The Mazda CX-5 marks the dawning of a new era for Mazda. It is the first of a new generation of vehicles, a compact crossover SUV that embodies a balance between the best of all worlds: fun, safety and sustainability, all in a very compelling package.
The Mazda CX-5 symbolises the latest advancement to the company's focus on Jinba Ittai, the feeling of oneness between car and driver known from the legendary MX-5. As the first Mazda to feature the entire range of brand-new SKYACTIV technology for more efficient, more fun and more environmentally-friendly lightweight cars, the Mazda CX-5 paves the way for a new generation of Mazda vehicles. Developed using Mazda's distinctive breakthrough approach to vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing, SKYACTIV's creators successfully resolved conflicting objectives to come up with a line of engines, transmissions, bodies and chassis that offer customers a new level of value.
Developers of this special new model focused on four key values. Hence the Mazda CX-5's appealing, emotional design as well as its interior functionality and craftsmanship. Sustainability, too, was a top priority, both in terms of the vehicle's environmental imprint as well as safety. The remarkably responsive yet predictable driving dynamics, finally, were obligatory for Mazda's latest model.
The Mazda CX-5's unique SKYACTIV powertrains deliver all the qualities that make a vehicle fun to drive and to own: more torque, better responsiveness and better fuel economy. The latest edition of Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, here is a vehicle that does precisely what the driver wants and reacts exactly as one would expect.
What you also get is the fruits of Mazda's lightweight strategy. Looking to reduce the weight of its new generation models by 100 kg, engineers exhaustively sought out optimisation potential, but always with an eye to improving strength and safety. And safe it is: In addition to the outstanding passive safety afforded by a complete body and chassis redesign as one component of the SKYACTIV programme, the Mazda CX-5 features active safety systems previously unheard of in its segment and an extraordinarily good field of view for the driver.
This is just one example of the intelligent design of the CX-5. The basis for Mazda's brand-new look is the company's innovative "KODO - Soul of Motion" design theme, with its bold front face and new signature wing that highlights the redesigned five-point grille. Inside, the roomy, sophisticated cabin clearly testifies to how this car was built for life in today's world. Featuring refreshingly clever Karakuri features, such as the unique 4:2:4 three-way split folding rear seat, and a highly intuitive HMI/infotainment system, the Mazda CX-5 takes convenience and flexibility to a new level.
With its interior versatility, its predictable and responsive handling and its class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions, the Mazda CX-5 instantly raises the bar for the compact SUV segment in Europe.
Mazda set out to enter the competitive compact crossover SUV segment with a vehicle that could do more than just look the part. It needed to evoke a level of emotion and driving passion worthy of the Mazda badge. Therefore, the all-new CX-5 is the first production model to feature the company's new "KODO - Soul of Motion" design theme. Inspired by the beauty and power of nature along with the concept of motion, the Mazda CX-5 achieves an outstanding balance between style and performance.
KODO was first unveiled in 2010 on the Mazda Shinari, a 4-door sports coupe concept, and then the Mazda Minagi, the compact crossover SUV concept on which the Mazda CX-5 is based. Now, starting with the CX-5, KODO will exemplify the design of a whole new generation of Mazda vehicles: a faster, more forceful and more soulful means of motion.
Brimming with vitality, emotion and agility, KODO's essence can be found in the movements of animals. Specifically, Mazda CX-5 designers studied cheetahs - the fastest land animals - observing how they use their entire body as a spring, setting enormous energy into motion with incredible dexterity and grace. Stirred by such beauty, the designers then set out to push the look of an SUV to another level with KODO.
One result is a sophisticated exterior that, while expressing SUV sturdiness and functionality, boldly projects an elegant sense of motion - and anticipation of an exhilarating drive.
Exterior: form meets function
Developers pursued a sporty, imposing design delivering the greatest possible balance between form and functionality, performance included. Hence the combination of what one would expect from a crossover SUV - an active, powerful appearance - with Mazda's characteristic dynamic and emotional styling.
The Mazda CX-5's well-planted look begins with the strong presence of the nose and prominent wheel arches. Its forward-leaning stance is reminiscent of a sprinter in the starting blocks just before the race begins, and the placement of the cabin to the rear like a predator preparing to pounce. The end result is an athletic yet dignified shape that sets the new Mazda apart from other SUVs.
Extending through the headlamps, the new front grille with its "signature wing" is a KODO design theme trademark expressing strength and depth. The trapezoidal lower grille, meanwhile, contributes to the vehicle's solid posture and focuses attention on the front end.
The prominent rear fenders and edgy liftgate surfaces further augment the CX-5's sturdy, elegant form, again differentiating the CX-5 from a typical SUV. The rear spoiler not only looks sporty, it also improves aerodynamics. The bumpers contribute to performance, too: Featuring a specially developed resin material, they're just as rigid as conventional bumpers yet around 20 % lighter. Even the taillights, wing-shaped like the headlamps, add a unique touch, particularly when illuminated at night.
