Never mind the cobbled CX-7 bodywork -- what lies beneath the skin of this prototype, recently caught testing by the spies at Motor Trend, is allegedly a new Mazda crossover that will slot in beneath the CX-7.
We've no idea if that technically makes this eligible for the CX-5 nameplate, but we're fairly certain the prototype rides upon a modified version of the Mazda3's C-segment platform. A good hint comes from the modified CX-7 body; roughly four- to five-inches of sheetmetal has been chopped out of the CUV's rear body section to adapt it for the smaller architecture.
We don't know what lurks underhood, but we wouldn't be surprised if the CX-5 -- much like the next-gen Mazda3 -- will be fitted with Mazda's new line of fuel-sipping Skyactiv engines. The new 1.4-liter direct-injection gasoline I-4 is likely a possibility, along with the company's improved Skyactiv automatic gearbox. Mazda plans on offering both diesel engines and manual gearboxes as part of the Skyactiv program, but it may prove difficult building a business case for offering either in a compact CUV for North America.
Motor Trend reports the CX-5 will most likely to be manufactured in Japan, but will sold across several different markets worldwide. According to the magazine, a production version could be shown at an auto show by late 2011, but likely wouldn't launch until the year after. Source: Motor Trend