As our exclusive picture shows, the crossover model will be inspired by the Hakaze – the design study which made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month – and take aim at Land Rover’s Freelander. It com- bines the fun of the brand’s MX-5 roadster with the practicality of the CX-7 SUV, which will be coming to UK showrooms in September.
And while the distinctive Mazda radiator grille and swept-back headlamps have a familiar look, there are plenty of new features to surprise buyers. Key styling cues taken from the Hakaze include a split-opening tailgate and four-seater cabin.
The production version will also boast removable roof panels to give occupants a genuine wind-in-the-hair experience. However, the bubble canopy of the Hakaze and its pair of long doors are not scheduled to appear on the roadgoing variant.
Instead, the company is likely to opt for a more conventional windscreen and a four-door set-up inspired by the RX-8 sports car, with short rear-hinged ‘suicide’ back doors. Not only will they boost access to the rear seats, but with tight shut lines and no visible handle they will also provide the CX-5 with the sporty look of a two-door. Inside, buyers will get a range of hi-tech features, including a USB port to allow music lovers to connect their MP3 players directly to the stereo, as well as Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. Advanced systems won’t be limited to the interior, either, because the tarmac-biased model will also have a clever part-time four-wheel-drive set-up for light off-road duties or work on slippery surfaces.
Officially, the CX-5 has yet to be confirmed for production, but bosses in the UK would like to see the sporty soft-roader in showrooms by 2010, with prices from around £18,000.