Viewed at its full length, the Mazda CX-5 exudes dynamism, with continuous forms and lines conveying an impression of speed. The sculptured body sides and bold fender arches (skirting a choice of 17 or 19-inch wheels) accentuate a sense of power. But the CX-5 doesn't only look good.
The angle of the A-pillars gives the driver an outstanding field of view, improving safety as well as driving enjoyment. The slanting C-pillars along with the sharply raked back window, meanwhile, contribute to the vibrant appearance.
Mazda CX-5 designers were able to achieve outstanding aerodynamics, with a target drag coefficient of only 0.33, by pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking regarding compact SUVs. These are just some examples of the harmonious blend of form and function on the new Mazda CX-5.
The exterior is available in seven colours including two brand-new tones designed to showcase the extraordinary all-new Mazda CX-5: Zeal Red represents the power and attractiveness of the body form, while Sky Blue marks the introduction of the underlying SKYACTIV technology for the first time in Europe.
Interior: the driver in focus
Inside, Mazda created a driver-oriented cabin with solid yet mature styling that reflects the CX-5's exterior strength and sturdiness. And, unsurprisingly for a Mazda, the look and feel of the interior underscores the car's sportiness.
The goal was to create a space that makes people want to get in and drive. And the cabin truly says "welcome", incorporating the power of the KODO design theme by offering a new level of build quality along with outstanding ergonomics and an excellent view of the road.
The seats are new, as well. Expressing solid simplicity, they look and feel sporty, delivering superb lateral and vertical grip with better thigh and lumbar support than ever - but without compromising on driver or passenger comfort, even on long trips. Using new material and a new structure, they weigh less, too.
From the steering wheel, which conveys a sense of lightness and manageability, to the control systems (including the steering wheel-mounted switches, switch clusters on the dash and HMI commander for the infotainment system): Each component was designed to provide a uniform feel throughout the cabin.
The instrument panel, meanwhile, is worthy of a robust SUV but draws its shape from Mazda's legendary MX-5 roadster. The longitudinal design of the driver's side, and particularly the meter hood, resembles a cockpit and produces a sense of forward momentum, building anticipation for the drive ahead.
As far as the upholstery goes, leather and two kinds of fabric are available for the seats and trim in two colours: black (for pure sports appeal) and sand (for a brighter, more vibrant look). The top equipment package features leather with stylish dual-coloured stitching and perforations optimally sized to absorb sound. The fabric variants, meanwhile, maximize the Mazda CX-5's sporty, powerful image.
And Mazda didn't forget the passenger, who is cushioned in an inviting, secure atmosphere and shares trouble-free access with the driver to non-driving related features, such as the specially designed BOSEÂ® audio system.
The new materials and styling chosen for the cabin mark a step forward, compromising neither form nor function. The interior look radiates high quality, with the most often touched interior components (like the steering wheel spokes and door handles) having a satin chrome finish. The classy soft material adopted for the majority of dash surfaces and door trim, meanwhile, is offset by a central ornamental panel featuring the glossy piano black treatment pioneered in the RX-8.
Gauges: sporty yet sophisticated
The connection with Mazda's sporty tradition is unmistakable in the gauges, whose surfaces were treated with a spindle finishing process to give them a muted, deep sheen that contrasts with the metallic look of the dial needles. The tasteful surface even changes slightly depending on the driver's viewing angle. Finally, for a clean, consistent look, white illumination is now used throughout the instrument panel.
Power and dignity: The new "face" of Mazda
Dynamic. Emotional. Compelling. Unique. However else one might describe it, Mazda's new expression is certainly vibrant. And what better vehicle to introduce it than the Mazda CX-5, itself a first?
Fitting for an SUV, the wings of the CX-5's upper grille are powerful and imposing, stretching out "in flight" as they extend out from nose towards the headlamps. Representative of the new "KODO - Soul of Motion" design theme, the five-point schematic is actually an advancement of the previous Mazda grille, so the observer immediately recognizes that it's a Mazda.
The headlamps, too, feature a three-dimensional wing-like design. Wrapped around the fender, they hint at the eyes of a cheetah looking boldly ahead, instinctively focused on its prey.
The lower grille, meanwhile, fans out towards the ground, contributing to the solid, forward-looking stance of the new generation of Mazda vehicles. Together with the lines of the fog lamps, it further accentuates the upper grille and its central focus: Looking forward, into the future!
