Mazda CX-5 to make its debut in the U.S. in 2012

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 2, 2011

In early 2012, the Mazda CX-5 will debut in the U.S. where it will join the expanding compact crossover segment. The CX-5 measures 178.7 inches long, making it shorter than Mazda's CX-7 crossover by over five inches. Its 106.3-inch wheelbase is also two inches shorter than that of the CX-7. A source said that the CX-5 will be offered with a diesel engine for the 2014 model year. Its rivals would be the Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

The pricing and packaging of this model for the U.S. market have yet to be announced but according to Hideaki Tanaka, who manages the CX-5 program, the base model is expected to cost about $20,000. The CX-7 has a starting price of $22,785 (inclusive of delivery charges).

At a press preview this week, a group of journalists were permitted to drive pre-production, European-spec prototypes. Mazda is expected to only release the final specifications for the U.S. market after the model makes its debut in North America at the Los Angeles auto show slated for November. The CX-5 will feature Mazda's new Skyactiv fuel-saving technologies, such as new engines and transmissions. It will also have a lightweight chassis and frame.

One of the prototypes tested was powered by a 2.0-liter engine partnered to a six-speed manual transmission that has an output of 165 hp and around 150 lbs.-feet of torque. It’s likely that power and torque will drop slightly for the U.S. version with a similar setup.

Mazda intends to reduce the Euro-spec engine's ultra-high 14:1 compression ratio to 13:1 to run on 87 octane regular gasoline. Another vehicle that was tested was a CX-5 that had a 2.2-liter, twin-turbo direct injection diesel engine, delivering over 160 hp and 310 lbs.-feet of torque. A source said that this engine will join the CX-5 lineup in U.S. for the 2014 model year.

When Mazda revealed plans to be part of the compact crossover SUV segment, a highly competitive class, it wanted a vehicle that had both form and function. It had to come out with a vehicle that would bring to mind the same emotional level and driving passion that Mazda was known for. The result is the new Mazda CX-5, the production vehicle from the brand to carry the design motif known as KODO - Soul of Motion. This design theme was first shown to the world in 2010 through the sports coupe concept which was the 4-door Mazda Shinari. After that is was seen again on the Mazda Minagi, the same crossover compact SUV from which the CX-5 is based from. Thus the CX-5 and its new design theme will represent the brand’s new generation of vehicle which brings with it more force, speed, and soul.

This concept of motion coupled with the power of nature and the inspiration for beauty makes the CX-5 have that excellent balance when it comes to performance and style. The team that developed the CX-5 wanted to make sure that this model would have the performance customers want and boast a sporty design that would combine form and balance with functionality. All of these qualities are what would one expect from a typical crossover SUV.

However aside from having a strong and active look, it has the emotional and dynamic style of Mazda. This appearance starts with the nose, especially with its strong presence, and the more pronounced wheel arches. Its profile has a forward-leaning look to it which reminds one of a runner on the starting line waiting for the start of the race.

Since the cabin is more oriented to the rear, it has a look similar to a predator preparing to attack a prey. This sporty but distinguished form is what differentiates this model from the competition. The front grille is new as well and has the signature wing that is the trademark of the KODO design theme. This feature goes all through the headlamps and displays depth and strength. Meanwhile the lower grille has a trapezoidal shape which helps the solid stance of the CX-5 and puts all the attention to the front portion. Going back to the design theme, the KODO is based on the principle of how animals move and thus has that agility, emotion, and vitality.

For the CX-5, the design team looked into the lithe cheetah, also known as the fastest animal on land. The team looked into how this animal would utilize its whole body like a spring and is able to put a large amount of energy into its movement through grace and dexterity.

Seeing how attractive the cheetah is, the team knew they had to make sure that this new model would take its look to a new level and it would be possible with the KODO. The end result is that it gives the exterior that classy feel but still able to show the functionality and strength. It also exhibits that graceful sense of motion and helps one look forward to an exciting drive.

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