North American debut of the 2013 CX-5 compact SUV ushers in the age of SKYACTIV technology

In 2007 Mazda announced its concept of “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom,” an ideological shift that led the company to improve the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold in Japan by 30 percent between 2001 and 2008, the greatest improvement in the industry. Then in 2009 it announced that by 2015, Mazda will improve the average fuel economy of its entire fleet sold around the world by another 30 percent compared to 2008, and it would do it through the application of SKYACTIV technology.

SKYACTIV technology is not a package or trim level but an all-encompassing, deeply embedded philosophy that obtaining more power, torque and miles per gallon does not need to come at the expense of fuel economy, design and safety. Its first application was in Mazda's best-selling Mazda3, refreshed for 2012 with a SKYACTIV engine and transmissions. The 2013 CX-5 compact SUV – which made its North American debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show in November – is the first vehicle to receive all SKYACTIV components.

The 2013 CX-5 was just one of many compelling display vehicles on exhibit in Mazda’s 2011 booth. SEMA Show specialty vehicles the Turbo2 subcompact and MX-5 Spyder also sat in the space, as did the No. 40 Patrick Dempsey Racing RX-8 from the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Additionally, the 2012 Mazdaspeed3 was recognized as the vehicle that retains the highest residual value in its class, according to the annual ALG Residual Value Awards, and on the first press preview day of the auto show in another part of the L.A. Convention Center Mazda Motor Corporation president Takashi Yamanouchi delivered the Motor Press Guild keynote address to begin the show.

The CX-5 boasts a treasure trove of advanced thinking in vehicle engineering. Under its hood lies the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine, which features the world's highest compression ratio for a mass-produced car, 13:1. With its all-new 4-2-1 exhaust system, the 2013 CX-5 delivers 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, torque is measured at 150 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm and redline is reached at 6500 rpm. With a choice of transmissions in either the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic, a 2,000-pound towing capacity and an optional all-wheel drive, the 2013 CX-5 offers a little of everything for everyone.

The highly efficient power plant helps the CX-5 offer best-in-class highway fuel economy. Estimated EPA fuel economy for the CX-5 is 26 city/35 highway for a front-wheel drive equipped with SKYACTIV-MT. When equipped with SKYACTIV-Drive, the front-wheel drive model garners 26 city/32 highway. The all-wheel drive version, only available with SKYACTIV-Drive, also is a fuel sipper with an EPA rating of 25 city/31 highway.

Visually, KODO, or "Soul of Motion," is expressed by the all-new CX-5; KODO is a design language inspired by nature which evokes how both startling beauty and immense power can be captured within a single motion. KODO can be found in the "signature wing" front grille that dominates the front fascia, its black elongated trapezoidal pattern adding depth, while the wing-shaped, wraparound headlamps extend out.

The CX-5's sculptured body features taut, compact lines. Shapely front and rear fenders hug the sporty SUV's available 17- and 19-inch rubber-and-rim packages, projecting a wide, low-slung stance. A sweeping swoosh line bridges the four corners with sleek, artistic expression. Topside, a pronounced crease begins at the A-pillar and darts sharply across the side panels, eventually wrapping itself around stylized tail lamps. The sharply raked A-pillar is matched by the angles of the C-pillar and rear window, topping an aggressive profile which, at the same time, affords all occupants one of the widest fields of view in the segment.

All these cuts in the sheet metal, the rounded surfaces and edgy creases, are as much for finesse as they are for function. With a targeted coefficient of drag of 0.33, the CX-5 aims to be the most aerodynamic compact SUV in the field. Not just for Zoom-Zoom but for the added benefit of improving fuel economy.

The CX-5 sits on a segment-leading 106.3-inch wheelbase, seats five and offers remarkable cabin flexibility. Rear cargo room is not only cavernous but clever, with a three-piece independent 40/20/40-split fold-flat second row. A single-action topside button releases the left- and right-side seats to fold down while a looped handle frees the middle seat, which also folds flat—a segment first.

Amongst the roomiest cabins in the segment, legroom for the second row is ample at 39.3 inches with an equally generous knee clearance of 2.6 inches. The wide cavity under the front seats also offers abundant rear passenger foot space and can be used as additional cargo room to hide personal belongings. Rear headroom is 39.0 inches for vehicles not equipped with a moonroof.

