This may be the first crossover we actually want.
Just as Hydra was the name behind the evil organization planning to dwindle the human population in "The Avengers," Kodo is Mazda’s word for its recent yet rapid war on Toyota’s seat at the top. The design behind the catchphrase has been nothing short of stunning, and we were fortunate enough to catch its latest evolution when Mazda peeled the wraps off of the CX-5 at an event just before the LA Auto Show. There is no other way to put it: as an automaker, you’re either fiercely competing in the crossover SUV segment or you’re losing.
That’s not an option for Mazda, which has recently dug deep and found motivation to build heavy hitters that have knocked many of its competitors off of their perches. Quality, driver experience, competitive options with a more upscale marketing approach, and out of this world good looks has characterized Mazda’s resurgence. Using the CX-5 as an offering to one of this era’s hottest segments, the Japanese automaker went all out. The new CX-5 looks more handsome and bold than the vehicle it replaces but does so without taking a radical departure from the previous car’s styling. What it does do is combine many subtle additions and refinements to make the new CX-5 a more complete package.
For example, the center of gravity on the CX-5 is lower by 10 mm while the front and rear track has been widened, nothing too radical but the effect is visible enough to give the CX-5 a more aggressive and confident stance. On its face, thinner and lower headlamps help back up the bark that some of the body lines boast. Inside, there is an air of form follows function design. Mazda has artfully spruced up the interior with metal buttons, ergonomic controls, and a sense of prevailing order that is sure to please customers used to options from lower price ranges or those who are used to more expensive luxury cars. It has been a noted phenomenon that the line between standard vehicles and luxury cars is blurring, but in this case, the CX-5 is a pair of drunk goggles.
To some, the 4.6-inch display may be a bit small although Mazda’s driver focused approach means that interior decorators worked to minimize distractions, a move that becomes more apparent with the dash-mounted driver information screen. Like the old CX-5, the new crossover should preserve many of the award winning driver-friendly handling characteristics that made the previous car one of the segment’s top picks. Powering the fun will be an array of Skyactiv engines including 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline options and a 2.2-liter diesel. Each of these drivetrains can be mated to a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual since Mazda still cares about us gearheads.
Out of the driver’s sight are additional drive features including Mazda’s G-Vectoring control that retards engine timing to place more weight over the front tires during a turn, a body that’s stiffer by 15.5 percent, and an auto hold function. While pricing is yet to be released, we’re almost certain that the new CX-5 is already a winner. Mazda has been on a roll lately, offering vehicles that are not just their segment’s Jack-of-all-trades, but all around standout. The Honda CR-V currently dominates small and mid-sized SUV sales, but the CX-5 is arguably the better pick in terms of luxury appeal, driver focus, versatility, and, we can say this with absolute certainty, looks. After a few months pass, we’ll have to look at the sales data to see if buyers agree.