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Future models - Mazda - CX-5

LA show: Mazda reveals new-gen CX-5

Body builder: The Mazda CX-5 windscreen has been moved rearwards by 35mm to improve visibility and looks.

Mazda’s top-selling CX-5 SUV wears fresh body on top of new tech in mid-life lift

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Mazda logo16 Nov 2016

By TIM ROBSON

MAZDA has uncovered its highly anticipated second-generation CX-5 mid-size SUV, with the subtle exterior design changes hiding the depths of the upgrades beneath the skin.

Revealed at a media event ahead of the Los Angeles motor show, the new CX-5, which launched in 2012, will be released in Australian in the second quarter of 2017.

A larger cabin, tweaked interior ergonomics and the addition of the company’s new torque-steer stability system are complemented by additional safety equipment for Australia’s best-selling SUV.

Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told GoAuto that the CX-5’s best sales days are still ahead of it, with the current model set to record its best result in 2016.

“If you wanted a textbook case for a car, then I think the CX-5 would be it. It just ticks all the boxes,” he said. “Sales have just climbed every year since 2012, it’s been the leader in its segment for the last three years and outright SUV for the last couple of years, as well, in all categories.

“A good indication of performance is price pointing at retail. It’s never had that after all this time.”

Mazda has sold 20,702 CX-5s in 2016 to the end of October, easily outpointing every competitor in the medium space including the Toyota RAV4 (16,438) and Hyundai Tucson (16,814).

Mr Doak also confirmed Mazda Australia’s involvement in the development of the new CX-5, which also extends to cars like the Mazda3 and recently updated Mazda6.

“We're a part of that process every time with different prototypes and given feedback,” he said. “We get feedback on the design, we gave feedback to the program manager. We’ve been very much involved as we have been in all of our car lines.”

Mr Doak acknowledged that the redesign process has made no striking changes to the CX-5’s external visage, but maintained that the fresh look is an obvious step forward that will still appeal to the current crop of CX-5 owners.

“In terms of design, it is a step change for the car. When you see it in the metal, it really does look quite different,” he said. “Obviously, it picks up cues that we've developed on CX-9, because that's the evolution of Kodo (design language) and CX-5 takes that, as well. Obviously, the interior in particular is a huge step change for this car, which is nice.

“I think we obviously have a big owner base and I think they'll appreciate the changes. It'll be very obvious to them, which is good.”

The exterior’s most prominent change is the relocation of the A-pillars, which have moved back by 35mm, while the front bar has adopted a more right-angled grille and narrower headlight strip to mimic the CX-9.

The front bar’s faux air vents are no more, and there is an extra section of brightwork running beneath the grille.

At the rear, the lower half of the rear tailgate has been reprofiled, with new, narrower tail-lights fitted.

The body in white has also been stiffened and strengthened, with more pieces of ultra high-strength steel in the A- and B-pillars as well as the side sills resulting in a 15.5 per cent improvement in torsional stiffness, according to Mazda.

Overall, body measurements between the current car and the updated version are almost identical the US-spec CX-5 is 10mm shorter at 4550mm and 20mm lower at 1690mm than the first-generation car.

The wheelbase remains static at 2700mm and the width at 1840mm, despite a 10mm wider track front and rear on the updated car.

“Certainly size-wise, it’s very similar to what we currently have and we think we've got the sweet spot on that part,” said Mr Doak. “The boot space is a bit bigger on the car, which is nice.”

The revised A-pillar position has offered Mazda a chance to improve driver visibility, while the centre console and gearshift unit has been raised by up to 60mm to place the shifter closer to the driver.

Newly designed front seats are said to offer greater comfort in the base and better mid-section support, as well.

The rear seats have been placed lower in the car, and are equipped with a two-stage seat recliner, revised cushions and seat heaters.

The boot space, too, has been improved slightly up five litres to 505 litres (DIN) with the seats up.

Additional equipment includes a heads-up display, a new 4.6-inch colour screen for the instrument cluster, a 10-speaker stereo with A-pillar mounted tweeters and a repositioned 7.0-inch infotainment screen housing the latest generation version of the MZD Connect infotainment system.

The company has also added the latest iteration of its radar cruise control system to the CX-5, which adds the ability to follow the car in front even after it has stopped, as well as traffic sign recognition, all falling under its i-Activsense safety suite.

Mazda has fitted its new G-Vectoring Control system to the CX-5, which matches engine torque to steering inputs to reduce roll and pitch.

The company says the system, which is currently used in the Mazda3 and Mazda6, is more effective in taller vehicles such as SUVs.

Bigger diameter front dampers, fluid-filled bushings and rigid steering mounts tidy up the chassis tune.

The current SkyActiv drivetrain combinations – which comprise a 2.0-litre petrol, 2.5-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel in front- and i-Activ all-wheel drive formats – remain untouched and there is no word yet on whether the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit from the CX-9 will be offered in the CX-5.

That means it will continue on with the 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre petrol, 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre petrol and 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel units paired with either a SkyActiv six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The suspension setup remains a MacPherson front and multi-link rear, but larger front damper pistons and new liquid-fuilled bushings in the front suspension help reduce floating and vibrations.

Mazda says that improvements to noise, vibration and harshness levels have ensured that the new model achieves a 10 per cent clearer conversation level in the cabin when compared with the outgoing version.

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