FINE-TUNED

Price-drop add s t oMazda CX-5’s ap­peal.

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Vani Naidoo

So ro­bust is the com­pe­ti­tion in the SUV mar­ket that even cars that would be tech­ni­cally con­sid­ered quite new are hav­ing ad­just­ments to pro­long their ap­peal.

The Mazda CX-5 is a case in point, with the all-new model re­leased in 2017 now get­ting a pair of new en­gines to keep it fresh.

The changes are min­i­mal, but those tweaks com­bined with a slight drop in price is likely to make con­verts of those “I’m gonna” buy­ers.

The CX-5 is con­sid­ered one of the bet­ter-look­ing SUVs in this class with its wide grill, sleek lines and un­der­stated rear. Noth­ing has changed, ei­ther in­side or out, in this lat­est it­er­a­tion and to be fair, it didn’t re­ally need to.

Good qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and rea­son­able fit and fin­ish com­ple­ment a sharply styled in­te­rior.

The cabin is qui­etly com­fort­able, with good stor­age op­tions and a use­ful lay­out.

The high cen­tre con­sole means some of the in­fo­tain­ment but­tons are not in­tu­itively close to hand, but by and large, this is a driver­centric cock­pit with all the ease of use that brings.

The cloth seats in our Maxx Sport test car were rather com­fort­able, sup­port­ive without be­ing too firm and with enough width to ac­com­mo­date wider shoul­ders.

Space in the rear is not as gen­er­ous as some ri­vals in this class but two kids won’t have much to com­plain about. The boot, too, is a touch on the small­ish side.

It’s still able to hold a de­cent gro­cery shop and a cou­ple of bags but you are cer­tainly not go­ing to lose any­thing in there.

A good list of stan­dard in­clu­sions is what we have come to ex­pect from Mazda, and this CX-5 doesn’t let any­one down, with even the bot­tom-of-the-range Maxx Sport still fea­tur­ing com­forts such as sat nav, re­verse cam­era, leather­wrapped steer­ing, 17-inch al­loys, LED head­lights, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol and a well-rounded safety pack­age.

The CX-5’s 7.0-inch tablet-like touch­screen sits del­i­cately poised at the top of the dash. While I tend to pre­fer in­te­grated sys­tems, this one feels pre­mium rather than ad hoc, with ex­cel­lent graph­ics and good func­tion­al­ity too.

Blue­tooth connectivity is sim­ple to es­tab­lish. There is dig­i­tal ra­dio and sat-nav and an easy to use con­sole-mounted ro­tary dial con­trol.

Still no Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto, which is a shame.

The en­gines are where the changes can be seen in this CX-5 update. They are only small, so don’t ex­pect any great rev­e­la­tions.

The CX-5 range fea­tures two petrol en­gines, a 2.0-litre front-wheeldrive four-cylin­der unit which has gained 1kW of power for a to­tal of 114kW (200Nm) and the 2.5-litre all­wheel-drive four-cylin­der that pow­ered our car which has an ad­di­tional 1Nm of torque (252Nm) and 140kW.

The 2.5-litre petrol en­gine has a cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion fea­ture which al­lows it to run just two cylin­ders at low speeds, im­prov­ing fuel econ­omy.

The 2.2-litre all-wheel-drive diesel en­gine has been over­hauled, with power in­creas­ing from 129kW to 140kW and torque from 420Nm to 450Nm.

The CX-5 has a five-star ANCAP safety rat­ing and fea­tures six airbags, blind-spot alert, re­verse cam­era, rear cross traf­fic alert and low-speed au­to­matic emer­gency break­ing.

Higher grades get even more good­ies but things like adap­tive cruise con­trol, ac­tive lane con­trol, au­to­matic high-beam head­lights and lane de­par­ture warn­ings can be op­tioned on the Maxx Sport.

There are IsoFix fas­ten­ings in the outer two rear seats and top teth­ers for all three if you need them.

The CX-5 is a nicely bal­anced, beau­ti­fully be­haved SUV, com­posed in the cor­ners and pre­cise in ex­e­cu­tion. Ride qual­ity is sup­ported by a well-tuned sus­pen­sion, grip is good and it is rather easy to drive.

G-Vec­tor­ing re­duces torque across the front wheels when you turn, shift­ing the weight over the axle and re­stores it as you ac­cel­er­ate out of the cor­ner.

This in­creases sta­bil­ity and re­duces the num­ber of steer­ing ad­just­ments that need to be made around the twisties. While not an in­vi­ta­tion to thrash the CX-5, it cer­tainly aids drive qual­ity.

Per­haps the one dis­ap­point­ing thing about the CX-5’s per­for­mance is the lack of real grunt in the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated petrol.

You re­ally feel it if you have to ac­cel­er­ate quickly or if you have a full car up a steep­ish in­cline, and while you can ac­com­mo­date for it, there is a de­gree of an­noy­ance.

Mazda has also man­aged to im­prove fuel us­age, just mar­ginal-

ly, with tweaks to the en­gines.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures for the 2.5-litre have moved from 7.5L/100km to 7.4L/100km.

We registered 8.3L/100km dur­ing our week, which is good con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of shorter trips.

All new CX-5s come with a three­year un­lim­ited-kilo­me­tre war­ranty and capped-price ser­vic­ing.

Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months or 10,000km.

With a drop in price and a lit­tle fine tun­ing, Mazda has en­sured the CX-5 is an even more com­pet­i­tive propo­si­tion.

Al­ready a firm favourite with Aus­tralian buy­ers, the up­dated CX-5 is sure to add to the brand’s bot­tom line and is cer­tainly worth a look if you are in the mar­ket. Your lo­cal Mazda dealer is Al­bany World of Cars 9892 0800.

Qual­i­ty­ma­te­ri­als, fit and fin­ish com­ple­ment a sharply styled in­te­rior.

The en­gines are where the changes can be seen in this CX-5 update.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Motoring

Mazda CX-5 re­tains its wide grill, sleek lines and un­der­stated rear.

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