Big­ger and a bit bet­ter

You don’t have to go diesel to get a CX-5 that moves

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - CHRIS RI­LEY chris.ri­ley@news.com.au

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.

VALUE

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

SAFETY

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

VER­DICT

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.

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