Thank Heaven for Little (but Not Too Little) Crossovers: At Mazda, One Segment Didn't Disappoint
Too bad about the others. After admitting that it probably should have reconsidered the new-for-2019 Mazda 3’s U.S. pricing strategy, the Hiroshima-based automaker can sit back and look at last year’s results in full. Topping that page is a 7.2 percent sales decline — the result of volume slippage among all nameplates but one.
Nothing beats a compact crossover for surefire popularity.
Two Tribes: When a Suburban Crossover Owner Butts Heads With Urban/Environmental Advocates, Who Wins?
That headline is only the second 1980s musical reference of the day, which might point to a lack of sleep on the part of your author. Blame a raging sinus infection, or perhaps exposure to a heavy Twitter conversation that began yesterday and continues into today.
I’m a passive observer in all of this, as Twitter’s toxicity makes Love Canal look like a lush Koi pond. Engage at your peril. And yet an element of the back-and-forth that rages online in the center of the Canadian universe (Toronto) is something frequently mentioned in far calmer TTAC chatroom discussions.
How much car is too much car?
And, does it matter if you buy to cover all the bases?
Mazda CX-5 Diesel: Giving Yourself the Skyactiv-D
Mazda has certainly bent over backwards to get its new diesel to the U.S. market. Originally slated to premiere inside the 2017 CX-5, Mazda’s Skyactiv-D failed to receive approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. We’ve followed the story for a while, including when it concerned the Mazda 6, sometimes wondering why the company would even bother pursuing such an endeavor.
In addition to appeasing the EPA, Mazda also needed to satisfy thrifty diesel buyers. But it didn’t look like the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D had the specs necessary to positively impact CX-5 sales. In development for a while and twice stalled by regulators, the end result of this engine overhaul is a compromised powerplant that’s even weaker than we feared, debuting miserably late with a premium price tag.
It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for Mazda. Back when the Skyactiv-D was in the early phases of development, Volkswagen was proving to the world that diesels could deliver… until that turned out to be a huge, unfixable lie.
2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo First Drive - Alternative to Italy
If a gearhead is asked for car shopping advice, there’s a pretty good chance one of their recommendations will be a Mazda. The little Hiroshima Highway Hawks generally land on the sporty side of the segments in which they compete, whether one is talking about compact cars or SUVs.
For ages, the CX-5 has been a stylish entrant in the compact crossover class and is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in America. It is a car notable for not being imbued with “Handling by Novocain (TM)” like so many of its competitors. For 2019, the CX-5 gains an optional 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, meaning the CX-5 finally has a mouth to match its trousers.
And, oh yeah, the guy in charge captained one of the most prolific racing teams in the 24 Hours of Lemons.
Turbocharged 2.5-liter Appears in Japanese-market Mazda CX-5
According to California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification documents, the Japanese won’t be the only ones enjoying the gutsy turbo 2.5-liter that just landed in that country’s CX-5 crossover. The hotter inline-four would be just the thing to bring additional customers to Mazda’s best-selling model, and it seems the automaker’s U.S. arm has done the groundwork for a potential launch.
Getting the kids to daycare faster is nice, but the changes coming to Japan’s CX-5 aren’t solely about horsepower.
Mazda CX-5 Diesel: Is This Fuel Economy Enough to Get Buyers In Line?
The diesel version of Mazda’s wildly popular CX-5 crossover was originally supposed to land on these shores in late 2017, but the plan hit a snag. As such, we’re still waiting. But the model’s appearance now seems imminent.
Having cleared the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent testing regimen, we now know exactly what fuel economy to expect from the CX-5 and its compression ignition 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D inline-four. The question is: is the CX-5 diesel thrifty enough?
Is the Mazda CX-5 About to Go Turbocharged?
Where would Mazda be without the hot-selling CX-5? Of the 29,980 vehicles Mazda sold in the U.S. last month, 47.3 percent of them were CX-5s. Suffice it to say the stylish compact crossover is the brand’s most important model, regardless of what MX-5 fans would have you believe.
Parents everywhere applauded when a crisper, better-handling CX-5 appeared for 2017, content in knowing a family vehicle existed that wouldn’t relegate them to a world of bland conformity. Our own Chris Tonn was enraptured by the sight of his Grand Touring tester as it sat in an Ohio parking lot. Still, despite its on-road prowess, the zoom-zoom brand’s most popular offering isn’t exactly a pavement scorcher. That might not be the case for long.
Can It Be? Mazda's Long-awaited CX-5 Diesel Gets California Green Light
We’ve been talking about the Mazda CX-5 diesel for a long time, and with good reason. It’s been a long time coming. Originally promised for a U.S. introduction in the second half of 2017, a quick scan of of Mazda’s consumer website reveals no mention of a popular compact crossover with a 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D four-cylinder under the hood.
This could soon change. The California Air Resources Board has certified the engine for sale in that ecologically sensitive state, making a similar thumbs up from the Environmental Protection Agency a near certainty.
2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review - Crossing Over In Style
The look back. That longing glance at your beloved ride as you walk away is a rite of passage for car enthusiasts. One more gaze at the car’s beautiful lines before you walk into the office can help that first cup of coffee kickstart another day of work.
Until I drove the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring, I’ve never looked back at any crossover. Never had the need or desire, since most CUVs have all of the style and personality bred out of them in an effort to attract the widest variety of shoppers. Not the Mazda. The design of this compact crossover is nothing short of stunning.
