The prettiest crossover Mazda has built so far

Remember the Mazda Koeru concept that made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show? The company described it as its "latest venture into the growing crossover SUV market" and confirmed there will be a production version of it before the show was over. Well, it turns out that the new model will hit the market sooner than expected.

Unlike other upcoming models that usually hit the streets as camouflaged prototypes, the crossover was first spotted in production-ready form somewhere in Asia. It happened in 2015 and in early 2016 Mazda confirmed it will be called the CX-4. Come 2016 and Mazda’s latest people hauler made its debut at the Beijing Auto Show.

Developed to "exceed existing categories and stereotypes," the CX-4 bridges the gap between the Mazda3 and CX-5. About the same size as the CX-5, the CX-4 is not only a bigger proposition to the car-based CX-3, but also a sportier, coupe-like one. Unfortunately, there is no word whether this new crossover will be sold globally or offered just in China, but the fact that it was launched at the Beijing Auto Show could mean that its main focus is the world’s largest automobile market.

But until we find out more about its role in Mazda’s global lineup, let’s have a closer look at what it has to offer.

Updated 04/25/2016: Mazda unveiled the CX_4 at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Mazda CX-4.

Exterior

2017 Mazda CX-4
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The first official photos confirm what we already knew about the CX-4 ever since the first prototype was spotted in Asia. The CX-4 features the same KODO-styled front end with the massive, shield-shaped grille and sculpted engine hood. It also sports the Koeru’s grille frame that extends into the headlamps, a design feature not available on other Mazda vehicles. Interestingly enough, the model showcased by the company in Beijing has a blacked-out chrome grille instead of the usual shiny trim, which gives the crossover a sportier appearance.

Around back, the CX-4 received most of the Koeru’s features, but Mazda reworked them into more production-friendly designs.

Around back, the CX-4 received most of the Koeru’s features, but Mazda reworked them into more production-friendly designs. The taillights are larger, and the chrome strip between them is thicker, while the exhaust pipes are no longer integrated into the bumper and pop out closer to the ground. Likewise, the lower tailgate has a smoother design, the windscreen is taller, and the bumper has a more utilitarian appearance.

Surprisingly enough, the Koeru’s sporty profile was transferred nearly unaltered onto the CX-4. Sure, the roof sits higher, the door handles have a standard design, and the wheels aren’t as fancy as the concept’s, but the coupe-like design and the blacked-out B- and C-pillars are still there. Nice work, Mazda!

As far as size goes, the CX-4 is 4,633mm (182.4 inches) long, 1,840mm (72.4 inches) wide, and has a 2,700mm (106.2-inch) long wheelbase. The wheelbase and width are identical to the CX-5, while the overhangs make it 93mm (3.6 inches) longer. Technically, the CX-4 is to the CX-5 what the BMW X6 is to the X5.

Interior

2017 Mazda CX-4 High Resolution Interior
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Mazda gave us a good look at the CX-4’s interior before its debut and it seems like nothing changed since then. Not surprisingly, the CX-4’s cabin isn’t as fancy as the Koeru’s, but more in line with what we already saw in the CX-5. The center stack layout is pretty much the same, with an infotainment screen above the rectangular A/C vents and all the knobs and buttons below. However, the touchscreen is a free-standing type unit, whereas the CX-5 has it integrated into the center stack.

However, the touchscreen is a free-standing type unit, whereas the CX-5 has it integrated into the center stack.

The center console and the steering wheel seem to be almost identical to the CX-5. The photos suggest that the CX-4 will come with plenty of premium features on the inside, including aluminum inserts, leather, contrast stitching, and a good overall fit-and-finish, but Mazda has yet to release actual details about its amenities.

As far as comfort goes, the coupe configuration will make the CX-4 less roomier than the CX-5. However, the production model won’t be as cramped in the rear as the Koeru concept thanks to its taller glass house. Also, the bigger rear windscreen should provide improved visibility.

Drivetrain

2017 Mazda CX-4 High Resolution Exterior
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Should the crossover go global, certain markets will also get the 2.2-liter diesel with 147 horsepower and 280 pound-feet or 173 horses and 310 pound-feet.

