SUVs: Mazda - Mercedes

* New cars coming in 2012 * Small family cars to MPVs revealed today * More throughout the week...

SUVs: Mazda - Mercedes

Mazda CX-5
What is it? Compact SUV with clever fuel-saving tech
Price from 22,000 (est)
On sale Spring

Mazdas new CX-5 is the first car to get the full benefit of the Japanese manufacturers Skyactiv efficiency technology. It brings together new engines, transmissions, body and chassis design to cut emissions.

It works, too. Front-wheel-drive diesel CX-5s should emit less than 120g/km of CO2, almost 20g/km less than a VW Tiguan.

Three engines will be available at launch: a 162bhp 2.0-litre petrol and a pair of diesels, a 148bhp 2.0 and a 173bhp 2.2. We tried the petrol and higher-powered diesel in development cars, and both were impressive; the diesel was particularly good, with punchy power delivery at low revs.

The manual transmission feels smooth, too, as does the four-wheel-drive system.

Throw in decent cabin space and youre left with a promising package; Mazda could have a hit on its hands.

Mercedes GL
What is it? Face-lifted seven-seater, based on current M-Class
Price from 60,000 (est)
On sale Autumn

An all-new M-Class launches next spring, but sources suggest that its big brother the seven-seat GL will have to make do with a face-lift.

That said, it appears to be a major overhaul. Spy shots show that the overall shape remains the same, but most of the panels are new. Theres a more angular look than before, while new-look front and rear ends bring it into line with the latest M-Class.

The upgraded interior will incorporate Mercs latest entertainment systems, and the electrically folding rear-most seats will be retained.