It's a Sign: TTAC Finds Official NHTSA 2018 Mazda CX-5 Diesel Filing
Mazda announced 11 months ago that the company “will introduce a diesel engine option to the North American market,” with the revamped CX-5, launched in the 2017 model year.
We’d heard such claims before. Three years ago, we were still waiting on the launch of the diesel-powered Mazda 6, at least until Mazda gave up on that idea. But Mazda’s insistence this time around produced less doubt. Mazda even revealed that the automaker felt it could generate 10 percent of CX-5 sales with the diesel model.
But last month, we began to wonder about Mazda’s claims of delivering a 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel in the second-half of 2017. The second-half, as you may have noticed, is quickly drawing to a close. Moreover, Mazda wouldn’t offer up any timing, saying only that, “We are working with the EPA and CARB and will have more information in the future.”
Mazda still won’t offer up any timing details. But TTAC’s resident government filing investigator, Bozi Tatarevic, came across some very interesting details at NHTSA.gov that reaffirm the forthcoming 2018 Mazda CX-5 Diesel.
We Still Don't Know When the Mazda CX-5 Diesel Will Arrive in America
The potential for success is limited, but Mazda nevertheless announced in Los Angeles in November 2016 that the revamped 2017 Mazda CX-5 would be available with a 2.2-liter diesel torque monster.
Diesel? 2017? The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal that broke in late 2015 ended diesel’s run at Volkswagen of America and eventually ended with the withdrawal of diesel engines in Mercedes-Benz USA’s lineup, as well.
Yet diesel persists. General Motors, for example, is selling diesel variants of the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox and the Equinox’s GMC Terrain sibling. And with Mazda’s decision to sell a 310-lb-ft diesel CX-5, compact crossover shoppers would have three choices.
Mazda said last year that “it will offer the Skyactiv-D 2.2 clean diesel engine in the all-new Mazda CX-5 for North America from the second half of 2017.”
Only half of the second half remains, and MazdaUSA.com still lists the 2017 CX-5 Diesel as a future vehicle. So where’s the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Diesel we were promised?
Mazda Plans U.S. Dealer Network Makeover, Still Wants 2-percent Market Share (and More CX-5s)
“We have been working more closely with our dealers to evolve their businesses and through that process,” Mazda tells Automotive News, “some new dealers have chosen to begin working with us, while others have made the decision to leave the Mazda brand.”
Mazda has been open about its goal of earning 2 percent of the U.S. market while being forthright about the brand’s intentions to do so only on solid ground. This means fewer discounts, a premium vibe, and the kind of higher margins that make dealers happy.
On the dealer side of the equation, Mazda now wants those dealers to improve. In some cases, that means a new location. In others, a new exterior design is necessary. More thoroughly trained staff members is key, as well. But it’ll be slow going. Of Mazda’s roughly 600 dealers, the brand acknowledges that some have forsaken the automaker, though Mazda won’t say how many. Since the efforts to revamp dealers began last year, only 26 have been upgraded so far. By the end of the decade, Mazda believes roughly one-sixth of its network will have undergone a remodel.
In the meantime, Mazda is getting further away from reaching its 2-percent goal.
A Curious Trim Level for New 2017 Mazda CX-5: Grand Select
Sitting just $500 below the top-spec 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring is a new Grand Select trim.
Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown tells CarsDirect, which spotted the addition, that the 2017 CX-5 Grand Select is an attempt by Mazda USA to examine consumer tastes.
Grand Select, Brown says, “will be offered for a limited time and will test the waters for customer options preferences in the marketplace.”
Like the CX-5 Grand Touring, the $29,835 Grand Select is a very well-equipped, premium-aping compact crossover. Unlike the CX-5 Grand Touring, the Grand Select lacks forward collision warning, adaptive cruise, auto high beams, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. A few years down the increasingly autonomous road, those are the kinds of features that might be a real boon to resale.
Sure you wanna save $500?
Mazda Makes a Bet on Popularity of Upcoming CX-5 Diesel
Diesel power has traditionally proved a tough sell in the United States, at least among light-vehicle buyers. If it doesn’t belong on a worksite, chances are a vehicle’s engine choices have remained gasoline-only since the model’s debut.
While the high-mileage technology suffered a black, sooty eye from the Volkswagen affair, several automakers are gambling on Americans want of higher torque figures and improved fuel economy — the rosy promises of diesel motivation. Mazda, the only automaker without a hybrid or electric vehicle in its stable, plans to add a diesel CX-5 to its gas-only U.S. fleet later this year.
The automaker knows exactly how many it wants Americans to buy. If this litmus test on wheels reaches the pre-determined mark, expect to see more zoom-zoom diesels appearing in local showrooms.
2017 Mazda CX-5 First Drive Review - Less is More
Mazda wants you to know its 2017 CX-5 is more than just another compact crossover. Not in terms of size, power, or price, but in its transcendent experience. Media introductions are often an exploration into the esoterica of automotive design, and this launch is no different — except for a refreshing dose of substance sprinkled over a focused, if understated, redesign.
Compact crossovers recently eclipsed full-size trucks as the largest automotive segment. And right on cue, CX-5 is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle, accounting for 38 percent of its U.S. sales last year. Not only that, but it was Mazda’s fastest nameplate to earn one million sales worldwide. It’s thus no shock that as important as this little ute has become to Mazda, its first generation lasted just five years. Nor is it a surprise that its well received first generation is followed by an evolutionary and not a revolutionary second gen, with a diesel on the way to further extend its reach.
If it ain’t broke, tweak it.