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.