Public interest in the Mazda CX-5 refuses to let up even as the vehicle approaches its first full year on the market. The long and growing list of accolades for Mazda’s compact crossover SUV attest to its capabilities – as do the expectation-smashing sales figures. A regular fixture at awards ceremonies across Europe and the world since first launched in early 2012, the CX-5 has been honoured for attributes as diverse as its outstanding performance and innovative technology to design, safety, fuel economy and more.

The “SUV trophy” presented in Paris in December 2012 by French weekly l’Argus de l’Automobile, which the CX-5 won ahead of the Opel Mokka and Land Rover’s Range Rover, was only the latest. It came on the heels of the “2012-13 Car of the Year Japan” announced on Nov. 29. In an unexpectedly decisive result, the 60-head jury of automotive experts praised the CX-5 above all for its “revolutionary” SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, including the economical SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine, as well as its exceptional handling.

In Germany, meanwhile, the CX-5 was ranked first by SWR-TV’s Auto + Verkehr among 23 new vehicles, ahead of the second and third-placed Volvo V40 and Hyundai i30. And in Austria, the CX-5 outclassed the likes of the Audi A3, BMW 3-series and Mercedes A-Class at the ARBÖ (Austrian Automobile Club) awards to win the “medium” category covering passenger cars priced between €20,000 and €40,000. Other awards include “Britain’s Best Crossover” (Auto Express), “Best SUV” in the UK’s WhatCar? Green Awards 2012 ahead of the Nissan Qashqai & BMW X3, and “SUV of the Year 2012” by Spain’s Motor Mundial magazine. Beyond Europe, where it also won Auto Bild’s 2012 European Design Award in the “SUV, Van & AWD” category, the CX-5 was named top SUV by several publications and other organizations in North America and Asia.

Not bad for Mazda’s first compact SUV. European consumers think so, too, ordering more than 40,000 units by the end of November. The CX-5 has been particularly popular in northern European markets such as the Netherlands, with an 11.6 per cent year-to-date share of the non-premium compact SUV market*, Denmark (7.6 per cent) and Norway (6.7 per cent), although it didn’t go on sale until February 2012. In fact, Mazda already had to raise its annual total production estimates twice, from 160,000 units to 200,000 and then 240,000.

The facts speak for themselves: With the CX-5’s striking “KODO – Soul of Motion” design and the full range of Mazda’s lightweight SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, the uncompromising CX-5 goes beyond the conventional and delivers segment-beating performance, safety as well as efficiency to go with its good looks. Highlights include best-in-class fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 4.6 l/100km and 119g/km**. All SKYACTIV engines – two diesels and one petrol powerplant – feature i-stop, Mazda’s unique fuel saving idle-stop system delivering exceptional fast restarts. SKYACTIV diesels are even Euro 6 compliant – without needing pricey exhaust aftertreatment and truly defying convention, featuring the world’s lowest compression ratio. Inside, the segment-leading wheelbase enables a remarkably spacious cabin, particularly for rear passengers, and one of the biggest and most flexible boots available. The Mazda CX-5 is also among the safest cars on the road today, with an enviable range of active safety systems as well as cutting-edge passive safety delivering top protection for occupants and pedestrians alike. Euro NCAP (like ANCAP in Australia) rated the CX-5 with the maximum five stars, despite applying its strictest safety criteria ever. It was also named “Top Safety Pick 2012” by the IIHS*** in the U.S.

“The CX-5 is vital for Mazda sales and indeed the Mazda brand in Europe,” says Mazda’s European head of R&D Ichiro Hirose. “So naturally we’re delighted about all the positive publicity that it’s getting, even though we firmly believe that this car deserves such attention.” * Figures for Jan-Nov 2012 ** Combined cycle figures for the front-wheel drive version with SKYACTIV-D 2.2 standard power diesel and six-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission *** Insurance Institute for Highway Safety