Mazda's march to full independence from its days under Ford's control begins in earnest with this: the 2013 CX-5 small sport utility vehicle, an all-new design meant to compete with the growing brace of soft-roaders from Honda, Toyota, Hyundai -- and Ford.
Carrying the flowing creases of Mazda's new-ish corporate design, the CX-5 sports a 155-hp, 2-liter four-cylinder engine. Those specs aren't thrilling, but Mazda's tuned the CX-5 for fuel economy, not power -- getting 26 mpg in city driving and 32 mpg on the highway with the six-speed automatic. (It will also offer a six-speed manual for those who haul their racing spirit in a tall, all-wheel-drive wagon, getting one extra mile per gallon on the highway).
The interior offers the requisite screens and space, with a few tricks like a rear seat that can fold three different ways from a remote switch. Among its claimed superlatives, Mazda boasts that the CX-5 driver will have the widest field of vision among small SUV owners. Getting them to see things Mazda's way will be the real trick.