Bigger and a bit better
You don’t have to go diesel to get a CX-5 that moves
MAZDA has bowed to pressure and added a 2.5-litre petrol engine to its CX-5 crossover line-up. It may use more fuel than the entry-level 2.0, but it will keep the punters happier. While the CX-5 was the company’s first fully Skyactiv model and designed to use as little fuel as possible, its response was felt lacking.
The 2.5 costs $3000 more for a similarly spec’d model. It includes all-wheel-drive— the base car remains front-drive only. The diesel is another $3000 again. That gets you into a 2.5-litre Maxx Sport with AWD and an auto for $36,620. The two-wheel-drive Maxx Sport is $33,620 (you can’t get a 2.5-litre two-wheel-drive version). You can, however, get an entry level Maxx with the 2.5L engine and an auto for $32,880. It’s clever marketing.
The Maxx Sport boasts Bluetooth, push-button start, dual-zone climate air, leather wheel, brake lever and gear shift, auto lights and wipers, fog lights, 17 inch alloys, satellite navigation with speed cameras, tyre pressure monitoring system and six-speaker audio.
The 2.5L engine is a lift from the Mazda6, with 138kW of power and 250Nm of torque. Like the Mazda6 it’s hooked up to a sixspeed auto. But the CX-5 is about 90kg heavier, so it uses 7.4 litres/100km versus the wagon’s 6.6 and is slower of the mark.
The engine also delivers its maximum torque a little later in the rev range, at 4000 revs versus the wagon’s 3250. Auto stop/start is standard.
It’s one of the first cars that we’ve driven that can read out your text messages. But don’t get too excited because it’s the robot voice from Android and is virtually unintelligible.
The CX-5 has been a sales winner on looks alone. Mazda sells all it can get. But it’s a so-called sport utility vehicle that lacks some utility. Next to the plainer and less fun Honda CR-V at Carsguide’s Car of the Year, the Mazda obviously lacked load space and ease of entry.
Gets a full five stars for safety with its six airbags and a reversing camera, along with whiplash minimising front seats, and full array of electronic measures.
The 2.0-litre model copped a bagging from the motoring press (us included) for lacking any real performance, although it didn’t feel nearly as bad the second time around.
The 2.5 responds to that criticism well, with plenty of punch for the average driver. It makes you wonder if Mazda was planning a 2.0-litre version of the Mazda6 and if so whether it was pulled at the last moment, in view of the CX-5 reception?
The car itself continues to impress, with Lexus-like levels of noise, vibration and harshness just like a Lexus. Fit and finish particularly inside is first rate.
The Tomtom-based satnav includes speed camera warnings and shows the speed limit as well as your current speed but finding where to change the settings is not intuitive.
The auto day/night brightness setting didn’t work in our car, which leaves the reversing camera difficult to see unless you remember to switch back to day in the morning.
This one’s a keeper. The CX-5 is difficult to fault and with the larger, more powerful engine will win many new friends, probably at the expense of diesel sales.