Comfort and Convenience, no compromise
The all-new Mazda CX-5 offers a highly effective interior that is both comfortable and user-friendly. Space is utilized efficiently, and functional features laid out intelligently. The engineers developed a new seat shape and layout, for example, to put driver and passenger alike in the ideal position. The CX-5 also received the utmost in cargo flexibility with the world's first 4:2:4 split rear seats with remote fold-down function for all three sections. It all boiled down to finding the optimal ergonomic design and enhancing what makes people feel good for a purer sense of driving enjoyment.
In spite of its compact exterior length, the Mazda CX-5 is remarkably spacious on the inside. The CX-5's width (1,840 mm) and wheelbase (2,700 mm) are segment leading. Typical for an SUV, the driver sits in a commanding position in the CX-5. But Mazda went the extra mile, finding precisely the spot where the driver has the best view of the road yet can still operate pedals and controls in absolute comfort. These efforts paid off: The CX-5 boasts a class-leading sight angle, horizontally as well as vertically.
The slant of the A-pillars along with the gap between these and the side mirrors further enhances the driver's visibility, whether checking for pedestrians at intersections, looking for oncoming traffic in a curve on a two-lane highway, or speeding down a multi-lane motorway. The Mazda CX-5 thus delivers the widest field of vision in the segment. For the driver, that means more predictable driving and therefore a safer, less stressful and more comfortable journey. Even upon reaching the destination, since the CX-5 is equipped with Mazda's most comprehensive Parking Assist system ever, combining an integrated rear parking camera with audio warning tones as well as front and rear warning zones featuring a visual display.
The ultimate in convenience
Picture this: four adults relaxing in comfort on a long trip, with room to adjust posture and all important functions and features within arm's reach. Mazda's approach to ergonomics was to identify the optimum position for occupants, focusing on their joints, and arrange systems and storage accordingly. Passengers are cut off from outside agitation and free to relax and travel in comfort, while the driver can concentrate on the task at hand. Mazda's ergonomic innovators even analysed how people get in and out of a vehicle. Using a "digital mannequin", they redesigned the door and B-pillar areas to allow smooth entry and exit with minimal body stress.
The centre armrests are wide enough for sharing, while the lateral distance from centre hip point (or middle of the seat) to the door trim provide plenty of hip and elbow room. Shoulder room, too, is top class front and back. Legroom, meanwhile, is ample and, at 997 mm for rear seat passengers, particularly generous for this segment. So is the best-in-class rear knee clearance (66 mm) as well as foot space, owing to the wide cavity under the front seats.
Sitting in style
Driver and passenger will be comfortable and secure, too, in Mazda's newly developed high-performance front seats. These were designed with a lightweight structure, enhancing stiffness as well as cushion comfort and isolating vibrations for a more refined ride quality. Delivering good lumbar and upper body support, they relieve fatigue while arresting lower body movement during cornering. The driver's seat is even available with easy-to-reach 8-way power adjustable controls (standard with top equipment package), including power lumbar support.
In the back, the CX-5 features Mazda's unique Karakuri functionality, including the independent three-piece 4:2:4 fold-down seats - the industry's first with remote release levers for all three sections. Operated using either the one-action remote levers conveniently located in the top side trim on each side of the luggage compartment or from inside the car via buttons on the seat uppers, the dive-down rear seats fold into a virtually flat storage space for the utmost in flexibility. The centre section can either serve as a fifth seat, centre armrest with built-in cupholders, or fold flat to transport long items. And there is still enough room for two child seats or two adults to ride in comfort.
A boot for real life
That is just one example of how the CX-5 can flexibly accommodate all sorts of cargo without detracting from passenger comfort. Again, it's all about intelligently meeting needs with a highly efficient boot space focused on the essentials. A cubic form was chosen with no unwanted protrusions or dead space along with a liftgate designed for easy loading. In fact, the top-class boot capacity of 503 l (including sub-trunk) can hold four golf bags with long drivers or four suitcases. Fold down the 4:2:4 split rear seats, and you have 1,620 l of total volume.
Everyday convenience and top functionality are vital for a small SUV. Therefore, the Mazda CX-5 also gets an advanced version of Mazda's innovative Karakuri tonneau cover that opens and closes together with the liftgate - a first for this segment. Weighing only 2 kg (or half that of the version from the Mazda6 wagon), the cover is removed with a one-touch procedure and stores neatly in the sub-trunk.
Karakuri: the essence of surprise
"Hidden, but containing the unexpected." Karakuri, which loosely translates as "trick" or "mechanisms", is a Japanese term used at Mazda to describe unique, insightful features - such as the tonneau cover or the one-touch remote rear seat fold-down system - that are remarkably simple to operate.
Like a traditional tea-serving Karakuri doll, which starts to move forward when the cup is placed in its hands, these mechanisms deliver maximum functionality with minimal force.
