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Mazda to expand SUV repertoire

Downsized: Mazda is understood to be considering a 'CX-3' SUV to slot in beneath the new CX-5 (pictured left).

More engines for CX-5 plus a proposed ‘CX-3’ to rival Ford’s coming EcoSport

27 Feb 2012

MAZDA is planning to massively increase its presence in the booming SUV market, with more engine variants of its CX-5 compact SUV set to be introduced over the next 18 months – and an all-new ‘CX-3’ micro-SUV also understood to be in the pipeline.

The new engines will include a 2.5-litre direct-injection normally aspirated version of the SkyActiv-G four-cylinder petrol engine launched this week in 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre guise in the CX-5, as well as the recently released Mazda3 SP20.

Developed primarily for the US market version of the CX-5, the still-secret 2.5 will be unveiled in the first quarter of next year, with Australian sales expected to follow soon after.

Whether Mazda Australia uses the larger-capacity four-cylinder across the CX-5 range, or chooses to instead reserve it only for the upmarket models like the Grand Touring, is not yet known.

Also destined for the all-new small SUV series is a smaller-capacity SkyActiv-D turbo-diesel to complement the new 129kW/420Nm 2.0-litre unit.

Devised with the European market in mind, this ultra-low-emission engine is believed to be of 1.5- or 1.6-litre capacity, enabling a special lightweight eco version of the CX-5 to slip beneath the 100 grams per kilometre carbon dioxide pollution threshold.

As Australia does not yet have a carbon tax-based registration or road tax system like those operating in Europe, the prospect of the smaller diesel-powered CX-5 landing on our shores is quite remote.

Meanwhile, Mazda is also considering a small urban SUV to take on the likes of the successful Nissan Juke, Suzuki SX4 and Holden’s forthcoming Barina-based Opel Mokka.

Designed mainly for European and South American markets where smaller vehicles are popular, as well as for emerging markets like India, the sub-CX-5 crossover is likely to be called the CX-3 if it gets the green light.

Not due until about 2015 at the earliest, it would likely be spun off the same platform that underpins the Ford EcoSport – the Indian-built light SUV based on the existing Fiesta/Mazda2 architecture.

Although Mazda has not confirmed the existence of such a project, it is believed that the booming B-segment baby crossover class in Europe is spurring the company’s product planners into action.

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