Mazda CX‑5: the making of an icon

Following the announcement of the 2022 CX‑5, Mazda Stories celebrates more than a decade of its automotive firsts, international accomplishments and special moments.

From concept to car

In 2010 when Mazda unveiled the Shinari—a four-door sports coupe concept—it also revealed its new design direction, ‘Kodo—Soul of Motion’. This styling was incorporated into its next concept, the Minagi compact crossover SUV, which also brought to the public‘s attention Mazda’s suite of Skyactiv technologies. The award-winning Mazda CX‑5 followed soon after, debuting at the September 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. It combined both Kodo and Skyactiv attributes, and set out a new blueprint for the company’s future.

Leading design

“Creating an SUV that would appeal globally was a difficult task,” recalls Masashi Nakayama, General Manager of Mazda’s Design Division who styled the original CX‑5. “We set ourselves the challenge of bringing sporty design elements to the SUV, and in doing so created a whole new segment for the SUV market. We call this the ‘CX-5 segment.’”

The 2022 model shares the same design DNA as its predecessor, as Nakayama explains: “We didn’t want to change parts of the design that resonate with our customers but instead deepen it to maintain its uniqueness.”

Takanori Tsubaki, Chief Designer of the new CX‑5, emphasizes this point, adding, “We fitted elongated headlights and taillights to the car to assist with night-time safety.”

The CX‑5’s design credentials even extend to the paintwork—it was the first vehicle to wear Soul Red Crystal, a colour that has become synonymous with Mazda.

Awards and international recognition

The CX‑5 is one of the bestselling Mazdas worldwide, holding the number-one spot in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. It has won over 100 awards internationally, taking home 45 accolades in its launch year alone. It received two highly coveted awards, for Best New Small Utility Vehicle (2018) and Best New Mid-Size Utility Vehicle (2019), from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and its safety credentials include winning a TOP SAFETY PICK from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety every year since it entered the market.

Its other outstanding achievements include Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY) Family Car of the Year (2017). In Europe, the CX‑5 was voted Best in Test in the Mid-Class SUV category for the Dutch Consumer Association’s annual Car Guide (2015), beating nine other competitors to the title.

The 2018 CX‑5 was a World Car of the Year Award top three finalist.

Challenging convention

From battling the elements in Chile to exploring Vietnam on and off the beaten track, the CX‑5 has proven it can handle any terrain. In 2019 a fleet of CX‑5s set off from the UK, travelling through ice and snow to reach Nordkapp, the northernmost point of mainland Europe. The CX‑5 has also crossed the world’s oldest and deepest lake—the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia—making Mazda the first car manufacturer to achieve this feat. More recently, the CX‑5 excelled in a 100,000 km endurance test conducted by German magazine Auto Bild, achieving one of the best marks ever awarded and earning a fourth-place spot in its all-time rankings.

The enhanced 2022 Mazda CX‑5

The 2022 Mazda CX‑5 comes with i‑Activ AWD as standard and the new models combine high-quality design and comfort. The Signature model, for example, features thoughtful design changes that make the CX‑5 feel even more elegant. Its exterior cladding adopts the same unified colour scheme as the rest of the body, contrasted by bright silver finished wheels, while the interior showcases premium quality materials such as luxurious Nappa leather and genuine woodgrain. Since the CX-5 was first launched, its worldwide sales total more than three million, and the enhanced 2022 CX‑5 offers even more refinements to this internationally renowned vehicle. Discover more at

The new Mazda CX-5.

The new Mazda CX-5 and its luxurious interior.

Words Charlotte Briggs

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