Very impressive, and highly original, technology underpins a throughly thought-out and polished machine.

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

Add a comment…
rickydicky 28 November 2011

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

Hi Guys, Does anyone know whether Mazda has managed to extend the service intervals of the new skyactiv engines? Down Under Mazda requires that their vehicles be serviced every 10,000 km / 6 months, whereas the majority of vehicles from other manufacturers only require servicing every 15,000 km / 12 months. When you drive 40,000 km per year servicing becomes quite expensive. I've been following skyactiv closely, but I haven't read anything about service intervals. The technology sounds great, but I really don't want to have to get my car serviced every three months. Cheers.

macaroni 25 November 2011

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

This is horrid! So ugly its untrue, in that current Korean/Japanese how-many-lines-and-curves-can-I-squeeze-into-one-car look. The engine is nothing special, 170bhp from a twin-turbo 2.2? Sounds like it needs higher compression. Alfa got 200 from a 2.4 single turbo diesel, and that can achieve 50mpg. All this engine is, is clean, so what? I also don't get what the fuss is about Skyactiv. Surely a more important engine development is Fiat's Multiair, which has the potential to do without camshafts/cambelts/tensioners etc. Just my view.

IainStirling 24 November 2011

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

bomb wrote:
technical details

The compression ratio is approaching that of a petrol. How long before the much anticipated engine capable of running either diesel or petrol is here? (And by here I mean actually in production and for sale.)