Los Angeles 2011: Mazda Thinks Small, Looks Up with the 2013 CX-5

Mazda’s CX-7 and CX-9 crossovers, which have enjoyed relative success during their lifespans, are about to gain a new little sibling: the new 2013 CX-5 compact crossover made its North American debut at today’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

The CX-5 is the first of the Mazda's crossovers to receive the company's new Skyactiv engine technology, which first premiered on the 2012 Mazda 3 sedan. The so-called  Skyactiv-G engine is a 2.0-liter gasoline I-4 that produces 163 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. The Skyactiv’s name comes from what Mazda calls “upward thinking:” it uses a smattering of technologies and tweaks--including optimally shaped pistons, direct gas injection, and an uncharacteristically high compression ratio--to improve efficiency without sacrificing power. EPA figures are still forthcoming, but Mazda expects the CX-5 to earn highway fuel economy ratings as high as 32 mpg, but that figure will likely vary depending on the transmission (both automatic and manual gearboxes will be offered here) and driveline (you have a choice of front- and all-wheel-drive) ordered.

The CX-5 also serves as the launch vehicle for another engine, which is codenamed Skyactiv-D. The engine is a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged diesel motor good for 173 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, and reportedly returns 36 mpg.  The Skyactiv-D’s claim to fame, however, is its ability to meet stringent diesel engine emission requirements in the United States without using a urea injection system like that on the Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel models.

Will that engine come here? Mazda President Jim O'Sullivan said this morning that the company couldn't confirm the inclusion of the Skyactiv-D in the CX-5's U.S. engine line-up, but said "we're the only Asian carmaker in the game that's even talking about it. It's a great engine."

The CX-5 will arrive at American showrooms "after the first of the year," and not a moment too soon: it now goes into battle against refreshed competitors like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. O'Sullivan said he was confident the CX-5's driving dynamics--the impetus behind the brand's infamous Zoom-Zoom tagline--will differentiate it from the rest.

For more on the 2013 Mazda CX-5, check out our First Look story here. For more on the 2011 Los Angeles Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our L.A. Show homepage.

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