As expected, the CX-4 received the exact same engines as the CX-5. There is no specific information on output, but the latter comes with a 2.0-liter SkyActiv unit rated at 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque in entry-level guise and a more powerful 2.5-liter SkyActiv with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of twist in range-topping trim. Chances are the CX-4 will hit dealerships in the same specifications. Should the crossover go global, certain markets will also get the 2.2-liter diesel with 147 horsepower and 280 pound-feet or 173 horses and 310 pound-feet. Mazda did confirm that transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and that the version with the 2.5-liter engine will also feature all-wheel drive.

As for fuel economy, the Japanese say that the 2.0-liter with the manual will need 6.4 liters of fuel for 100 km, while the same unit with the automatic will sip 6.3 liters per 100 km. The 2.5-liter engine with the six-speed automatic will have a fuel consumption of 7.2 liters for each 100 km with i-ELOOP and 7.3 liters without. All figures are for the combined cycle.

Other details are very limited, but Mazda did say that the CX-4 comes with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link system to the rear, rack and pinion steering, and ventilated front discs and solid rear discs.

Prices

There’s no pricing information as of this writing, but the CX-4 will probably cost as much as the CX-5, if not a bit more. For the 2016 model year, the CX-5 retails from $21,795 in the United States.

Competition

Nissan Qashqai

2015 - 2018 Nissan Qashqai
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Although there are quite a few coupe-like crossovers on the market nowadays, nearly all of them come from luxury automakers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. And, while Mazda has upped the ante in the quality and equipment departments recently, its vehicles are still no match for premium German products. The CX-4 will probably be more suited to go against the Nissan Qashqai, a popular compact that’s both stylish and sporty looking in its second generation. However, the Qashqai can’t match the power offered by Mazda’s 2.5-liter unit, as the most powerful gasoline version comes with only 160 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

Find out more about the Nissan Qashqai here.

Conclusion

2017 Mazda CX-4 High Resolution Exterior
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Although we still don’t know much about its cabin features and infortainment system, chances are the CX-4 is almost identical to the CX-5 in those departments. If this turns out to be the case, and it’s very likely, the CX-4 will bring together the CX-5’s flexible interior, efficient engine lineup, and generous equipment list with the handsome design of a sporty crossover with a sloping roofline. If the package includes a competitive price as well, say under $23,000, Mazda will have a winner on its hands — if it will sell it globally, that is! It’s too early for a proper conclusion based on the limited info we have as of this writing, but we’ll be back to update the article as soon as Mazda spills the beans.

  • Leave it
    • Global availability unknown
    • Will it come to the U.S.?
    • Could be more expensive than the CX-5

Updated History

Updated 03/14/2016: Mazda dropped the first teaser image of its upcoming CX-4 compact crossover and announced an official debut will happen on April 25, at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Press Release

Mazda Motor Corporation has unveiled a new crossover SUV, the Mazda CX-4, at the Beijing Motor Show (Auto China 2016).*1 The latest edition to Mazda’s new-generation lineup adopts SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO—Soul of Motion design throughout and goes on sale in China in June.

The CX-4 was made to exceed existing categories and stereotypes. The dynamic design is unmistakably KODO in form and the planted stance and sleek, coupe-like cabin combine to give the model an outstanding presence. Customers will appreciate the exceptional functionality and user-friendliness, including the ease of entering and exiting the vehicle and the flexible cargo space. With SUV-like ground clearance and Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD*2 all-wheel drive system, the CX-4 is ready to take on a wide range of road conditions and offers a combination of outstanding environmental and safety performance (Sustainable Zoom-Zoom) and a Jinba-ittai driving feel with excellent handling thanks to its low center of gravity.

"The CX-4 is our fourth new-generation model in China," said Nobuhide Inamoto, Senior Managing Executive Officer overseeing operations in China. "Demand for SUVs here is remarkably strong and we expect this model will play a big part in expanding the Mazda brand in this market. We will continue working to strengthen our brand in China, aiming to become a brand which enriches people’s lives through cars."

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