May 19, 2024

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Text and photos by Cor Steenstra

When the first generation Mazda CX5 was introduced it posed quite a big step for Mazda, and it did that very well. A new segment and a good product seemed a good combination for success. So how to improve on this? Since that first generation CX5 Mazda has had quite some changes in design language. It was spared the wavy update and instead went straight to the current KODO Design Language.


Mazda’s creative approach is always evolving. The underlying design philosophy for the next generation of Mazda cars is adding the power and beauty that one sees in the instantaneous movement of animals or humans. This is the form displayed in the moment motion begins – for example the instant when a cheetah pounces on its prey, or the moment of a sword strike in the ancient Japanese martial art of kendo. It is this moment where accumulated force is released that contains the most finely-honed balance of strength and streamlined beauty. It is in this instant – which requires maximum concentration – that we feel instantaneous power, speed, a dignified tension, a sophisticated beauty – it is, in its way, highly seductive.

Mazda has positioned this instantaneous movement, filled with vitality and the stirring of the emotions, as the ultimate form of motion, and has defined it as ‘KODO’. KODO will be incorporated into all Mazda designs, to express a faster, more forceful movement, and to include a more soulful element. This is embodied in the design language of ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ and it represents the next generation of Mazda design.

What that meant for the CX5 translates into a vehicle that has quite a powerful down road graphics, is physically relatively compact in exterior size, but is surprisingly big on the inside. The lines and surfaces on the exterior seemed to have been created quite well, offering a balanced overall impression, with clever treatments in details that make to enhance the overall impression.

On the interior it is clear that this vehicle is not aimed at the top of the market, with clear but simple and non-sophisticated basic shapes, dressed in nice, but again, non-sophisticated materials. The fit and finish is good, and there was an overall atmosphere inside that matched the target audience well.

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