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Frankfurt show: All-new Mazda CX-5 unmasked

CX-5 comes alive: Production CX-5 will hit local showrooms within 12 months.

CX-5 stays true to Minagi SUV concept as Mazda shows its first all-SkyActiv model

2 Aug 2011

MAZDA has laid bare its all-new CX-5, confirming the completely redesigned compact crossover will remain faithful to the muscular Minagi concept when it replaces the CX-7 in Australia within a year.

Seen here for the first time inside and out more than a month before its global debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 13, the production CX-5 lacks the Minagi show car’s futuristic wing mirrors and door-handles, and its striking face’s full-width chrome spear.

The latter no longer intersects the CX-5’s slightly less aggressive headlights and also gone are the Minagi’s chrome-blinged foglight bezels, side skirts, window surrounds and wheels, but apart from different bonnet shut lines the CX-5’s wears the same slinky sheetmetal that wowed Geneva crowds in March.

Perhaps more importantly, Mazda has formally confirmed the CX-5 will not only be the first model to feature the new ‘Kodo’ design theme first seen on the sleek Shinari four-door coupe, but also the first Mazda to combine both the company’s SkyActiv powertrain and chassis technologies.

The first all-Sky Mazda will follow the 2012 Mazda3 SP20, which will make its European debut at Frankfurt fresh from the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne a month ago, before going on sale as part of a facelifted Mazda3 range here in the fourth quarter of this year.

When it follows it on sale in Australia by mid-2012, the CX-5 will not only be powered by the same new direct-injection 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine as the 113kW/191Nm SP20, but will also debut Mazda’s beefy new 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D twin-turbo diesel.

The CX-5 will be produced from early next year for global markets with SkyActiv petrol and diesel engines in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, matched with new SkyActiv six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Mazda Australia has not confirmed which combinations will be made available here, but unlike the CX-7 the CX-5 will be available with a diesel-automatic combination.

Both ‘Standard Power’ and ‘High Power’ versions of the new diesel four - that latter punching out about 136kW and 420Nm - will be offered in Europe, where Mazda has targeted CO2 emissions of less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre for the CX-5 2WD 2.2 D when fitted with a SkyActiv-MT manual transmission and fuel-saving idle-stop function.

22 center imageLeft, from top: CX-5 chassis, interior and SkyActiv badge Minagi concept.Equating to fuel consumption of about 4.5L/100km, that should easily make the CX-5 Australia's most efficient SUV - a station currently held by the diesel-powered version of Mitsubishi's ASX city-SUV.

Mazda said at last year's Sydney show that the new low-compression Sky-D diesel engine will return fuel consumption as low as 4.2L/100km and CO2 emissions of just 112g/km in "a future mid-sized model".

Also key to the CX-5’s efficiency is Mazda’s redesigned SkyActiv vehicle platform, which will also underpin the next-generation Mazda6 and Mazda3, and is said to be an average 100kg lighter than before as part of the company’s commitment to reduce its fleet average fuel consumption by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2015.

Whether the CX-5 is lighter than the larger CX-7 remains to be seen, but Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson told GoAuto at the Melbourne show the CX-5 will provide his company with a more size-appropriate competitor than the CX-7 in the compact SUV segment, “while offering an even more space-efficient interior as well as all the SkyActiv benefits”.

Compact SUVs have long been Australia’s fastest growing vehicle type and, apart from luxury cars, form the only sales segment to grow this year.

However, unlike the Mazda3, which is Australia’s top-selling small car and regularly vies with Holden’s Commodore and Toyota’s Corolla for outright monthly sales honours, the CX-7 remains a secondary player in its class, presenting significant sales potential for Australia’s top fully imported brand.

Like most compact SUVs except Hyundai’s high-flying ix35, Kia’s Sportage and Nissan’s evergreen X-Trail and Dualis, the four-year-old CX-7 has proved less popular so far this year, with a 12.3 per cent sales slide relegating it from third to sixth place to June this year.

Expect the CX-5 to slot into a lower price bracket than the CX-7, beneath the mid-size CX-9 V6 seven-seater priced from $44,425 in 2WD guise, but whether the CX-5 2.2 Diesel will be matched with a volume-selling automatic transmission for Australia remains to be seen.

The current CX-7 five-seater opens at $33,990 for the 2.5 Classic 2WD automatic and extends to the 2.2 Diesel Sports manual ($43,640) and turbo-petrol 2.3 Luxury Sports auto ($45,990).

Preceding the release of the facelifted Mazda3 range (including the SkyActiv-equipped SP20) later this year and next-year’s all-new CX-5, Mazda will launch its redesigned Australian-engineered BT-50 ute in the third quarter of 2011.

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