On Tuesday, Mazda released a sneak peek of the new compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) concept it will unveil at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show in early March.
The Minagi will be the smallest in Mazda’s family of utility vehicles, and some automotive journalists expect the concept to become the new CX-5, which will likely replace the outdated Tribute. Mazda designed the Minagi with its new design theme Kodo (“soul of motion”) in mind, a departure from the previous design theme that produced the much-disliked “smiley-face” grille on the 2011 Mazda3 and Mazda6. Kicking Tires notes its Jaguar-like front end, and Car and Driver speculates that Mazda’s new Kodo designs may indicate that “Mazda might be going after the likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.” Although the Mazda Minagi is not scheduled for production, Inside Line expects a production version of the CX-5 to be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in the fall.
Along with a new look, the Minagi concept will also include Mazda’s next-generation powertrain called SKYACTIV. SKYACTIV will include a direct-injection gasoline engine, a turbocharged diesel, and two new transmissions. “Mazda released some details of the Skyactiv components in October. The direct-injection gasoline engine has a compression ratio of 14:1 — higher than that of any current gasoline engine. According to the automaker, the high compression ratio improves fuel efficiency and torque by 15 percent versus conventional designs. The diesel is also listed with a 14:1 ratio, which optimizes combustion timing to earn a 20 percent fuel efficiency improvement,” The New York Times explains. The new technology will also be on display in at the Geneva Auto Show.
Consumers in the market for a CUV, small SUV, or wagon may find it worthwhile to wait for more information on the new CX-5 before making any purchase decisions. As Mazda looks to compete with more upmarket brands, their new vehicles will likely offer better exterior styling, performance, and standard features at a more affordable price point than their competitors.