"What they want, where they want, whenever they want." When designing storage receptacles for the CX-5, Mazda developers set out to achieve three things: stowability, removability and visibility. As a result, there is a large open space in front of the shift lever, ideal for personal items, and pockets in the trim of each door able to hold a 1-litre bottle. There are also cupholders front and back as well as numerous other spaces for smaller items.
Hot and cold efficiency: A/C & heating
Mazda redesigned the climate control system to deliver one of the best cooling and heating systems in its class while at the same time contributing to fuel economy by reducing its weight and power requirements.
The heater has also been optimised for the cooler-running SKYACTIV engines debuting in the Mazda CX-5. The new electric water pump, meanwhile, continues to circulate hot engine water even after the i-stop system shuts off the car (at a traffic light, for example). This ensures a supply of heat for much longer than from systems that use a conventional mechanical pump.
Noise, vibration and harshness
As for NVH, proactive measures were taken to ensure that the driver receives the necessary vibration and feedback to aid driving, while at the same time specifically eliminating unpleasant and intrusive noise.
By obstructing noise pathways from the CX-5's engine compartment to the cabin using new sound absorbing materials and controlling suspension resonance and energy flows through the floor panel, Mazda achieved some of the lowest cabin noise readings in the compact SUV segment.
Man and machine in sync
Easier to use than ever, the Mazda CX-5's new-generation HMI (human machine interface) features a 5.8-inch touchscreen monitor located at the top-centre of the dash, minimising the need for drivers to take their eyes off the road. Streamlined steering wheel controls enable more straightforward than ever operation of the infotainment system, which can also be accessed using the HMI commander on the centre console between the front seats or directly via the touchscreen. The infotainment system features the latest technology, including a USB connector and BluetoothÂ® wireless connectivity as well as iPodÂ® wireless audio playback.
Otherwise, the BoseÂ® surround sound system jointly developed with Mazda for the CX-5 will delight even the most discerning music enthusiasts, while the navigation system, based on TomTomÂ® technology, offers top-quality connected service. Further features include the hands-free mobile phone set-up with noise suppression and voice recognition, push-button start with advanced keyless entry, shark fin antenna and, of course, cruise control.
The CX-5 is the first Mazda built around high-efficiency SKYACTIV powertrains. Fully utilizing SKYACTIV's strengths, the wealth of torque is evident in all driving situations, even at low engine speeds. Optimising the Mazda CX-5's acceleration behaviour to do what people expect, Mazda aimed to give the driver the ability to manipulate the car at will, achieving gratifying linear driving performance together with outstanding fuel efficiency. After all, ultra-efficient fun-to-drive vehicles aren't a niche market at Mazda. They are Mazda, as the CX-5 patently demonstrates.
A look under the Mazda CX-5's bonnet will reveal one of three high-efficiency four-cylinder engines - two diesels and one petrol powerplant - paired with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions in either four-wheel drive (AWD) or front-wheel drive (FWD) format. Whatever the combination, all CX-5 models feature i-stop, Mazda's unique fuel-saving idle-stop system providing the world's fastest restarts.
Clean diesel power
SKYACTIV engines are about making internal combustion as effective as possible. There are two adaptations of the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D: a standard power diesel producing 110 kW/150 PS at 4,500 rpm and 380 Nm of torque in the 1,800-2,600rpm range, and a high power version (AWD only) putting out 129 kW/175 PS at 4,500 rpm and a formidable 420 Nm at 2,000 rpm. Together with the 6-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission, the latter accelerates the CX-5 from a standstill to 100 km/h in only 8.8 seconds, reaching a top speed of 207 km/h. Coupled with a SKYACTIV-Drive automatic, this high-power AWD diesel completes the 0-100 sprint in 9.4 seconds and tops out at 204 km/h.
The Mazda CX-5 with standard power SKYACTIV-D and manual gearbox, meanwhile, reaches 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds (FWD) and 9.4 seconds (AWD), while the automatic does so in 10.0 seconds (FWD) and 10.2 seconds (AWD). Top speeds for the manual are 202 km/h (FWD) and 197 km/h (AWD), or 198 km/h (FWD) and 194 km/h (AWD) for the automatic.
But despite their extraordinarily wide-ranging torque and impressive performance, SKYACTIV-D engines are exceptionally clean and economical diesels. In fact, both versions meet Euro 6 emissions criteria (almost three years before they take effect) without pricey exhaust aftertreatment systems. The secret is their ultra-low compression ratio, lightweight design and variable twin turbocharger (providing maximum boost pressure of 2.7 bar), to name just a few of the clever concepts that went into these engines.
