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Mazda Australia is very confident its imminent second-generation CX-5 crossover will retain the current model’s sales dominance, against an array of improved rivals.

The second iteration of Mazda’s hugely popular mid-sized SUV is due by June — no, we don’t have a more specific date yet — and gets a number of updates over the current offering, which dates to 2012.

2017 Next-Gen Mazda CX-5

Despite being older than a few key market rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson (notwithstanding Mazda’s running updates introduced at the start of 2015), the CX-5 remains easily Australia’s most popular SUV.

The 24,564 CX-5 sales Mazda managed last year made it the nation’s eighth most-popular vehicle full stop, narrowly behind the homegrown Holden Commodore (25,860).

2017 Next-Gen Mazda CX-5

‘We certainly plan on doing everything we can to keep it at the top of the sales charts,” Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders told us this week.

“The new CX-5 takes everything that is popular with the current model and makes it better. No reason it can’t be good enough to attract repeat buyers and also take buyers from the competition.

2017 Next-Gen Mazda CX-5

“The trend away from passenger cars to SUVs will continue. It’s a fair way ahead of second place so the wheels would have to fall off [not to stay on top],” he added.

The new-generation CX-5 will compete against a few other newly launched rivals this year, including the vastly improved Honda CR-V and rebadged Ford Escape. Volkswagen will also enjoy the first full year of sales from its bigger new Tiguan.

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More details on the new Mazda CX-5

The second generation has new (very evolutionary) design, body panels and interior fit and finish, however it carries through the existing petrol/diesel engine line-up of the outgoing CX-5, and misses the CX-9’s excellent new 2.5-litre turbo-petrol.

Technical changes to the body include a lower centre of gravity (by 10mm) with a wider front and rear track. The A-pillars have been pushed back an additional 35mm for better visibility, further aided by the smaller side mirrors.

2017 Next-Gen Mazda CX-5

The body has 15.5 percent more torsional rigidity thanks to the use of ultra-high-tensile steel. The column-type electric steering system get more rigid mounts for greater accuracy. The CX-5 also receives Mazda’s recently G-Vectoring control system.

The Japanese brand has redesigned the front and rear seats (with better support and two-step reclining) as well the air conditioning louvers and controls, and the floating tablet infotainment screen. There are also new materials.

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Mazda promises the interior and body changes have resulted in notable noise vibration and harshness (NVH) improvements, with the new car now 1.3dB quieter inside than its predecessor at 100km/h when travelling on poorly surfaced roads. This is clearly needed.

MORE: CX-5 news, reviews, comparisons and videos
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