We knew we were adding a dash of flash to our Four Seasons fleet when we took delivery of a Range Rover Evoque, but we did not expect our newly arrived Mazda CX-5 to turn just as many heads as the posh Range Rover.
The fact that our CX-5 is dressed in a vivacious shade of sky blue mica paint probably helps its cause. The CX-5 also is the first production Mazda to feature the brand's new Kodo design language, which is a departure from the smiley-faced and oh-so-wavy Nagare language championed by ex-design chief Franz von Holzhausen (who has since moved on to Tesla). Kodo is supposed to stand for the "soul of motion" -- a more refined sense of flow over the old Nagare look. Key elements of Kodo include a more conservative five-point grille, projector beam headlights, and a metal detail that runs from within each headlight cluster to outline the base of the grille. Especially on the CX-5, the new form is quite handsome and it makes Mazda's compact crossover stand out from the competition but not in a bad way.
Staffers fall into two distinct camps when discussing the CX-5's look: either they think it is "adorable" and "super cute" or that it is "aggressive" and "masculine." Yet everyone agrees that the Kodo look is much more mature than Mazda's previous offerings. "When compared to the outgoing CX-7 crossover, the CX-5 is much more mainstream and is pretty attractive," notes managing editor Amy Skogstrom. This newfound maturity is not off putting to a new generation of buyers, however; our youngest staff member, associate online editor Ben Timmins, finds the CX-5 to be "just flashy enough, although it could with less lower body cladding. Personally, I would never buy a Honda CR-V, but could happily see myself in a CX-5."
"I was never a fan of Nagare, and its clown-faced look, but I think Mazda's on the right track with its Kodo design language," says associate web editor Evan McCausland. "The swoopy fenders, furrowed brow, and rising rear quarter windows lend it a sporty, car-like feel, but the CX-5 still retains a touch of boxiness -- and, dare I say, masculinity -- that its CX-7 and CX-9 forebears lacked. Squint, and the CX-5's profile almost looks like a BMW X3's, which is hardly a bad thing."
Assistant editor David Zenlea asserts that the CX-5 is "a lot more mature than the Nagare-styled cars, especially when you compare it with the faces on the Mazda3 and Mazda5. It's very aggressive but not polarizing."
The CX-5 just went on sale at the end of February, and Mazda has already sold 3986 copies through the end of March. In fact, Jeremy Barnes, the director of communications for Mazda USA, recently told us that "[Mazda] hasn't had a car moving off of dealer lots this quickly since the original Miata in 1989." It's clear that the CX-5 isn't just turning heads but is also winning over customers, a good sign for a brand that could use a hit.
Check back next month when we promise to move beyond the visuals after we start putting some serious miles on Mazda's latest SUV.