Add in up to nine fuel injection cycles through the 10-holed piezo injectors at 2,000 bar maximum injection pressure, and the upshot in the CX-5 is average fuel consumption of only 4.6 l/100 km (combined cycle for the standard power diesel with FWD and a manual transmission). This translates into CO2 emissions of only 119 g/km - one of the top figures in Europe for a compact SUV. The numbers for the remainder of the standard power SKYACTIV-D CX-5 line-up are: 5.3 l/100 km and 139 g/km (FWD and automatic); 5.2 l/100 km and 136 g/km (AWD and manual); and 5.5 l/100 km and 144 g/km (AWD and automatic). The high power AWD models require 5.2 l/100 km (manual) and 5.5 l/100 km (automatic), emitting 136 g/km and 144 g/km of CO2, respectively.
Ultra-high petrol compression
Developers of the SKYACTIV-G petrol engine were also aiming for a lightweight design that produced more from less. And like the diesel, the compression ratio is a central feature of the Mazda CX-5's 2.0-litre petrol-powered SKYACTIV-G. This time, however, it's an extraordinarily high 14:1 that utilises a newly-designed 4-2-1 exhaust system and special pistons, among other things, to resolve the challenges associated with high compression (such as knocking). As a result, the SKYACTIV-G is 10 % lighter with considerably less internal friction than the 2.0 MZR unit it replaces, while delivering more torque, better fuel economy and lower emissions.
The FWD petrol-powered CX-5 delivers 121 kW/165 PS at 6,000 rpm and 210 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, or 118 kW/160 PS and 208 Nm in AWD layout at the same engine speeds. In the FWD CX-5, this is good for a 0-100 km/h sprint in 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 200 km/h. At 6.0 l/100 km, its combined cycle fuel economy corresponds to CO2 emissions of 139 g/km, also among the best in its class. This is partly thanks to the direct injection system which sprays the fuel through the six-hole injectors at 30-200 bar - an exceptionally wide range. The AWD CX-5, meanwhile, manages the 0-100 km/h dash in 10.5 seconds (manual) and 9.6 seconds (automatic) with respective top speeds of 197 km/h and 187 km/h. At 6.6 l/100 km and 155 g/km, fuel consumption (combined) and CO2 emissions are the same for manual and automatic CX-5s with the SKYACTIV-G engine in AWD format.
As for bringing power to the wheels, Mazda offers two new cutting-edge six-speed transmissions to enhance the Mazda CX-5's athletic character: the aforementioned SKYACTIV-MT manual and the SKYACTIV-Drive automatic.
The latter, featuring full-range direct drive, imparts the feeling of a manual while combining the most desirable features of different kinds of automatic transmissions into a single transmission. Its smooth linear accelerating and shifting are available for all AWD models as well as the FWD with standard power diesel. The SKYACTIV-MT, meanwhile, brings the crisp, tight shifting and direct, sporty feeling of the MX-5 roadster to Mazda's newest model. In any case, both transmissions enhance the effectiveness and feel of the powertrain as a whole, improving both fuel economy and performance with efficient lightweight designs.
i-stop: Now for diesel power and automatic transmissions, too
Mazda is offering i-stop, its innovative, intelligent idle-stop system, for the first time with a diesel engine and in combination with the SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission. In fact, i-stop is standard equipment on all CX-5s.
i-stop, which debuted in petrol versions of the Mazda3 and Mazda5 starting in 2009, was developed entirely in-house. Unique in many ways, it has now been enhanced for the new generation of SKYACTIV technologies.
Indeed, it's the lone idle-stop system that uses combustion energy for the restart, requiring an electric-powered starter motor only to provide some momentum during the initial restart phase. In addition to saving fuel, this enables remarkably quick and smooth restarts: The Mazda CX-5 with petrol SKYACTIV-G engine does so within 0.35 seconds, while the SKYACTIV-D model restarts within 0.40 seconds - both industry bests.
i-stop uses a sophisticated control module to switch off the engine in the ignition/expansion stroke (petrol) or compression stroke (diesel), the optimal cycles for restarting. In fact, i-stop actually waits for this precise moment, monitoring the position of the pistons and calculating prior to the cut-off exactly which cylinders will subsequently deliver the most efficient restart. And it all takes a spilt second, so the driver doesn't even notice.
Conventional systems, in contrast, only identify which cylinder is in the correct stroke position after an electric starter turns the crankshaft to begin the restart. This delays the process, requiring extra energy, too. For example, whereas competing diesel models equipped with an idle-stop system don't restart until the second compression stroke (or engine cycle), Mazda's SKYACTIV-D starts almost immediately during the first compression stroke.
Otherwise, efficiency advancements mean one battery is required rather than two, which saves space and reduces weight. By closely monitoring the condition of the battery, i-stop improves the frequency and duration of shut-offs compared to earlier versions, boosting mileage further.
CX-5 drivers and passengers, meanwhile, need not go without electric-powered systems. Even the climate control continues to work as long as full heating or cooling power isn't required. And when it is, i-stop recognises this and restarts.