Up front, both the driver and passenger enjoy 40.1 inches of headroom (when not equipped with a moonroof), 57.5 inches of shoulder room and 41.0 inches to stretch their legs. Six- and eight-way power-adjustable seats will be standard on all but the entry-level models.

An all-new 5.8-inch touch screen becomes the center of attention in the cabin with intuitive phone, audio and navigation functions. Streamlined steering wheel controls enable a more straightforward operation of the infotainment system. Mazda's advanced keyless entry system and push-button start get the CX-5 going.

Other available features on the all-new 2013 CX-5 include Bluetooth® phone and audio connectivity and iPod® audio playback. A nine-speaker Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound system with AudioPilot® was jointly developed with Mazda to please even the most discerning music enthusiasts. The CX-5 also is available with HD Radio Technology, a subscription-free digital AM and FM broadcast radio service which provides crystal-clear sound, on-screen information and additional programming choices via HD2 and HD3 channels.

In a first-time partnership with Mazda in North America, a TomTom® technology-based navigation system also will be offered and features premium North American maps, advanced lane guidance, intuitive voice recognition and real-time traffic. USB and auxiliary jack connections can be found in the center console storage bin and be accessed via the infotainment touch screen.

CX-5's SKYACTIV-Body and SKYACTIV-Chassis ensure a vehicle structure as reinforced and quiet as it is rigid and absorbs impacts. Re-examining the suspension and steering systems, the lightweight construction of the SKYACTIV-Chassis includes a front strut suspension and a multi-link rear format along with an assortment of design changes. The SKYACTIV-Body is comprised of 61 percent high-tensile steel, creating a lighter, stronger body with superior handling.

As a result, the overall structure is eight percent lighter than previous Mazda models. The all- new CX-5 also has the distinction of being the first vehicle ever to utilize 1800MPa ultra-high tensile steel in manufacturing. Located in the front and rear bumper beams, they are 20 percent stronger and 10.6 pounds lighter than previous generation bumpers.

Standard safety offerings include six airbags (front, side and full side-curtain), four wheel disk brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS), daytime running lights, active headrests, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), a Traction Control System (TCS) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Also available are a Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system, Adaptive Front-Lighting System (AFLS) with auto-levelling bi-xenon headlamps and a rear view camera with distance guide lines.

Over the next five years Mazda will introduce six more vehicles built upon SKYACTIV technology, representing more than 80 percent of its vehicle lineup, allowing the company to attain its goal of improving the fuel efficiency of its fleet by 30 percent in 2015 compared to 2008. Mazda has also announced that it will introduce its new SKYACTIV diesel engine into the North American market, as well as other new technologies, such as regenerative braking, later this year.

While the focus in L.A. was definitely on the horizon, Mazda also took space and time to honor the achievement of one of its current models. The annual ALG Residual Value Awards recognize automakers' outstanding achievements in producing new vehicles that are predicted to retain the highest percentage of their original price after a conventional three-year period. Awards are given in 19 vehicle categories and also for the two brands with the highest overall predicted residual values among all mainstream and all luxury vehicles. The Mazdaspeed3 won the award in the Sportscar category, dethroning the Mini Cooper, a six-time winner. Previously, the Mazda3 won an ALG Residual Value Award in 2010 followed by the CX-9 in 2011.

Award winners are determined through careful study of the competition in each segment, historical vehicle performance and industry trends. Vehicle quality, production levels relative to demand, pricing and marketing strategies remain the key factors that affect ALG's residual value forecasts.

The Mazdaspeed3 continues to use Mazda's award-winning MZR 2.3-liter DISI Turbo power plant. Even before it was introduced, driving enthusiasts had pegged the Mazdaspeed3 to be a leader in the front-drive performance car category. In addition to living up to that expectation, the Mazdaspeed3 has come to be regarded as one of the best bargains on the road and the finest marriage of performance and practicality on four wheels.

"With its 263-horsepower turbo engine, aggressive styling and a feature-packed interior, the Mazdaspeed3 offers one of the best performance values on the market, helping it land on the top of the Sportscar segment," said Raj Sundaram for ALG.

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