MAZDA’S second generation CX-5 is all about refining a successful formula rather than trying to reinvent the vehicle that sits at the top of the Australian SUV sales charts.
At 4550mm long, 1840mm wide and 1690mm high it is almost identical dimensionally to the model it will replace in April 2017; the second generation CX-5 is 10mm longer, identical in width and 20mm lower.
Program manager for Masaya Kodama – who was involved in the developing the current BT-50 ute and has previously lived in Australia - describes the look as “refined toughness”.
“We have worked to strengthen the feeling of connection between car and driver,” he said, adding that passengers were as important as the driver when it came to enjoying the journey.
The Mazda CX-5 has also borrowed some of the cab-rearward stance of the CX-9, repositioning the A-pillars 35mm aft. Slimmer headlights and a grille that incorporates a bold chrome link between the two changes the look of the nose without dramatically altering the overall profile.
Combined with a track that’s been widened – positioning left and right wheels 10mm further apart – it creates a more athletic look without changing the wheelbase.
The wider footprint teams with a lower centre to sharpen the dynamics, an attribute that’s also benefited from a chassis boasting a 15.5 percent improvement in torsional rigidity thanks to the increased use of ultra-high tensile steel.
A Mazda bugbear – road noise and general refinement – has also been tackled with additional sound deadening claimed to improve conversation levels in the cabin by 10 percent.
The new CX-5 utilises the G-Vectoring Control (a torque vectoring system) already utilised on the 3 and 6, tasked with enhancing cornering poise and feel. It continues with a MacPherson strut front suspension setup and multi-link rear.
Inside, the new CX-5 gets a more upmarket interior in keeping with the CX-9 and updated Mazda3. A 7.0-inch display with the familiar MZD Connect operating system sits higher and looks as though it’s slicing into the redesigned dashboard.
The second generation CX-5 also gets rear air vents to better direct fresh air to those in the rear.
The centre console has also been raised, positioning the gear selector higher in the cabin, while the boot has grown a nominal five litres in volume to about 505 litres.
The optional Bose 10-speaker sound system features noise cancelling for crisper sound and less interference from road and tyre noise. The new CX-5 will drop the CD player, and instead focus on digital music and the ability to stream songs or tap into a smartphone’s music library.
The show car featured 19-inch alloys, although lesser models will get smaller rims; all CX-5s will get a space saver spare tyre.
Less clear are anticipated changes for the three four-cylinder engines, which will continue with updates to driveability and refinement.
That means the choice of either a 2.0-litre four-cylinder or 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, and a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel version.
As with the current CX-5 lineup, the second generation will exclusively pair the 2.0-litre engine to a front-wheel-drive setup with the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed auto. The two larger engines will drive all four wheels through a six-speed automatic.
Also similar to the model on sale now, the new model will get auto emergency braking (AEB), as well as auto braking when reversing.
Digital radio is expected to feature on all models, as well as the availability of speed sign recognition to better inform the driver of varying speed limits.
Other features on more expensive variants will include a head-up display (to project things such as the speedo and sat-nav commands on a virtual space above the bonnet) and matrix-style LED headlights that automatically block out other vehicles.
As with the current CX-5, there will be a broad model range incorporating the Maxx, Maxx Sport, GT and flagship Akera. Mazda is also hinting it will tweak the line-up, which could involve adding a fifth model variant.
Mazda has also refined its hero colour, Soul Red, to soon be known as Soul Red Crystal. It adds depth through extra metallic elements that better capture light and showcase lines.
There are three interior options – black material, white leather or black leather.