It's another component of Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, Mazda's commitment to minimising the environmental effects - with no compromises.
Chassis & Body
Developers of the chassis and body for the new Mazda CX-5 concentrated on the most essential elements. Namely, enhancing what feels good and maximising overall performance while keeping economics and sustainability in focus when minimising weight. The result: A SKYACTIV-Chassis and SKYACTIV-Body on par with the Mazda CX-5's powerful, sporty and efficient SKYACTIV powertrains. It's another convincing element of Jinba Ittai, the feeling of oneness between drivers and their cars. Designed from the ground up for a whole new generation of perfectly harmonious products delivering a predictably responsive driving experience.
Chassis for all seasons
Looking to make a distinct leap when it came to controlling the vehicle, engineers completely re-examined the suspension and steering systems. As a result, the CX-5's all-new SKYACTIV-Chassis delivers a level of driving quality unusual for a small SUV. Its lightweight construction includes a front strut suspension and a multi-link rear format along with an assortment of design changes. At any speed, words like "precise" and "predictable" come to mind, whether the topic is acceleration, cornering, high-speed stability or braking. Drivers feel secure in a vehicle that balances agility and stability without compromising on ride comfort or safety.
The electronic power-assisted steering system was given an array of sensors measuring variables such as g-force and wheel speed to monitor things like the CX-5's wheel angle and steering wheel behaviour. The data is then utilised to adjust the feel of the steering wheel according to the driving situation.
But a description of an SUV chassis wouldn't be complete without addressing its characteristics in all-wheel-drive mode. By boosting the efficiency of the AWD unit and cutting its weight, designers again found an optimum balance between performance and economy. Mazda was aiming for the top of the segment with the Mazda CX-5, advancing its AWD control system to optimise power and minimise energy loss. Rear torque is variably controlled, with a precise slip detection system transmitting the right amount of muscle to where it is needed, also saving fuel.
A solid body for solid fun
The SKYACTIV-Body advances the CX-5's rewarding, responsive character, supporting optimum handling and stability while helping reduce fuel consumption and minimise NVH. But in spite of its lightweight construction, the CX-5 was also designed to achieve the top rating in crash tests like Euro NCAP.
One of most remarkable features of the CX-5's body is its overall rigidity. In fact, rigidity is closer to that of a premium sedans, which tend to be much stiffer than compact SUVs. Local rigidity, too, was greatly enhanced at the engine and suspension mounting points. Confirming just how big a role the rear end plays in overall stiffness, developers optimised material thickness and enhanced connections at strategic body points like the rear ring structure, wheel wells and side rails. The rear damper area, meanwhile, was given a dual-brace structure to contain vibrations from the suspension. This, in turn, enabled improvements to be made to the body's torsional stiffness and rear rigidity as well as NVH, while at the same time reducing the structure's weight.
In fact, the majority of the weight reduction on the Mazda CX-5 can be attributed to optimised structures. It is, for example, the first vehicle ever containing 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel. Used in the bumper beams, which fit inside the front and rear bumpers, it makes them 20 % stronger yet 4.8 kg lighter than previous generation bumpers. Overall, high-tensile steels make up 61 % of the total used in the CX-5 body and are therefore vital to the CX-5's strong, lightweight design and superior handling: Lighter components improve cornering while also benefiting fuel economy.
To keep the cabin atmosphere quiet and relaxed, road and engine noise were first separated to eliminate unpleasant high frequencies. A new approach to sound insulation, meanwhile, sees body and interior materials used to make sure less noise reaches the ear. The pathway for engine noise is blocked at the wheel arches, diverting the sound to the dash area, where a new material with excellent sound absorption properties has been added. The pathway for tire noise is also blocked at the wheel wells, while noise coming from the side sills is concentrated in the floor and dampened by new sound-absorbing floor mats.
Otherwise, engineers suppressed suspension resonance to dampen vibrations where the front suspension cross members attach. They also enhanced the rigidity of the floor panel to contain energy flow. Thanks to this and other measures, the Mazda CX-5 achieves top results in all frequency ranges, regardless of the road surface, but especially on rough or cracked roads and coarse or grainy surfaces. The overall figures - 40.5 dB engine noise and 68.6 dB road noise (with 19-inch wheels) - are among the lowest in its class. But in spite of the relaxing interior, drivers still pick up the audible feedback and vibrations they need to help them operate the vehicle.
Out on the open road, a new underfloor design directs air upwards, smoothing air flow underneath the vehicle and preventing eddy formation behind it. Together with its upper body shape, this makes the CX-5 one of the most aerodynamic compact SUVs around. The top-class target drag coefficient (cd) of 0.33 contributes to the CX-5's superb fuel efficiency and is thus another essential element of Sustainable Zoom-Zoom.
