Ever since its arrival in 2012, Mazda’s CX-5 family SUV has been widely praised for its athletic styling, taut handling and strong performance. Yet it also happens to be one of the oldest models in Mazda’s lineup.
Fortunately, spy-shots doing the rounds recently suggest an all-new version is in the works; so with that in mind, let’s take a prototype-based, illustrated preview at Mazda’s next family chariot.
Soul of Motion Styling:
There’s no dramatic departure in design here; instead the new look is a refined, edgier interpretation of the brand’s ‘Kodo’ styling language. Which is a good thing, as the current car is easy on the eyes.
Front-end aesthetics are dominated by a large deep-set, chrome-framed mesh grille - spearing under the LED headlights rather than through them as per other Mazda models. The glasshouse is very similar to the current CX-5, but looks elegant and more mature. Body sheet-metal surfacing is more youthful than the CX-9, with subtle creases complementing its stance.
One of the biggest annoyances with the departing car is its rather staid cabin. While the Mazda6 gained a new dash upon its mid-life update, the CX-5 has been saddled with the same chunky dash since launch. Fortunately the new car will take design cues from the larger CX-9, which will improve cabin ambience and perceived quality.
There’s still guesswork about what improvements to internal packaging and specification levels there may be; however, one can at least expect goodies like heads-up display with traffic sign recognition, more legroom, a heated steering wheel on premium models and of course Mazda’s well-regarded MZD Connect infotainment system.
Skyactiv Platform and Performance:
You’ve probably heard all about Mazda’s new G-Vectoring (GVC) setup in the latest 3 and 6 models; expect this unobtrusive cornering assistance system to also feature in the CX-5. Further reductions in weight are in line with Mazda’s SkyActiv philosophy for better performance and economy.
The current car offers 2.0-liter and 2.5-litre four cylinder petrols, and a 2.2-litre diesel (depending on market). These units are expected to carry over, possibly with some improvements, however we’d certainly be pleased if the CX-9’s turbocharged 2.5-litre four found its way under the hood (are you listening Mazda?) Speculation also suggests that a hybrid may be in development, which could lure more punters.
In an SUV segment that is astoundingly competitive, the CX-5 should do well against rivals like the ageing Subaru Forester, Toyota Rav4 and Ford Escape/Kuga. However Honda has an all-new CR-V around the corner and then there is Volkswagen’s talented new Tiguan - offerings that could deliver a big headache for Mazda.
It’s unknown when the CX-5 will make an official appearance; yet going by the thinly-disguised testers spotted out and about, we’d expect a reveal within the next 12 months as a MY2018 model.
Finally, what are your thoughts on the CX-5’s new look? Share your thoughts in the comments below.