Mazda introduces more stylish and much-improved CX-4 active crossover

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 3, 2016

Japanese carmaker Mazda is introducing the latest iteration of its already stylish crossover, the new Mazda CX-4. To a great extent, the new Mazda CX-4 represents a new degree of evolution for Mazda's KODO design language that retains only the essential styling elements to express the dynamic power of a vehicle while providing an aura of majesty and elegance.

At first glance, the new Mazda CX-4 is so exclusively stylish that it stands out among the rest of vehicles even on a busy road. In fact, its exterior beauty is one that would attract people’s attention on the street.

After all, the new Mazda CX-4 follows the "striking traction form" as its exterior design attitude.

Exterior Design

The exterior looks of the new Mazda CX-4 on the outright expresses the transformation of the crossover’s energy to drive power, as transmitted to wheels and conveyed to the road through its large diameter tires (225/55R19 or 225/65R17). These tires, as well as its profile, allow the new Mazda CX-4 to don a form that conveys a stance of traction and stability – four wheels firmly holding onto the road; a low center of gravity; and ample ground clearance. While it features the same wheelbase as the Mazda CX-5 (2,700 mm) and the same minimum ground clearance (196 mm), the new Mazda CX-4 was able to don a lower profile thanks to its overall height of 1,530mm (models powered the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine and SKYACTIV-DRIVE).

These elements – lower roof height in relation to ground clearance, short roof length and sharply angled rear window – allow the Mazda CX-4 to deliver a coupe-like image despite being a crossover. Interestingly, the new Mazda CX-4 does not rely on character lines to express volume and motion. Instead, it features carefully designed body surfaces that pave way for fender highlights to flow towards the center of the tires.

This allows for a higher level stability and forward momentum while providing the new Mazda CX-4 with a fresh yet radical appearance. Sector wise, the front end of the new Mazda CX-4 is marked by chromed front signature wings running along the upper edge of the sharp-gazing headlamps. These headlamps offer a lighting signature that employs thick guiding lenses to create crystal-like illumination and a livid expression. Meanwhile, the crossover’s independent turn lamps – mounted in the lower section of the bumper – feature a clean and simple design.

Looking at the sides of the new Mazda CX-4, people can easily discern that its proportions are similar to a coupe, thanks to a design tension between the front and rear wheels as well as the minimal volume of the overhangs. The juxtapose between the crossover’s sharp nose and speed-hinting suggest hood design further highlights the "traction form" message originating from the fender design.

Moreover, the vehicle’s front and rear bumpers have been reduced to make the rear overhang appear tighter. Since the A-, B- and C-pillars have been blacked out, an impression of continuous glass area is created, giving the cabin a taut appearance. Moreover, the crossover’s coupe-like profile is further emphasized by the molding on the rear quarter window. As part of the new design, the new Mazda CX-4 features roof rails running flat along the roof, thereby enhancing the sensation that these have been integrated into the cabin structure. Since they are made of solid aluminum, these roof rails boost the exterior’s appearance, giving it a top quality look.

Furthermore, black cladding that is integrated on the lower part of the body clearly articulates the Mazda CX-4's character as an active crossover that is designed for enjoyment in or out of town. On the other hand, the rear part of the new CX-4 is marked by a tapered cabin that blends with the flare of the rear fenders, thereby creating a trapezoidal shape expanding outward toward the bottom of the crossover. It is also marked by a sharply angled rear window tapering inward toward the bottom as well as wide shoulders – elements typically found in a premium coupe.

Mazda’s experts made a series of adjustments – in increments of tenths of a millimeter – to ensure the smooth yet elegant coupe-like flow from the sides of the roof to the rear. Mazda also shaved the crossover’s rear corners to minimize the volume of the rear overhang and implemented a blacked out lower bumper design to make it look tighter. The rear end of the Mazda CX-4 is also marked by rear combination lamps with the same sleek design as the headlamps as well as rear signature wing running across the upper part of the lid lamps.

