As the first model to wear the carmaker's new styling, and the first to utilise the full range of its new SkyActiv engine, transmission and construction technologies, the CX-5 has more than a little riding on its shoulders.
Although the 5 in its moniker suggested the new SUV would enter Mazda's line-up beneath the CX-7, it is just 100mm shorter than the 7, a mere 30mm narrower and rides on a wheelbase only 50mm shorter.
Their comparable size is made most obvious by the CX-5's rear legroom: 72mm greater than in its 'larger' predecessor.
The CX-5's marginally smaller dimensions reflect the continuing trend for downsizing and, technologically, it is certainly a leap forward when compared to the outgoing CX-7.
Mazda's new medium SUV arrives with a pair of the carmaker's new SkyActiv engines - petrol and diesel - along with manual and automatic transmissions, and front- and all-wheel-drive configurations.
In petrol form, the CX-5 is driven by Mazda's direct-injected 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G engine - the same that drives the recently-launched Mazda3 SP20 variant.
In front-wheel-drive form, the engine delivers 114kW at 6000rpm, and 200Nm of torque at 4000rpm. Output drops slightly in all-wheel-drive form, to 113kW and 198Nm.
With both manual and automatic transmissions, fuel consumption is listed at 6.4 l/100km in FWD form, and 6.9 l/100km with the AWD, which is available with automatic only.
Carbon emissions are listed at a low 149g/km (FWD manual), 148g/km (FWD auto) and 160g/km (AWD auto).
Available with the all-wheel-drive model only, the 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D common-rail diesel engine delivers 129kW at 4500rpm and 420Nm at 2000rpm.
Fitted with the six-speed automatic transmission - the only option here - fuel consumption is listed at 5.7 l/100km and carbon emissions at 149g/km.
Two transmissions are offered with the CX-5.
The SkyActiv-MT six-speed manual transmission is offered with the SkyActiv-G petrol models, in front-wheel-drive form only.
The SkyActiv-Drive unit is a six-speed automatic with an extra wide lock-up range clutch. It is offered with both the petrol and diesel variants, but in all-wheel-drive form only.
Its arrival with the CX-5 also marks the first time Mazda has offered an automatic-equipped diesel in Australia.
Last year, Mazda claimed a manufacturing first, announcing the development of vehicle components using 1800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel.
The CX-5 is the first of the brand's new models to benefit from the process, as part of its new SkyActiv technology suite.
To develop the new materials and manufacturing processes, Mazda teamed up with Sumitomo Metal Industries and Futaba Kogyo Corporation.
In the CX-5, the super-strong, super-light steel will be used to produce the damage-mitigating bumper beams that fit behind the front and rear bumpers.
The new beams are 20 percent stronger and 4.8kg lighter than previous versions, the latter helping to improve performance and responsiveness.
Mazda says the new beams also represent a breakthrough in energy absorption: while stronger materials are less pliant, the unique design of the new SkyActiv technology has helped to overcome this.
The CX-5 range debuts with three familiar trim grades: the entry-level Maxx, the mid-range Maxx Sport and the top-shelf Grand Touring.
Priced from $27,800, the CX-5 Maxx is offered with the SkyActiv-G petrol engine, both transmissions and both the front- and all-wheel-drive layouts.
Features include air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, push-button start, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, trip computer, tyre pressure monitoring, Bluetooth handsfree and audio streaming, USB connectivity, four speakers, wheel-mounted audio controls.
It is also fitted with 17-inch steel wheels on 225/65 tyres, and a rear spoiler is standard.
The Maxx Sport is priced from $33,200 and is available with both the petrol and diesel engines, along with the six-speed auto and both the front- and all-wheel-drive layouts.
Features include all of those offered with the Maxx, along with auto-on/off headlamps, dual-zone climate control, six-speaker audio, leather wrapped gear shift knob, handbrake and steering wheel, rain sensing wipers, front fog lamps, satellite navigation, rear seats with 40/20/40 flat-folding backrests, and centre fold-down armrest.
It is also fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels and 225/65 tyres.
The CX-5 Grand Touring is priced from $43,200 (petrol) to $46,200 (diesel) and is offered with six-speed auto and all-wheel-drive only.
Features include all of the above equipment, along with Bi-Xenon headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting System, daytime running lamps, power sliding and tilt glass sunroof, rear view mirror with auto dimming function, leather seat trim, driver’s seat with eight-way power adjustment and power lumbar support, heated front seats, smart keyless entry, Bose 231watt amplifier with nine speakers, and parking sensors front and rear.
Safety features standard across the CX-5 range include front, side and curtain airbags, Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Emergency Brake Assist, Emergency Brake-force Distribution, Hill Launch Assist, Emergency Stop Signal, whiplash minimising front seats, and a reversing camera.
The Grand Touring gets 19-inch alloy wheels on 225/55 tyres.
Tech Pack Option
Available with the Grand Touring only, the $1990 Tech Pack adds Blind Spot Monitoring system, High-Beam Control system and Lane Departure Warning system.
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0 litre petrol FWD 6MT - $27,800
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0 litre petrol FWD 6AT - $29,800
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.2 litre petrol AWD 6AT - $32,300
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.0 litre petrol FWD 6AT - $33,540
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.0 litre petrol AWD 6AT - $36,040
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.2 litre diesel AWD 6AT - $39,040
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 2.0 litre petrol AWD 6AT - $43,200
- 2012 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 2.2 litre diesel AWD 6AT - $46,200
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price (unless otherwise noted) and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
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