When Mazda says its upcoming compact crossover will lack impact, it means it in the best possible way. The CX-5 will include an automatic braking system that can prevent collisions with slow-moving vehicles or jaywalking humans if the driver fails to take action. What's more, this feature – which was so often the reserve of high-end executive cars – will come fitted as standard across the range.
The safety technology, which the company calls Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), scans the road ahead with a laser from its vantage point at the top of the windscreen. If it thinks a dozing driver is about to smack into something solid, it automatically cuts the power and applies the brakes to try to keep the front end of the CX-5 all shiny and dent-free.
The laser stays alert at speeds between walking pace and 19mph, and the system will take up any slack in the brakes as soon as it detects something sizeable in the danger zone ahead of the car. That way the anchors will be primed and ready to respond more quickly if an inattentive driver does happen to look up from their phone, music player, newspaper or screaming toddler in time to apply the brakes manually.
The new CX-5 aims to compete with cars like the Skoda Yeti, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga. It will start at £21,395 and will be available in front-wheel-drive or 4x4 versions when it reaches the shores of the UK this spring. Power will come from a choice of 2-litre 165PS petrol or 2.2-litre 150PS diesel engines.
As well as SCBS, the basement SE-L trim level will boast 17-inch alloys, front fog lights, dual zone climate control and privacy glass, as well as front and rear parking sensors to help you avoid further low-speed scrapes.