Moreover, the rear of the crossover features rear fog lamps with trapezoid bezels that employ lens -- cut with a fine pitch -- to reflect light in a three-dimensional manner. The new Mazda CX-4 could be finished in any of the seven available colors: the red-themed Soul Red Metallic and Radiant Ebony; four monotone Ceramic Metallic, Sonic Silver Metallic, Crystal White Pearl Mica, and Jet Black Mica; and Blue Reflex Mica color.

Interior Design

Mazda did not only focus on the outward appearance of the new CX-5 but also paid a lot of attention to its interior. After all, the cabin is a place where the vehicle and the driver and passengers create a relationship. That is why Mazda took great effort to create an interior that does not only provide a warming and pleasant atmosphere, but one that also offers high quality and elegance. The cabin of the new Mazda CX-4 is basically divided into two zones – the sophisticated cockpit and the relaxed and comfortable passenger area.

As for the cockpit zone, it is fitted with Mazda's intelligent Human-Machine Interface (HMI) that allows drivers to focus on the road ahead. This cockpit features a layout that allows it to wrap around the driver, with all main controls ergonomically arranged to keep the driver's body straight and centered even while piloting the CX-4. As for the passenger zone, the decorative panel and upper section of the instrument panel have been shaped to stretch horizontally to provide a combined sense of stability, reassurance, liberty and openness.

Mazda crafted the interior of the new CX-4 from carefully selected materials, using proven manufacturing processes to ensure a high a level of quality. Just like the exterior, the cabin could be specified in any of the available interior color schemes including Deep Red with black, Pure White with black, Sand Beige with black and all-black. All color schemes will have the inside of the pillars and ceiling featured in black material.

While the height of the Mazda CX-4 is lower, the front seats feature headroom spacious enough to accommodate a large driver. Likewise, the seat could be adjustment in different ways to ensure that the driver is provided with comfortable driving position. This is similarly true for the passengers, especially in the rear, where there is more than enough room to make passengers feel as comfortable as possible. This way, the new Mazda CX-4 is easier and more enjoyable to drive – just like how the Japanese carmaker developed it.

One of the challenges that occupants usually meet is the difficulty of entering and exiting the cabin. To address this challenge, Mazda repeatedly tested digital human models – with varying body builds – in order to develop front and rear seat hip point height zones that make it easier for the driver to enter or to exit the Mazda CX-5. Moreover, the Japanese carmaker thoroughly analyzes factors that may affect ease of upper body movement – like the height of the door opening and height of the roof side – in designing the body of the new Mazda CX-5.

Following these painstaking efforts, Mazda’s development team was able to come up with a design that allows drivers -- no matter how small or large they are -- to easily enter and exit the cabin. This is boosted by the optimization of the structure of the garnish on the inner side of the cladding.

Powertrain

Setting aside the exterior and interior design of the new Mazda CX-5 crossover, there is another important aspect that makes this vehicle stand out – SKYACTIV powertrains. The new CX-5 is powered by Mazda's SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engine that uses state-of-the-art systems to achieve a high compression ratio of 13.0:1. These technologies include: multi-hole injectors that create a homogenous fuel-air mixture for improved combustion; a 4-2-1 exhaust system that lengthens the exhaust path in order to suppress knocking; variable valve timing that helps optimize intake and exhaust valve operation; and cavity pistons that minimizes cooling loss through a high thermal conversion ratio.

Mazda offers the SKYACTIV-G engine types for the Mazda CX-4: a SKYACTIV-G 2.0 and SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine. For those seeking a well-balanced performance in terms of fuel efficiency and linear response characteristics, a SKYACTIV-G 2.0 could be the right engine for them. For those seeking a more thrilling ride through greater torque delivery useful during acceleration, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine would be preferable. Specifically, the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine is a 1,998cc DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline powerplant that could generate a lot of torque from low rpm, providing enough muscle for repeated acceleration and deceleration.