Featuring a driver-oriented cockpit layout, the Mazda CX-5 is designed to help drivers avoid accidents and, if one happens, reduce the severity as much as possible. The CX-5 comes equipped with the latest active safety technology, like Smart City Brake Support and Lane Departure Warning System, as well as state-of-the-art passive safety structures. These range from the lightweight yet highly-rigid SKYACTIV-Body and various impact-absorbing structural innovations to an array of interior bonnet-to-boot design advancements. Mazda's goal is no less than top ratings in crash tests around the world.
Active safety: technology and more
Active safety takes many forms in the CX-5. It starts with a cockpit that enables accurate recognition and judgement by offering superior visibility. Being a Mazda, it also includes the characteristic refined driving feel and predictably responsive handling. And, as the first model of a new generation, the Mazda CX-5 is equipped with a host of cutting-edge active safety technology.
The CX-5 raises the bar for active safety in compact SUVs with a package of systems never before seen in this segment, including Smart City Brake Support and a Lane Departure Warning System. For those hazards lurking behind the vehicle, the CX-5 has eyes in the back of its head in the form of the upgraded Rear Vehicle Monitoring system. Like in other Mazdas, this system detects vehicles approaching from behind in adjacent lanes and in the blind spots, alerting the driver via LEDs in the appropriate side mirror. If the driver disregards an alert and switches on the turn signal lights to change lanes, the LED blinks and a buzzer sounds in the instrument panel. What's new (besides adjustable buzzer volume) is that the CX-5's Rear Vehicle Monitoring system - which won the Euro NCAP Advanced Award on the Mazda3 - is useful in city traffic, too, since it functions from speeds as low as 30 km/h instead of 60 km/h, as previously.
Targeting proven dangers
Improving visibility at night was another important safety topic for Mazda engineers. Traffic statistics reveal that 70 % of fatal accidents occur at night, and most of these involve vehicles using low-beam headlamps. So, as the first Mazda and one of the first in the segment, they equipped the Mazda CX-5 with a High Beam Control System (HBCS). HBCS automatically switches between low and high beams to ensure good night visibility for everyone. The system uses a camera at the top of the windscreen to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles at a distance of 600 m (and taillights of preceding cars at a distance of 500 m), changing to low beams to avoid impairing other drivers' vision and then putting the high beams back on again afterwards. HBCS also switches off the high beams automatically when they are not needed, for example at low speeds or in brightly lit urban areas.
Hill starts need not cause worry, either, thanks to the Mazda CX-5's Hill Launch Assist. By controlling brake pressure to prevent the vehicle from rolling, Hill Launch Assist helps ensure smooth starts on gradients of 2 degrees or more. The acceleration sensor in the CX-5 version even has an integrated auto-learning function to better adapt to an individual's driving habits.
And the Mazda CX-5 naturally comes with a range of additional state-of-the-art equipment, standard in all markets, including ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), brake assist, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and TCS (Traction Control System).
In the cockpit, Mazda optimised the position of the A-pillars as well as the door mirrors to enhance the driver's front and side field of vision. It's just another example of how active safety empowers the driver. Because getting from A to B safely comes down to the person behind the wheel.
Smart City Brake Support
It's another debut: The CX-5 is the first Mazda as well as the first non-premium compact SUV with a Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system that helps prevent low speed (4-30km/h) frontal collisions.
SCBS uses a near-infrared sensor on the windscreen to monitor preceding vehicles at a range of up to around 6m. Should it detect an elevated risk of collision, SCBS pre-fills the brake to remove any play and prepare for an emergency stop.
Now, if the hazard is avoided or the danger subsides, the brake prefill is immediately cancelled. But if the driver does not respond or take measures to avoid a crash, SCBS automatically applies the brakes. It thus helps averts accidents at speeds of up to 15 km/h while at least reducing the intensity of a collision when driving as fast as 30 km/h. This, of course, decreases the potential for injury as well as damage to the vehicle and the subsequent cost of repairs.
Lane Departure Warning System
Mazda's brand-new Lane Departure Warning System, which debuts in the CX-5 and is among the first for the compact SUV segment in Europe, always has its eye on the road. When the system is switched on, a camera on the windscreen monitors the position of the white lane markings at speeds of 65 km/h and higher. If the system detects a risk of an unintentional lane change, it warns the driver with a rumble sound originating from the applicable side of the vehicle.
The Lane Departure Warning System calculates the risk based on the steering angle, lateral g-force and other data. But if it determines that a lane change is intended, for example when the turn signal light has been engaged or the vehicle is accelerating, there is no warning.
What makes Mazda's Lane Departure Warning System truly unique is that it's the first system of its kind to channel the acoustic warning (which sounds like a car driving on rumble strips) through the left or right speakers in simulated stereo. This is proven to provoke a quicker driver reaction to rectify the situation than non-stereo warnings or beeping instrument panels.
