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Less is more for new Mazda CX-5

New for old: Mazda executives believe the new-generation CX-5 will appeal to existing owners of the original model.

Mazda chiefs confident that CX-5 step change will win old and new fans

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Mazda logo19 Nov 2016

By TIM ROBSON in LOS ANGELES

MAZDA executives have expressed confidence that the redesign of its best-selling SUV will appeal to its widening base of existing owners as well as potential conquests.

At the same time, they have rejected claims that the outgoing and new-generation versions of the all-new CX-5 are too similar.

“What do you mean, ‘not a lot of change’?” said Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders when queried by GoAuto. “Every panel’s new. At first glance it doesn’t seem to be a lot of change. You see it next to the old one, there is a heaps of change.

“When we did the minor change, at the beginning of 2015, the car had got another life. The change then was much, much less than this one is. So this is a significant change.

“Exterior, interior… the whole thing is new,” confirmed Mazda CX-5 chief designer Shinichi Isayama.

Mr Benders said that the ever-growing pool of current CX-5 owners would be comfortable with the updated car.

“Everything we see is that the current owners love the – if you like – more premium styling and the improvements. So I don’t think that (recognition of the new CX-5) will be a problem,” he said.

“It’s a car that’s just hit the sweet spot in terms of size and space. You don’ t get to be number one SUV just by not getting it all right.” The A-pillars on the CX-5 have been moved rearwards by 35mm, necessitating changes to the roof, bonnet and door skins, while a revised grille and tailgate skin are also visible.

The interior, meanwhile, has received new front seats, lower rear seats and a raised centre console, as well as a repositioned central infotainment screen.

The car’s hard points, wheelbase and drivetrains all remain the same as the outgoing car.

Despite speculation, Mr Benders said that the CX-5 is unlikely to ever receive the 2.5-litre turbocharged powerplant seen under the bonnet of the CX-9, despite Mazda Australia asking for it.

22 center imageLeft: Mazda Motor Corporation managing executive officer and head of design Ikuo Maeda. “There is no plan for that,” he said. “We know the engine is just a small variation of the one in the CX-9, so (in) feasibility (terms) yes. We’ve put up our hand and said ‘why not’. It’s not on the cards.” Meanwhile, Mazda Motor Corporation managing executive officer and head of design Ikuo Maeda said that designing an SUV had its challenges, thanks to the particular aspects that every SUV was required to have.

“It’s difficult to make a beautiful SUV, because we have to think about space and we have to have the big tyres for SUV, so it always ends up with a similar vehicle if you want to develop an SUV,” said Mr Maeda.

“Still we want to show our characteristics and personality, so we have accept the challenges to make it beautiful.” He also told journalists at the LA motor show that the CX-5 was sized “correctly”, and that customers who may be looking for a seven-seat version will be disappointed.

“We have the CX-9,” he said. “It is not too big.” “This (CX-5) is the most appropriate amount of packaging for the most amount of people.”

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