Disappointing news for all you who are pre-emptively calling the 2013 Mazda CX-5 slow and weak: Mazda's 0-60-mph estimate for a front-drive CX-5 with the six-speed automatic transmission is 8.6 seconds. With AWD, that claim increases to 8.8.
If true, that's quicker than every other non-luxury four-cylinder crossover out there, save for the VW Tiguan (8.4 seconds) and the turbo Kia Sportage (haven't tested one yet) -- and the manual-shift CX-5 should be quicker still. In any case, our own Chris Walton recently spent some time in a U.S.-spec CX-5, so you'll get his take on the acceleration before long.
We also spoke to Mazda engineer Masuhiro Mora, who told us that although the American CX-5 is tuned to run right as rain on 87 octane, there's likely to be at least a modest performance benefit to filling it up with 91 when we eventually test it. "With 91, you should have slightly better torque in theory," he said.
He added, "Yesterday, I got 31.2 mpg in the CX-5 when I drove for about 2 hours (100 miles), and that included city driving and a traffic jam."
Look for the 2013 CX-5 to go on sale the second or third week of February 2012. We're told pricing will be released in late January, and will be right in line with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, both key rivals.
Patrick Dempsey and his RX-8 Grand Am car were on hand for the CX-5 unveiling. As testament to Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi's true-blue car guy status, we caught him taking a photo (of the racecar, not the actor-racer) moments before the press conference began.
Later, we caught a group of Hyundai engineers crawling all over the CX-5, feverishly searching for the secret ingredients in the crossover's Skyactiv chassis.
And as a random aside, Mazda is offering two tire sizes on the CX-5: P225/65R17 and P225/55/R19. The 17s will be Yokohama Geolanders; the 19s will be Toyo A25s.