Mid sighs Mazda
The CX-5 rides well and the bigger petrol engine is impressive. On paper
CONTRARY to a popular maxim, size matters. Especially if you’re Japanese.
Having deemed the petrol engine of their wildly popular CX-5 incapable of providing satisfaction, Mazda got a bigger one.
In Europe, they’d blow a small engine by means of a turbocharger but Japanese car
makers are averse to forcing induction on all but their go-fast cars.
So, a year after its introduction, the CX-5 gets a heftier donk, one to bridge the gap between the still entry level 2.0-litre petrol model and the formidable but more expensive diesels.
The new unit won’t win you any bragging contests but it adds further substance to an upstanding range.
There have been wars less keenly contested than the compact SUV market. To feed your seemly insatiable appetite for hatchbacks with an elevated driving position, the choice has doubled in the past decade.
Cars formerly synonymous with the segment such as Honda’s CR-V and Toyota’s RAV4 fight to be competitive. Much of the CX-5’s perceived value flows from the vast success of the nation’s No.1 car, the small Mazda3, a phenomenon that it does not come near equalling elsewhere.
The smaller petrol engine remains on entry and secondtier variants, the new one coming in on the CX-5 Maxx 2.5L starting at $32,880. The new petrol range-topping Akera is $45,770.
Standard kit levels rise incrementally through the all- wheel-drive Maxx Sport and Grand Touring to the Akera which cops blind spot monitoring, high beam control, lane departure warning and leather upholstery.
Enhancing the sense that this is a premature midlife upgrade to fight off the RAV4, Bluetooth across all models has been upgraded and now features replay, shuffle and folder switching capabilities. The mail function enables SMS, MMSand email to show up on the quite small touchscreen monitor with messages read out via Bluetooth-connected smartphones. The address book holds up to 1000 contacts that can be called by voice command.
Some new colours too. Well, one actual colour— a different shade of red. The others are black and grey.
What’s the real difference between Japanese and German cars? All right, the former tend to be more reliable. The latter tend to be more desirable.
The substantive difference is turbocharging. All modern diesels are turbocharged but as to petrol cars— those the great majority of us drive— the Germans turbocharge everything, extracting amazing efficiency and performance from small engines.
Last year, for the first time, the majority of cars on sale came with some form of forced induction.
Some Volkswagens use turbo as well as supercharging.
But not Mazda. The 2.5 fourcylinder engine shared with the Mazda6 is for now the most potent of the so-called Skyactiv petrol range.
Though not nearly so impressive as the 2.2-litre turbo diesel with its mountain of torque, the free-breathing petrol engine puts out an efficient 138kW/250Nm.
Despite best-in-class fuel economy, this output, as we’ll see, seems more impressive than it is. It can, however, run on basic unleaded.
So flowery is the language to which Mazda resorts in describing its wares, you often wonder if you haven’t stumbled into a haiku contest
Basking in sibling’s glory: Much of the CX-5’s perceived value flows from the nation’s No.1 car, the Mazda3