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LA show: Mazda teases next-gen CX-5

Smooth response: Mazda engineers will have worked hard to reduce noise, vibration and harshness in the new CX-5 following feedback from critics and customers.

Sleeker all-new CX-5 to help keep Mazda at top of mid-size SUV sales tree in Aus

Mazda logo28 Oct 2016

MAZDA previewed its next-generation CX-5 in a darkened side-on teaser image overnight, ahead of the redesigned mid-size SUV’s reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16.

The shadowy photo reveals the new CX-5 will have a sleeker shape than its more upright predecessor, with a shark-nose style front-end, long bonnet and more steeply raked windscreen.

Slimline headlights and tail-lights echo those of the larger CX-9 and a thick chrome strip beneath the side windows and up the C-pillar, with another along the side skirts, indicate an upmarket shift is on the way.

In a brief statement accompanying the image, Mazda described the new style as “taking the ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ design concept to a new level”.

“The company has honed the car’s beauty, imparting a powerful combination of sophistication and strength,” it said.

More CX-5 details will be revealed closer to the LA show unveiling, but Mazda has previously hinted that developments from the larger CX-9 seven-seat SUV will be carried over, including the thicker floorpan and possibly the 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine.

The thicker floorpan, along with weight-saving measures that enabled Mazda engineers to install additional sound deadening to the CX-9, were designed to address media and customer criticism leveled at the CX-5 for its noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

As such, it is a given that NVH was a key improvement target for the new CX-5.

The new crossover is likely to include Mazda’s sophisticated G-Vectoring system, designed to improve a range of stability and handling traits, which was recently introduced on the updated Mazda3 small car and Mazda6 mid-sizer.

Also expected to find home under the new CX-5 bonnet is the delayed SkyActiv II diesel engine, originally pegged for a 2014 launch but held back for extra development to ensure it could meet both emissions standards and drivability expectations.

No groundbreaking transmission technology appears to be on the horizon, as the CX-9 continues with a six-speed auto and Mazda has poured cold water on the idea of moving into dual-clutch or nine- and 10-speed transmissions adopted by some manufacturers.

The new-gen SUV is expected to arrive in Australian showrooms in 2017 and full powertrain details will be revealed next month in LA.

By the time the new CX-5 hits Australian showrooms it will have been on the market just five years, having launched here in February 2012 following its reveal at the 2011 Frankfurt show in production form, faithful to the Minagi concept shown at Geneva in March of the same year.

A mid-life facelift arrived in Australia early last year following an LA show reveal the previous November.

This month entry-level Maxx and mid-range Maxx Sport variants received upgraded standard active safety gear, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and forward smart city braking, while higher spec GT variants gained smart city braking for reversing as well.

Despite the arrival of critically acclaimed rivals including the Hyundai Tucson and second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan, the CX-5 has maintained its sales superiority.

To the end of September Mazda had sold 19,090 CX-5s, up 0.4 per cent on the same period last year to take a commanding 18.2 per cent segment share compared with 14,969 Tucsons (14.3 per cent share) and 14,936 Toyota RAV4s (14.2 per cent share).

Mazda will also debut a prototype racecar at the LA show alongside the new CX-5. Also on display will be the current Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-3 and CX-9. It will also showcase its 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines plus the 2.5-litre turbo-petrol.

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