It wouldn’t be inaccurate to call the 2012 Mazda CX-5
one of the most important vehicles in the company’s history. It represents the first new Mazda
styled in their Kodo design language, and it’s the first new Mazda to be built around the company’s Skyactiv technology, which promises to boost fuel economy while maintaining the level of performance and handling that Mazda buyers expect.
In Europe, Mazda will offer the CX-5 with a range of diesel and gasoline engines, with manual and automatic transmissions, and in both two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive. The Kodo styling is said to be inspired by the rapid acceleration and turning of animals like the cheetah, which ties back to Kodo’s “soul of motion” theme. We’re not sure about that, but it does offer a more contemporary look than the box-on-box Mazda Tribute (a badge engineered Ford Escape), and that’s a good thing.
To maximize fuel efficiency and performance, Mazda has taken steps to ensure the CX-5 is among the lightest vehicles in its class. It’s also one of the most aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of just 0.33, which will further boost fuel economy at highway speeds. Around town, Mazda’s “i-stop” system shuts off the engine after a few seconds of idling to maximize city fuel economy.
Two 2.2-liter diesel variants
will be offered in Europe, one with 148 horsepower and a second with 173 horsepower. It’s uncertain whether we’ll see either or both of these engines on this side of the pond, but we will get the 2.0-liter gasoline engine, good for 163 horsepower and returning an impressive 47.1 mpg in European testing (which tends to be between 10 and 20 percent optimistic compared to our own EPA ratings).
One bit of good news about Mazda’s diesel engines? Both will meet the upcoming Euro 6 emission standard, which brings European passenger car diesel emission standards on parity with those already in place in the United States. There’s still no guarantee that we’ll get a Mazda CX-5 diesel (in the near-term, at least), but at least there’s one less obstacle to overcome.