The Lane Departure Warning System is intuitive, too, adapting to an individual driver's behaviour and changing the settings accordingly to avoid false alarms. The system can even be customised manually by changing the preset distances to the lane markings required to trigger a warning.
Passive safety: absorbing the impact
And passive safety? Well, that's entirely up to the car. Because this is what matters when an accident occurs. Again, Mazda engineers made no compromises, designing the Mazda CX-5 to channel impact energy away from the cabin.
As the first Mazda built with the entire range of SKYACTIV technology, the CX-5 comes with the highly rigid yet lightweight SKYACTIV-Body. Utilising a straighter, more continuous frame and an extremely efficient multi-load path structure, the SKYACTIV-Body is designed to achieve top ratings in crash tests around the world.
High-tensile steel sees much greater usage than ever before in a Mazda. In fact, 61 % of the steel used in the Mazda CX-5 is of the high-tensile variety. The B-pillar and roof reinforcement cross sections, for example, have been expanded with high-tensile steel to enhance side impact protection of the cabin. The floor section, door impact beams and side sills also received high-tensile reinforcement. And the CX-5 is the first vehicle ever with extremely strong and lightweight 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel, which is used in the bumpers.
Such measures help channel the load outside the cabin during a collision and prevent it from deforming. The SKYACTIV-Body's multi-load path structure, meanwhile, ensures the optimal distribution of frontal impact energy along the various load paths. And on the back of the vehicle, Mazda straightened the rear frame and optimised its shape while also joining the rear frame and B-frame sections. The upshot is that energy from a crash, whether frontal, side or rear-end impact, is simply absorbed better.
Absorbing impacts was indeed a central focus on the CX-5. It was behind the adoption of a new front suspension structure in which the engine breaks away from the suspension cross members during a crash. This maximises energy absorption by creating a larger crumple zone. The AWD model also uses the driveshaft structure to absorb the backward movement of the engine. The driveshaft detaches from the underbody during a crash and contracts, also breaking away from the rear differential. It thus absorbs energy, which is channelled underneath the cabin without obstructing the crumple zone.
Mazda even came up with an innovative system to efficiently absorb impact energy during relatively minor frontal crashes (up to around 15 km/h), making the CX-5 simple and economical to repair. In such cases, the brunt of the impact is borne in three areas - the shroud upper member, bumper and crash can, and suspension cross member crash can - with easy-to-replace bolt-fastened parts. At the same time, damage to the front frame and engine compartment is minimised.
Inside the cabin
The Mazda CX-5 interior also features all the latest in passive safety equipment. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard on all CX-5 versions. And the front seatbelts have pretensioners as well as load limiters, which mitigate the impact on the chest. The steering column, with its tilt and telescopic functionality for maximum comfort, helps prevent injury, too, shifting forward during an accident to absorb the driver's momentum.
The front seats were completely redesigned with a new lightweight structure. With safety in mind, the seat's side frame was altered to eliminate contact with the occupant's ribcage. Developers also put a strong focus on mitigating neck injuries, using an anti-whiplash design that, during a rear impact, reduces the movement and rotation of the head and torso while at the same time decreasing the load these are subject to on the headrest and seatback. They did so by raising the top of the headrest, using stiffer guide holders, making the centre section of the seatback less rigid, and improving the strength of the seat lifter to restrict backwards tilting. But in spite of all this, the seats are still 700 g lighter than the previous generation.
In the back, Mazda gave the seats an internal anti-submarine mechanism, which restrains the lower body during an accident. The seat pan on the 4:2:4 split rear seats limits the amount of forward movement of the occupant's pelvis, while the 60:40 rear seats use a tough foam material structure for this purpose. The rear seatback frames, mounts and hinges, meanwhile, were also reinforced to better protect rear passengers from luggage and other boot cargo. And for the smallest passengers, the CX-5 has ISOFIX-compatible connections as well as top-tether anchors delivering maximum child seat safety and installation ease.
Pedestrians in focus
In yet another first, Mazda even integrated an energy absorbing design into the Mazda CX-5's front end to minimise pedestrian injury potential. The CX-5's bonnet, for example, has a sufficient crumple zone between it and the various engine components. The body cowl and instrument panel are also less rigid to soften the blow should a pedestrian's head hit the windscreen. Finally, the front bumper is equipped with shock absorbing material to reduce leg injury and a rigid area at the bottom to help prevent the legs from going underneath the vehicle.
All in all, the Mazda CX-5 is remarkably safe to be in or around. In fact, it has already exhibited outstanding results during Mazda's own rigorous crash testing under a range of real-world situations, from full and offset frontal and rear collisions to pole collisions and side impacts.