Second-gen CX-5 an evolution

New Zealand’s most popular medium sports utility delivers familiarity and substantial change


AN eagerness to have the latest CX-5 in New Zealand as soon as possible has been expressed by the Mazda distributor, though the boss of the Auckland-headquartered brand has yet to define when local market launch will occur.

For now, Andew Clearwater can only say that global markets including New Zealand will be served up here at some time after the new model goes on sale in Japan in February.

“The previous Mazda CX-5 has been an outstanding success in New Zealand and we expect the all-new CX-5 to continue the vehicles dominance of the mid-size SUV market in New Zealand.”

The second generation CX-5 was unveiled today at the Los Angeles motor show.

It has the same platform as well as the powertrains from the current model – at present here that’s a pair of normally-aspirated petrols, a 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre in front drive and a 138kW/250Nm 2.5 in the all-wheel-drive, plus a 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel - with one surprise being that the new 2.5-litre turbo petrol that has just debuted in the CX-9 has not transferred across.

However, the Hiroshima make has not discounted that the new four-cylinder, which offers 170kW/420Nm in the larger SUV, is exempt from CX-5 duty and several regional distributors, including Mazda Australia – with which the NZ operation maintains close association – has already expressed that it would make logical sense in the medium model.

Meantime, the existing engines are promised to deliver more performance and better economy in their new placement.

Today’s first full showing of the car shows the accuracy of the rendering by our in-house graphic artist, Josh Byrnes, published on November 2.

As we tipped then, the model is built on latest version of the SkyActiv platform, with an all-new – if evolutionary – body shape and a fresh interior with many of the ergonomic and styling changes effected in the latest Mazda3 and Mazda6 and the CX-9.

The wheelbase is the same as the outgoing model at 2700mm but the new car is a fraction longer (at 4550 it’s up 10mm). Width is unchanged and the new car is lower by 20mm, to 1690mm - a noticeable amount. The driver seat H-point appears unchanged but with the A-pillar moved 35mm rearwards and the screen raked a little, the new car looks sportier.

Track front and rear has also been increased over the outgoing model, lending the CX-5 a more planted stance.

More ultra-high-tensile steel used in construction of the body delivers benefits in crash performance and overall refinement. Mazda claims the new car’s centre of gravity is lower and the actual body in white is stiffer, by around 15 percent in torsion.

Media attending the global debut suggest regular CX-5 drivers will notice a significant step-up in interior quality. There’s a new, larger dash-top screen and the centre stack and console have both been revised; the latter raised to bring the shifter closer to hand.

 The car also debuts a new version of the brand’s hero colour, Soul Red Crystal, which Mazda says “combines vivid highlights and crystalline depths and further accentuates the design of the second generation Mazda CX-5”.