We here at NewCars are big Mazda fans, at least I should say that this author is. In a world where cars seem to get more robotic and utilitarian year after year, Mazda's fun-to-drive philosophy is a nice breath of fresh air. However, not even we could make space for the now defunct Mazda Tribute in our hearts. The rebadged Ford Escape seemed an antithesis to the rest of Mazda's lineup, not only in design but in execution. But Mazda is attempting to right this wrong and brought its new 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover to the 2011 LA Auto Show.
The CX-5 will be the first new vehicle from Mazda to feature its new "soul of motion" design philosophy. This is just a fancy way to say, the CX-5 doesn't smile at you so much as growl and it's a welcome change. From the front and 3/4 views, the CX-5 is a stunner with its new shield like grille and aggressive skirting. But the back of the CX-5 fails to deliver. It doesn't look bad per se, but compared to the views you get from the front you can't help but feel underwhelmed.
Under the hood of the CX-5 is Mazda's new efficient Skyactiv-G engine which it will share with the 2012 Mazda3. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder will produce 155-horsepower and 150 pounds-feet of torque, and comes mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. One thing we can say with certainty - the CX-5 will immediately jump to near the top of the heap when it comes to fuel economy. Mazda released figures of 26/32 mpg city/highway with the automatic, while the manual bumps that highway number up one more to 33. All-wheel drive is available, and there's no word yet from Mazda on whether or not they will offer the diesel engine planned for European version of the CX-5.
The interior of the CX-5 plays it pretty close to the vest and by that we mean you'd better like black. Unlike the 2013 Ford Escape which came with contrast stitching on its leather seats, the CX-5's interior is much more understated. The circular Mazda steering wheel has been kept and the quality of interior materials is higher than expected for a car in this segment. Mazda has not yet released details on what will be standard vs. optional equipment, but the model we saw came with a 5.8-inch touchscreen and the requisite Bluetooth and USB connections (the Bluetooth controls can be seen on the steering wheel).
We'll be sure to keep you posted on CX-5 details are more arise, if for nothing other than our own self-interest. In what is turning into one of the most hotly contested segments in the auto industry, the Mazda is hoping that the 2013 CX-5 has the looks and efficiency to hold its own especially as much of the competition is getting upgrades as well (most notably the 2012 Honda CR-V and the aforementioned 2013 Ford Escape).