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April 23, 2012

Mazda Philippines Launches CX-5 and Mazda3

It’s been a while since we’ve heard something exciting from Mazda. The brand of ‘zoom-zoom’ has been quiet, not being able to launch a significant vehicle since the CX-7 several years ago. But you know what they say: patience is a virtue. And over the weekend’s Mazda Revolution event, Mazda has unveiled two promising all-new vehicles for the local market: the CX-5 crossover and the all-new Mazda3.

Why are they Significant?

Aside from the fact that they’re the first all-new Mazda vehicles in the country for quite some time, the CX-5 and 3 are mainstream vehicles fighting in the two most competitive segments: the compact crossover and compact car categories, respectively.

More than that, both the CX-5 and 3 are replacing two of the best-selling vehicles in the local Mazda line-up. The CX-5 is replacing the CX-7 while the all-new Mazda3 is of course, replacing the first-generation 3. Now you can understand the tremendous weight placed on the shoulder of these two cars.

How are the Looks?

Both the CX-5 and the Mazda3 are both dynamically bold and look fast even when standing still. In terms of looks, the all-new Mazda3 is an evolution of the first-generation 3 but with a more athletic appearance. Upfront, the 3’s new face is clearly expressive with a large air opening that makes the car look almost smiling. And then, you have the swept-up, exaggerated headlamps and the bulging front “cycle fenders”. At the back, the new Mazda3’s tush makes the car visually wider and much more solid than before. And like before, the all-new Mazda3 is available in both 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback guise with two wheel configurations: 16’s or 17’s.

Meanwhile, the CX-5 represents a significant jump for Mazda as it represents the company’s new styling generation. Designed with KODO – Soul of Motion, the CX-5 embodies a strong sense of vitality and agility. In the front, it’s the first Mazda to feature ‘signature wings’—a line that runs across the bottom of the grille extending to the headlamps. The prominent fenders, a Mazda traditional design theme, have been reworked with highly sculpted body lines. All in all, this is one compact crossover that’s managed to look really driver-centric. Mazda has likened the CX-5’s stance to that of a cheetah, primarily the way these cats have great agility and use their whole body as a spring to accelerate rapidly and change direction instantly. Indeed, the CX-5 looks like a cheetah readying for the killing pounce.

What’s Under the Hood?

The common misconception is that the all-new Mazda3 and CX-5 are platform mates. No, they’re two independent vehicles with their own set of drivetrains. On the 3, Mazda aims to realize Toitsukan—a consistent and linear feel to driving performance. In that regard, they didn’t want to mess a proven formula too much. The Mazda3 is powered by a choice between two engines, both of which should be familiar with current 3 owners: a 1.6-liter MZR 4-cylinder engine with 103 horsepower and a 2.0-liter MZR 4-cylinder engine with 145 horsepower. Indeed, these engines are carryover from the previous-generation Mazda3 but at least the 2.0-liter now benefits from a new 5-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. A new Electro-Hydraulic Power Assist Steering (EPHAS) together with all-around independent suspension assures responsive and consistent linear feel to every driver input. What’s more, engineers have also improved the riding comfort for passengers with new dampers without sacrificing the nimbleness of the 3.

On the other hand, the CX-5 is Mazda’s new technological showpiece which is headlined by SKYACTIV which encompasses the engine, transmission, chassis, and body. On the engine front, the CX-5 is powered by a new SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter direct-injection engine with 162 horsepower. The CX-5 isn’t short on ponies, yet it promises class-leading fuel economy (up to 11 km/L city, 16.8 km/L highway) thanks to diesel-engine like high-compression ratios (up to 14:1 when running premium fuel) and being solely a front-wheel drive model. This compact crossover is available in either 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic options, with the latter promising to combine the characteristics of a traditional automatic with the responsiveness of a dual-clutch system. Even the chassis and body is made of highly-rigid super high-tensile steel allowing for excellent driving dynamics with less weight improving agility and fuel economy. 

Has it Got Creature Features?

Both the Mazda3 and CX-5 are imported as Completely Built-Up (CBU) units from Japan, and a premium priced compared to before. Don’t fret. Mazda has thrown in almost every conceivable option as standard equipment making sure these two cars are luxurious as they are sporty. The Mazda3 1.6 V sedan comes standard with 205/55 R-16 alloys and tires, audio switches on the steering wheel, a six-speaker system, cruise control, and the usual full list of safety features. Upping to the 1.6 V hatchback adds 205/50 R-17 alloys and tires, and rain-sensing wipers. At the top of the food chain is the 2.0 R sedan and it nets you HID headlamps, automatic climate control, stainless steel scuff plates, sun roof, leather upholstery and Smart Key keyless engine start/stop.

Positioned as a premium compact crossover, the CX-5 comes with a full compliment of airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist DSC, and traction control. Plus, it’s even got leather upholstery, automatic climate control, a push button engine start/stop, a full-featured audio system with a USB input and a touch screen interface. Adding to its cargo convenience, it’s even got a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. Plus, it’s also the first Mazda to have Bluetooth hands-free connectivity with voice command. It even rolls on 225/65 R-17 tires as standard.

What’s the Entrance Fee?

Both the all-new Mazda3 and CX-5 are now available at all nine Mazda dealerships nationwide. There are six colors (Black Mica, Crystal White Pearl, Aluminum Metallic, Graphite Gray, Velocity Red, and Sky Blue) and three variants available for the Mazda3: 1.6V sedan P 999,000; 1.6V hatchback P 1,099,000; and 2.0R sedan P 1,299,000. Meanwhile, the CX-5 is available in five shades (Black Mica, Crystal White Pearl, Aluminum Metallic, Velocity Red, and Sky Blue) and two variants: 2.0 FWDi M/T is P 1,392,000 and the 2.0 FWDi A/T is P 1,452,000.

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