Fam­ily favourite

Flex­i­bil­ity the key to suc­cess for Mazda’’s pop­u­lar SUV

Herald Sun - Motoring - - THE TICK -

OF all the cars in all the SUV cat­e­gories in Aus­tralia to­day, we rec­om­mend the Mazda CX-5 the most.

The sales num­bers back us up, as it’s still the coun­try’s favourite SUV de­spite the re­cent ar­rival of the smaller CX-3 that is more suit­able for younger buy­ers and nib­bling at the edges of the CX-5’s ap­peal, erod­ing some of its monthly sales re­sults.

What makes the CX-5 so good is that it is de­signed as a mod­ern fam­ily car, with smart pric­ing from $27,190 and a backup plan that lever­ages Mazda’s qual­ity rep­u­ta­tion in Aus­tralia with capped-price ser­vic­ing and a three-year war­ranty. It also gets every­thing from a stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era to a choice of three en­gines and either fron­tor all-wheel drive.

The CX-5 was given a mi­nor facelift and tweak at the start of the year, just to keep it fresh and com­bat more re­cent op­po­nents in­clud­ing the all-new Hyundai Tuc­son.

It’s the ar­rival of the Tuc­son that drives a CX-5 back into The Tick as­sess­ment, to check that the Mazda has not been over­run or over­done by the im­pres­sive Hyundai or other long-term ri­vals in­clud­ing the Ford Kuga, Subaru Forester, Nis­san X-Trail or even the com­pletely re­vised BMW X1 that’s now big­ger and more suit­able for proper SUV fam­ily work than the orig­i­nal with the same name.

The bot­tom line is sim­ple: the CX-5 still rules.

Lined up head-to-head with the Hyundai it only loses on two fronts, sus­pen­sion tun­ing and in­te­rior space. I can feel the dif­fer­ence that lo­cal sus­pen­sion tun­ing makes to the Tuc­son at any time on any sur­face, while the South Korean cabin looks and feels a bit more roomy than the Mazda.

Mazda could learn some im­por­tant lessons if it matched the lo­cal tun­ing work by

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