This SKYACTIV-G 2.0 engine allows for a more quality ride with linear attributes that allow drivers to realize their intentions on the road. Not only that, this version of the SKYACTIV-G engine consumes less fuel and emits carbon dioxide, thus making it more environment friendly than the similarly displaced engine. On the other hand, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine is a 2,488cc DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline powerplant that features more torque and more output even at high rpm ranges. This allows the Mazda CX-5 to provide a more exhilarating performance in terms of acceleration.

These characteristics are even boosted by the adoption of a balance shaft. While both engines are mated to Mazda's high-performance six-speed automatic SKYACTIV-DRIVE transmission, the powerplant with the lower displacement could also be paired to the carmaker’s six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmission. SKYACTIV-DRIVE is a highly efficient six-speed automatic transmission that provides a direct shift feel similar to that of a manual gearbox, but allows for smoother gear changes and satisfactory fuel economy. SKYACTIV-DRIVE has a low-speed gear and shift control scheme that makes it easier to use when the Mazda CX-5 is being driven at low to mid-range speeds in the city.

Meanwhile, the available SKYACTIV-MT transmission is a lightweight, compact six-speed manual transmission that offers a sportier and more responsive shift feel. It features a short shift stroke scheme that allows for a crispier feel, which means drivers could change gears with a simple flick of the wrist. Mazda CX-5 models powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine come with Mazda's i-ACTIV AWD all-wheel drive system for augmented all-road capability. Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD makes use of an active torque control coupling to provide active on-demand control over the distribution of torque to the front and rear wheels of the new Mazda CX-5.

This means that the necessary amount to drive power to each wheel is only sent when needed, allowing for lesser energy loss. Particularly, i-ACTIV AWD constantly monitors that amount of road grip and then optimizes torque distribution to prevent wheel slip at the front. This system is able to determine the driver's intentions sans a FWD/AWD selection switch. Moreover, this system always provides optimal distribution of drive power to help achieve superb performance, regardless of the condition of the road. All models are also provided with Mazda's i-stop idling stop system that allows them to achieve better fuel economy.

Mazda CX-5 models with AWD SKYACTIV-G 2.5 come equipped with the carmaker’s i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system. i-ELOOP converts the kinetic energy generated during deceleration into electricity allowing the vehicle to use that converted energy. To achieve this, i-ELOOP employs a variable voltage alternator -- with output voltage ranging from 12V to 25V -- an Electric Double Layer Capacitor (EDLC) that could store large amounts of electricity and make them available for later use. This large-capacity EDLC enables i-ELOOP to supply electricity to power the CX-5’s electrical equipment like headlamps, audio systems and air-conditioning. i-ELOOP also employs a DC-DC converter that provides the suitable power output to each of the CX-5’s electrical equipment and systems.

Press Release

Mazda Unleashes New Mazda CX-4 Crossover SUV

Mazda Motor Corporation has unveiled a new crossover SUV, the Mazda CX-4, at the Beijing Motor Show (Auto China 2016).*1 The latest edition to Mazda's new-generation lineup adopts SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO—Soul of Motion design throughout and goes on sale in China in June.

The CX-4 was made to exceed existing categories and stereotypes. The dynamic design is unmistakably KODO in form and the planted stance and sleek, coupe-like cabin combine to give the model an outstanding presence. Customers will appreciate the exceptional functionality and user-friendliness, including the ease of entering and exiting the vehicle and the flexible cargo space. With SUV-like ground clearance and Mazda's i-ACTIV AWD*2 all-wheel drive system, the CX-4 is ready to take on a wide range of road conditions and offers a combination of outstanding environmental and safety performance (Sustainable Zoom-Zoom) and a Jinba-ittai driving feel with excellent handling thanks to its low center of gravity.

"The CX-4 is our fourth new-generation model in China," said Nobuhide Inamoto, Senior Managing Executive Officer overseeing operations in China. "Demand for SUVs here is remarkably strong and we expect this model will play a big part in expanding the Mazda brand in this market. We will continue working to strengthen our brand in China, aiming to become a brand which enriches people's lives through cars."

Topics: mazda, crossover

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