Geneva Auto Show Preview: 2011 Mazda MAZDA5
Offering a first look at the upcoming generation of its Mazda5 mini-hauler, the Japanese automaker has released photos of the vehicle that will formally debut at the Geneva Auto Salon in March. Beyond new architecture that's based on the latest iteration Mazda3, this recast vanette will be the first vehicle to fully embrace the automaker's new, organically influenced "Nagare" styling language.
Although the new Mazda5 goes on sale in Europe later this year, it's not scheduled to arrive here until sometime in 2011. Given that fact, detail specifics on our version remain minimal at best. However, one thing that won't change is its dramatically contoured bodywork. Up front, the Mazda5 wears a custom-tailored and extremely attractive take on Mazda's new signature face. However, it's the boldly sculpted side panels that fully celebrate the Nagare (the Japanese word for "flow") spirit, a distinctive flourish that's smartly complemented by prominent fender flares and well-integrated headlamps and taillamps.
Like the current Mazda5, this new iteration will offer a space-efficient cabin with seating for six and loads of flexible configurability, abetted by dual sliding rear doors and a large rear hatch. Given its Mazda3 platform genes, handling should also continue to be most impressive. Mazda says it's still too early to talk powertrains for U.S. models. However, we're inclined to believe that the Gen II Mazda5 we get will likely share some version of the existing 2.5-liter four used in the Mazda3 rather than firm's new 2.0-liter direct-injected SKY-G four that will be the top motivator in Euro trim -- at least when the vehicle first arrives. Whatever engine or engines turn up underhood, expect it/them to be pairable with either a manual or an automatic transmission.