The aging Mazda Tribute is long overdue for an update and reports of a sharper and more dynamic compact crossover from Mazda date back to early 2007, so it’s not at all surprising to see that the Japanese automaker is working on just such a model.

Previewed here today in concept form, the new compact crossover from Mazda will likely be called the CX-5 and go up against vehicles like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota Rav4 and possibly even the upcoming BMW X1. To keep it as fuel efficient as possible, the crossover is expected to feature a partial all-wheel drive system, with drive being sent to the front wheels in most situations and the rears only kicking in during loss of traction.

This concept is called the 2011 Mazda Minagi and it has been leaked ahead of its official world debut at March’s 2011 Geneva Motor Show or possibly even the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

Its styling has clearly been derived from the stunning Shinari, which we all know will influence the automaker’s future models--we got that confirmation from Mazda’s chief designer, Ikuo Maeda, last September.


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