It's hard to think of a car maker with a better-looking range of cars than Mazda. From the smallest 2 to the largest CX-9, every single design can be considered one of if not the most handsome in its own class in my view.

Mazda speaks about a 'design language' more than most manufacturers, stuff that typically can be jargon and not prevent a car from looking like a dog's dinner despite all those lovely PowerPoint slides of some waterfalls and a spiralised cucumber. But whatever the language behind the 'Kodo - Soul of Motion' design philosophy that Mazda employs, I'll happily speak with it.

Mazda has a habit of lurching around between generations of car trying to reinvent itself. Such an approach can reveal an overall lack of confidence and direction in what is going on. You don't have to look too far up the road towards some of Mazda's Japanese counterparts for current evidence.

But back in 2011, Mazda relaunched itself with a suite of technologies called SkyActiv and the Kodo design language to style its next generation of models. And they all looked lovely, looking as good as they drove for once.

Now a potential crossroads has arrived. For at the LA motor show, we have the first Mazda to be replaced since it went Kodo and SkyActiv: the second-generation CX-5.

Thankfully, the new car is a subtle evolution of the existing theme rather than the complete rethink we've tended to see from Mazda over the years. They must know they're on to something with this Kodo...

So much so that Mazda now wants its models to be seen as "art", according to design chief Ikuo Maeda. It's quite a claim and, even as someone who has seen the Mona Lisa on the canvas, I'm not confident of knowing art when I see it or whether or not a car qualifies.

To hell with it, though: the new CX-5 is another Mazda that looks great and is a step up again from its already handsome predecessor. If Mazda can keep this up over the next few years as it replaces the rest of its range, they may have to clear a corner of The Louvre for the next MX-5 for it'll be such a stunner. Leonardo da Vinci would approve. Probably.

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