Hilton Holloway
22 November 2011

What is it?

The Mazda CX-5 is the first model from the company that incorporates the full complement of Skyactiv technology. The clever, all-new platform - which might be described as a kind of steel spaceframe - has been designed to be lighter, stiffer, safer and easy to scale so it will underpin cars from the next Mazda 3 to the next CX-7.

More remarkable is the Skyactiv 2.2-litre diesel engine. Marked by the exceptionally low compression ratio (14:1), this twin-turbo unit comes in two power outputs (148bhp and 178bhp) and can meet the super-stringent 2014 Euro-6 pollution regulations without the need for a Nitrogen Oxide trap.

We tried this 148bhp, front-drive, late-stage prototype on the broken roads of southern Italy.

What's it like?

This car is well packaged, with impressive rear legroom, the largest boot in class (with a clever three-section folding rear seat) and a really well-judged seating position, which is no higher than it needs to be. The interior styling is reserved, but typically Japanese in its thoroughness and detailing.

The immediate impression from behind the wheel is of the engine’s exceptional refinement (both audibly and in terms of NVH through the driver’s contact points) even when accelerating with wide throttle openings.

This front-drive CX-5 had a handy turn of speed and a very slick, closely spaced, manual 'box. Mazda went to a great effort (re-locating the pivot point of the rear trailing arms) to replicate the kind of mature, easy-rolling ride that rounds off the edges of imperfections. It has undoubtedly succeeded, delivering something that feels credibly European.

Mazda engineers have also succeeded in eliminating the high-frequency in-cabin noises that are so annoying to European ears.

Should I buy one?

This car is radical under the skin, polished on the surface and impressively economical. The real test will be when full prices and specs are released early next year – but the signs are incredibly promising.

Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv-D 2.2 Front-drive

Price: £22,000 (est, entry-level); Top Speed: 125mph; 0-62mph: 9.2sec; Economy: tbc; Co2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 1445kg; Engine: 4cyls, 2184cc, turbo diesel; Power: 148bhp; Torque: 280lbft at 1800-2600rpm; Gearbox: Six-speed manual.

Join the debate

Comments
34

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

V.Interesting powertrain, and package. Had a good look at this car at Frankfurt and the exterior at least looks superb, much more sporty than most of the competition. However, Mazda need to update their interior design / colour + materials work..it's not up to scratch. Particularly as the Koreans are raising their game. Give this thing a decent interior and it would be a very desirable machine.

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

I was worried Skyactiv would be introduced in a worthy but bland gap filler.

The evidence so far suggests the CX-5 will allay all my fears. Especially as I didn't expect it to look so good!

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Yeah it looks great but the shiny plastic around the buttons on one of the shots looks dodgy. But I could live with that personally. It says prototype so might not be the finished article. But sensational looks.

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Looks like a very good offering from Mazda indeed. Great looks, technologically innovative, there is not enough cars around like this. And I was happy to read that it has a lot of legroom in the back as well. Looking forward to reading the full test eventually, I may consider it as our second car. Interesting also that a company like Mazda can develop something like this, while large European car companies like Renault (the horrible Koleos) and PSA (the Mitsu clones) fail to produce anything original or innovative in this important market segment...

Faustcar

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Personally I am not too worried about the CX-5 itself, even if it is quite good looking.

The ride and handling tunability of the new platform and the new tech engine are of more importance to me - and both seem to be cracking.

The fact that this higher riding soft roader is dynamically accomplished bodes well for the more standard fayre that will be put on the same architecture (3,5 and 6's) coupled with the ability of the engine to meet Euro 6 regs without extra emission control equipment (potentially costly and unreliable), Mazda really does seem to be in a great position for the future.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

jer

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Sounds great but a lot more poke would not go amiss. 240hp should be achievable from a 2.2. twin turbo that would make it an challenger to the premium offerings.

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Great looking car but the interior could do with more flair,its very bland.Great tech all round is this car which is great for Mazda now that they are more or less independent again.It seems Toyota,Honda et al have a lot of catching up to do.

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

I was expecting more from the Skyactiv solution. From the images and description the closes current match is the Nissan Qashqai. When compared to the 1.6 dCi* 130PS + are the numbers that radical? Isn't a new Qashqai also due in the next 12-18 months?

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Teg, how are you getting on with your Pug? On first name terms with the dealer yet?;)

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

2 years 43 weeks ago

Not sure about the odd looking face but the mechanicals look very exciting.

Please register or login to post a comment.

Our Verdict

Can efficiency-boosting SkyActiv technology help the Mazda CX-5 raise the compact crossover bar?

  • First Drive

    Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150PS 2WD

    The headline-grabbing Mazda CX-5 returns the best fuel economy and lowest CO2 emissions of any model in the range, and is a top-level contender in the class
  • First Drive

    Mazda CX-5 2.2D Sport Nav

    The lightest, fastest, most efficient and fun to drive in the segment, the new Mazda CX-5 has been worth the wait

Driven this week