is likely to pump out 138kW/250Nm.

The smaller engine sips 6.4 litres of fuel per 100km in manual guise (6.3L for the auto), while the 2.5-litre engine consumes 7.2-7.3L/100km.

The CX-4 uses a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension set-up.

Inside, the CX-4 features i-Activesense advanced safety technologies, the MZD Connect multimedia connectivity system, hill-hold assist and other unspecified comfort and safety gear.

Speaking with Australian journalists at the recent New York motor show, Mazda North American Operations president and CEO and Mazda Motor Corporation managing executive officer Masahiro Moro said while the CX-4 was an important model for China, it “doesn’t fit to other countries’ portfolio”.

He added that the CX-4 will act as a replacement of sorts for the first-generation Mazda6 that was a huge success for the brand in capturing younger buyers.

“In China, that younger generation of customer is looking for a crossover-type vehicle. So CX-4 is a replacement of the first generation of Mazda6.

“This is an urgent business need for China. Globally, we still need to consider where we build (CX-4). Because with that Chinese production, all suppliers are in China. Exporting the vehicle from China is … difficult.

“And also CX-3 and CX-5, do we have a space in between? I don’t think so.” However, earlier this month at the opening of Mazda Australia's new headquarters, Mazda Motor Corporation senior managing executive officer in charge of Asia and Oceania Yuji Nakamine told journalists that the door was not completely closed for the CX-4 to be introduced to other markets down the track, depending on its reception in China.

“We may have to study whether CX-4 concept will be well accepted by other markets. We are studying the possibility of introducing CX-4 type of vehicles in other markets. The possibility is there. But at the moment we don’t plan to sell CX-4 in other markets,” he said.

“We want to see how CX-4 will work in China, then we will continue to study this kind of concept in other markets.” Mazda Motor Corporation senior managing executive officer overseeing operations in China Nobuhide Inamoto said at the Beijing show that the car-maker was working hard to build its brand awareness in the notoriously competitive market.

“The CX-4 is our fourth new-generation model in China,” he said. “Demand for SUVs here is remarkably strong and we expect this model will play a big part in expanding the Mazda brand in this market. We will continue working to strengthen our brand in China, aiming to become a brand which enriches people's lives through cars.”

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