HOW can we already be on the eve of a second-generation Mazda CX-5?
Believe it or not, it has been nearly five years since we clapped our collective eyes on the first post-Ford, SkyActiv-era Mazda model, meaning that a completely redesigned one is just around the corner.
To prove it, here are the first-ever prototype shots, taken in Southern California, wearing the obligatory swirly camo to distract curious bystanders and scoop photographers alike from just how different the new model is to the 2012-vintage outgoing version. That is, not very much at all, actually.
Expected to debut sometime in the first quarter of next year, the second-gen Mazda CX-5 retains the suave high-waisted sporty silhouette that has helped save the Japanese brand from financial oblivion by setting brand sales records worldwide. It appears that the body is a little longer, the glasshouse a bit deeper, and the pillars slightly slimmer for the benefit of better all-round vision, while the blunt nose design seems like a tweaked version of the larger Mazda CX-9’s prominent proboscis.
Speaking of the company’s seven-seater SUV, we understand that the latter’s substantially re-engineered platform – itself based on the existing CX-5, but with thicker sheetmetal and significantly reduced noise and vibration pathways – will underpin the newcomer, addressing the refinement issues that have plagued the series since the beginning.
We also have our fingers crossed that the CX-9’s ripping 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol-turbo powertrain will migrate to the smaller SUV, at least in the more up-spec variants. Did somebody say CX-5 MPS?
Disappointingly, it is more likely that modified versions of the existing 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre atmo SkyActiv-G units with improved efficiency will be employed instead, while the lauded 2.2-litre turbo-diesel SkyActiv-D is also set to return. All will be driving either the front or all four wheels via six-speed transmissions (please don’t drop the manual gearbox, Mazda, pleeeeease!), so no change there either. The GVC G-force Vectoring Control for smoother handling and better traction characteristics is sure to be included.
Along with a quieter (and perhaps roomier) cabin, the CX-5 II is also poised to adopt a classier dashboard, gaining the more advanced driver-assist systems such as AEB-R Autonomous Emergency Braking in Reverse technology that debuted in the CX-9. As before, the suspension should comprise of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear.
Unfortunately for Mazda, the Hiroshima-built medium SUV won’t have the limelight to itself for very long when it surfaces in Australia late next year or in early 2018.
By then the second-gen Renault Koleos and Volkswagen Tiguan will have established a footing in the marketplace, while a raft of other newly redesigned competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and Mitsubishi Outlander will also be here to make life difficult. And don’t forget that replacements for the Ford Kuga and unlamented Holden Captiva 5 should also be in the pipeline by then.
So don’t expect CX-5 II pricing to stray too much from the sub-$30,000 ask for the base Maxx 2.0 front-driver, up to and perhaps beyond the mid-$50,000 mark for the full-fat (and hopefully turbo-enhanced) AWD range-toppers.
Right now, the existing KE CX-5 is king of the medium SUV heap, with a smidgen under 20 percent market share, followed by the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail with 14.5 and 14.1 percent apiece respectively. Don’t count on either compatriot to let that continue without a fight.
Watch this space.
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