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11 Broadway Avenue
Bedford OH 44146
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Mazda bridges the gap between its Mazda3 and CX-7

By Terry Troy

Mazda is introducing an all-new crossover utility vehicle called the CX-5 that will be based on its Minagi Concept.

It’s an interesting move for two reasons. First, the new CX-5 will replace the Tribute in the Mazda product lineup. It’s a nice segue for owners who want to move from a Mazda3 to something a little more roomy.

Secondly, the new CX-5 will incorporate a whole suite of new technologies call SKYACTIV, which impact the powertrain, chassis and body design.

The new Mazda CX-5 will be smaller than the CX-7 without sacrificing too much on the interior. And if it looks anything like the Minagi, it will look great from the curb. It is the first production vehicle to be based on Mazda’s new "KODO-Soul of Motion" design.

The Minagi Concept/CX-5 body design will also improve the future CX-5’s fuel economy by lessening drag.

But what really has Mazda dealers excited is that this future compact SUV will make full use of breakthrough technology called SKYACTIV. That will make the new CX-5 the forerunner of Mazda’s next generation of products.

Mazda’s new SKYACTIV technologies were developed entirely in-house as a part of the company’s "Building Block" strategy, which prioritizes the improvement of basic automotive technologies. SKYACTIV combines gasoline and diesel engines with world-best compression ratios, all-new manual and automatic transmissions, and all-new body and chassis systems. The introduction of these technologies will result in major reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for all Mazda models.

In designing SKYACTIV, Mazda engineers sought to create the ideal internal combustion engine. The SKYACTIV-G is an all-new gasoline engine that is said to achieve the highest engine compression ratio for a mass produced engine. It improves engine efficiency, creating 15-percent more torque and using 15-percent less fuel than the MZR 2.0-liter engine currently in use. It’s also 10-percent lighter.

The SKYACTIV-D is an all-new clean diesel engine that is said to improve fuel consumption by 20 percent over the company’s current 2.2-liter diesel. The engine features a two-stage turbocharger that will boost both low- and high-end torque. Like its gasoline counterpart, it is 10-percent lighter than its predecessor.

A new six-speed automatic transmission will also be offered. It will help improve highway fuel economy by seven percent over the previous five speed.

A new manual transmission will also be available, delivering short, swift shift strokes that are similar to the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The CX-5 should be priced in the $20,000 range.

Pros

1. It fills a nice niche for young families who want to move out of a Mazda3 and into something more roomy.

2. It should be very affordable, priced in the $20,000 range.

3. It will incorporate new SKYACTIV technologies.

4. Expected fuel economy will be 15- to 20-percent better on the new CX-5.

 

Cons

1. As a compact SUV, it has some pretty stiff competition, including the Escape and Rav4.

2. Damage from the tsunami at parts suppliers may impact the vehicle’s release date.

© 2011 cleveland.com. All rights reserved.

 
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