Mazda's ground-breaking all-new Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUV featuring breakthrough SKYACTIV technology is set to increase the brand's penetration of the UK fleet market.
Fleet managers and representatives of contract hire and leasing companies gave the Mazda CX-5, which marks the debut of Mazda's unique SKYACTIV fuel-sipping, emissions-busting technology, the thumbs-up at the model's fleet launch at Rockingham, Northamptonshire.
SKYACTIV technology, which has as its three key attributes economy, safety and performance, promises to redraw the automotive landscape as it is rolled out across the Mazda line-up with the launch of new models.
Promising enhanced efficiency and performance from petrol and diesel engines, the key model numbers relating to list price, CO2 emissions, benefit-in-kind tax (BiK), MPG, residual values and indicative total operating costs met fleet decision-maker approval.
On-the-road prices for the 18-strong CX-5 range start from £21,395 for the 2.0-litre SE-L SKYACTIV-G 165ps petrol and rise to £28,795 for the flagship 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D 175ps diesel Sport Nav Auto all-wheel drive (AWD).
The 2-wheel drive (2WD) petrol engine range gives drivers a choice of SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav trim levels. Emitting 139g/km of CO2 and returning 47.1mpg on the combined cycle no competitor models can match such figures given the available power.
Diesel engine performance - 2.2-litre powerplants with a choice of SKYACTIV 150ps or 175ps engines with 2WD or all-wheel drive (AWD), manual and automatic transmissions and four equipment levels (SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav) - is similarly unmatched in terms of both CO2 emissions (from 119g/km) and fuel economy (from 61.4mpg on the combined cycle).
Tony Leigh, Head of Car Fleet Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has a fleet of some 2,500 cars, was impressed with the Mazda CX-5. He said: "The CX-5 has style. It is entering a sector of the market where there are a lot of competitors. A low CO2 figure is important and, with the price of fuel, economy is crucial, so it all comes down to cost. The CX-5 looks to be very competitive."
Malcolm Hird, National Field Services Manager and in charge of the 232-strong fleet at Dyson, famed for its vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, said: "Today's company car drivers are looking for a vehicle that has load-carrying capability but is not too large, is practical and stylish. They are also conscious of their benefit-in-kind tax bill and fuel costs and the CX-5 delivers.
"There is a uniqueness about the CX-5 and I thought the 2.0-litre petrol engine was perfectly balanced, while the 2.2-litre diesel was lively and responsive. The CX-5 would earn a place on our fleet."
During the event, decision-makers were able to drive the CX-5 back-to-back with key competitors such as the Ford Kuga and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Lorraine Johnson, New Business Development Consultant at Huntingdon-based Marshall Leasing, which operates a fleet of 6,000 vehicles, said: "The CX-5 handled very well in comparison with its competitors. It is a very comfortable car with plenty of room and the practicality of a larger vehicle.
"The arrival of SKYACTIV technology across the Mazda range will increase demand for Mazda vehicles because it drives down CO2 emissions."
Mazda Head of Fleet Steve Tomlinson said: "We are delighted at the reaction from the fleet sector. The arrival of the CX-5 marks the dawning of a new era for Mazda as we defy convention and focus on the evolution of petrol and diesel engine technology, which we believe will find favour from fleets in preference to the electric and hybrid alternatives of other marques."
Mazda anticipates the 150ps 2.2-litre 2WD SKYACTIV-D SE-L manual to be the best fleet seller due CO2 emissions of 119g/km taking the model significantly below the crucial reduced 130g/km capital allowance and lease rental disallowance thresholds for 2013/14.
Generously specified, the CX-5 SE-L models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, Smart City Brake Support and privacy glass, plus front and rear parking sensors. Moving up the CX-5 range, Sport grade models feature 19-inch alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights with Active Front Lighting System, full leather trim, heated front seats, powered driver's seat and a reversing camera.