Slotting in just below the CX-7 crossover, the new Mazda CX-5 debuts at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show. The CX-5 is the first production vehicle to feature the automaker's Kodo design language and one of the first to use its SkyActiv efficiency technologies.
Mazda designers are said to have been inspired by the bodies of cheetahs when designing the CX-5. This isn't the first crossover/SUV to draw inspiration from that big cat, as Infiniti's FX50S was designed to look like a "Bionic Cheetah."
Rather than a 60/40 split on the rear seat, the CX-5 uses a 40/20/40 split that allows long items, such as skis or snowboards, to fit down the spine of the vehicle, while still leaving room for four passengers.
The 5.8 inch Human Machine Interface screen located at the top of the center stack is controlled with steering wheel controls similarly to the Mazda3's or with touch controls. Mazda also debuted a new navigation system developed in partnership with TomTom.
Under the hood is Mazda's new suite of SkyActiv engines and technologies. Two engines are available for the European market. The first is a 2.0-liter direct injected gasoline engine that outputs 165 horsepower in FWD configuration or 160 when splitting power between four wheels.
A 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine is offered in two tunes. A mid-power tune generates 150 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque. The high-power model twists the flywheel to the tune of 175 horsepower and 309 pound feet. There is no low power variant--you can thank Mazda's marketing department for that. "Mid" is the new "low".
Whatever powerplant you chose, the CX-5 is available with either a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission that Mazda claims it provides a shift feel similar to a double-clutch transmission or a six-speed SkyActiv MT manual gearbox said to deliver the crisp shifts of the MX-5 Miata. Those are lofty aspirations that we'll have to wait to test.