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 |  Dec 21 2011, 2:45 PM

The Tokyo Motor Show is behind us, but the Tokyo Auto Salon is coming up in the next few weeks. One of the manufacturers that is using this venue to showcase its new performance products is Mazda.

The highlight on Mazda’s stand will be the MX-5 NR-A ‘Jimba-Ittai’ (translates to: rider and horse as one) track special. Apart from the funky paint schemes, the MX-5 NR-A will feature 16-inch Enkei alloy rims with Bridgestone tires, 20-mm lower height, Endless brake pads and Takata four-point racing harness, among some other changes.

Sharing the stage with the MX-5 NR-A (not to be confused with the National Rifle Association) will be a special edition CX-5 crossover, the RX-8 Spirit R, which is the final version of this sports coupe, and the MX-5 Black-Tuned, which is a regular MX-5 with some black color features, such as its special BBS rims. Oh, and it also features some rather green seats.

The Tokyo Auto Salon will be held in the city of Chiba from January 13 to 15.

GALLERY: Mazda Auto Salon Preview

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See our Auto Show coverage here.

 |  Sep 14 2011, 6:03 AM

Mazda CX-5 03.JPG

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mazda has revealed the production version of its new CX-5 compact crossover. Slated to go on sale in European and North America next year, it represents a new direction, in terms of styling and also engineering for the Hiroshima, Japan based automaker.

Boxier than Mazda’s current line of crossover utilities, the CX-5 features a rather prominent grille, one that faintly recalls the old 808 and RX-3 rotary sedan and coupe from the mid-1970s. Mazda dubs the CX-5′s design language as ‘KODO’ or ‘Soul in Motion,’ said to be inspired by the rapid pace and agility of animals like the Cheetah.

The CX-5 is the first Mazda to feature the company’s new generation ‘SKYACTIV’ engines, a 2.0-liter gas unit rated at 165 metric horsepower (PS) and (in Europe at least) a 2.2-liter diesel engines that sports a two-stage turbocharger, enabling 150 and 175 PS outputs. Rated at 280 lb-ft for the lower output version and 310 lb-ft for the more potent one, both engines can be teamed with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Front or all-wheel drive configurations are also available.

With the standard manual gearbox and front drive, Mazda says target fuel consumption for the CX-5; is 47.2 miles per gallon with the gas motor; some 68.1 mpg for the diesel, while both engines deliver some of the lowest emissions outputs in their class (139 g/km/119 g/km); in fact the diesel motor meets tough Euro 6 smog requirements without the need for direct exhaust injection. (Of note, these fuel economy numbers are for Europe). Stop/Start technology is also employed on Euro spec models to further aid emissions and fuel economy reduction.

With fairly generous passenger and cargo space, plus split folding second row seating with what Mazda describes as easy to use ‘Karakuri,’ technology; the CX-5 is also said to blend practicality with fun to drive characteristics, likely making it one of the sportier SUV offerings in the compact segment.

A North American version is planned for introduction sometime next year as a 2013 model, likely priced around the $20,000 mark, though as previous information has stated, don’t expect either the diesel or stop/start technology to make their way to our shores as soon.

Hit the jump to see our exclusive video of the 2012 Mazda CX-5

GALLERY: 2012 Mazda CX-5

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 |  Sep 10 2011, 1:00 PM

More and more automakers it seems, are discovering the benefit of stop/start technology applied to their conventional powered models in an effort to boost fuel economy.

Mazda, which calls its version i-stop, has been utilizing it since 2009 and recently announced that it will be featured on the new CX-5 crossover, when it goes on sale next year. However, there’s a bit of catch; i-stop will only be offered on the European spec CX-5 for the time being, as far s the North American market  is concerned it could be several years before the technology makes an appearance.

Nonetheless, Mazda North America president and CEO, Jim O’Sullivan did state that it’s likely on its way. “Within five years, it’s a definite, distinct possibility it could happen,” he said, though was keen to emphasize that educating consumers in North America would be crucial to making it successful; “the prospects for stop/start technology depend on consumer acceptance, there are those people driving the vehicle who might not be comfortable with their engine stopping. Will it restart?”

In order to overcome anxiety and potential resistance to the technology, O’Sullivan says the best way is to phase it in and establish it across multiple product lines, a plan Mazda currently has in place across the pond.

Last year, around 10 percent of 2.0 MZR gas-engined Mazda3s in Europe were sold with i-stop and so far, in 2011 the take rate on the technology has been around 25 percent with the Mazda5 people carrier.

Early tests of the CX-5 equipped with i-stop have reported that the technology is smooth and virtually seamless in operation, both with gas and diesel engines and also with both manual and automatic transmissions. It’s a shame we’ll likely have to wait another half decade to experience it ourselves.

[Source: Ward's]

Click here to AutoGuide’s Mazda SkyActive Prototype First Drive Review