The design is similar to that of the Koeru concept we first saw at the Frankfurt show last year: from most angles it looks like a raised-up Mazda 3, but there's a more shapely profile, sporty shoulderline and rugged lower body cladding. The muscular C-Pillar treatment is also shared with the Koeru.
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Mazda says it's designed for functionality and user-friendliness. It's 4.6m long, 1.8m wide and 1.5m high, and is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. Equipment includes smartphone connectivity and a suite of safety kit.
Front-wheel drive models get a 2.0-litre petrol with a six-speed manual gearbox, while all-wheel drive versions use a 2.5-litre petrol and an automatic 'box. The 2.0-litre model returns 44.1mpg, with the larger engine returning 38.7mpg.
The CX-4 is designed to be a more style-focused stablemate to the successful CX-5. It sits on that car's chassis and underpinnings, but features a more rakish rear roofline that is likely to compromise the amount of headroom available for back-seat passengers.
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Speaking to Auto Express at the recent Geneva Motor Show, Kenichiro Saruwatari, vice-president, European research and development, said there were some hurdles to overcome if the CX-4 is to go on sale in Europe. And he suggested that it would be a much sportier SUV than what we have seen from Mazda so far. He said: “Currently we are introducing this vehicle to specific markets, not global. But of course, every market wants to have this vehicle.
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"The car looks very sporty. Our products need to match customers’ expectation. The issue is how to meet this, otherwise it is very difficult to introduce the new vehicle. We need to think about it, so the total performance is matched to the expectation.
“Powertrain is one of the issues. People see the image of this vehicle as sporty, so the powertrain needs to generate more. But so far we [Mazda Europe] don’t have any powertrain to generate the big power."
Saruwatari continued: “If we decide to introduce this vehicle globally, I think the requirement from each market is different, even though it is the same vehicle. The requirements in America, Europe and China are different. This takes time and workload to revise.”
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