A firmer favourite
THE next generation of Mazda’s top selling CX-5 SUV is unveiled on the Cairns waterfront next weekend, reports and
It’s a symbol of how family motoring has changed in Australia and a target for competitors in the mid-sized SUV wrestling match.
The country’s favourite SUV is packing, among other things, a bigger boot and upgraded safety.
There is a slight $800 price rise at the bottom end but Mazda Australia says it has increased value from the basic manual Maxx at $28,690 to the fully loaded Akera diesel auto at $49,990. There is also a new model, the Touring, to close the previous $7600 gap between the Maxx Sport and Akera.
At first glance, the CX-5 looks almost identical to the first generation but a closer look shows a bolder nose, more definition to the flanks and a dashboard that’s cleaner and easier to use.
It’s slightly longer and wider with a little more usable space inside and a lower rear-seat position, as well as a 40-20-40 split rear seat back.
The technology matches the class standard, with a seveninch infotainment display. It’s good to see a USB port in the back and rear-seat vents on all but the basic car.
Most materials appear to have been upgraded as Mazda tries to stretch the car into territory occupied by European luxury candidates including the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, even though its obvious opponent is the Volkswagen Tiguan, last year’s Carsguide Car of the Year.
“The goal was to make the next-generation CX-5 one class above,” says Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak.
“We wanted to evolve the areas where people thought we had done well and improve in areas where we needed some attention.”
Three engine options remain — 2.0 and 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre turbo diesel — with front and all-wheel drive. The individual model count goes up to 12 choices, all below $50,000.
The CX-5 is yet to be crash tested but Mazda is confident it will continue with five stars and it says the “real world” fuel economy is improved by more than 4 per cent.
Its popularity is reflected in its 115,000 sales in Australia to date and the objective is to continue deliveries at about 2000 a month — this should be easy at first as more than 13,000 people have registered interest in the newcomer.
The Maxx Sport will be most popular with about one-third of sales. Surprisingly, the basic Maxx is predicted to be the least popular. One word sums up the new CX-5: refined. It’s slightly more refined in the way it looks, noticeably more refined in the cabin and much more refined in the way it drives.
Prices start in the high$20,000 bracket but as a competitor for similar-sized European SUVs the model could easily justify a price tag $20,000 higher.
The majority of my time is spent in the most popular variant, the Maxx Sport 2.5 auto — and it’s a very good thing. The engine is definitely more responsive than the base 2.0 and the gearbox is smooth.
It’s noticeably quieter, thanks to a thicker windscreen and extra sound deadening — far quieter than the previous CX-5 and more like the larger CX-9. That’s a familiar theme — Mazda’s improvements from the bigger model carry over to the mid-sizer.
Among the details, interiors look and feel more classy, the rear seat back can recline slightly and the boot is considerably bigger — up by 39L.
Safety basics are right — auto emergency braking, blindspot monitoring, reversing camera and rear cross-traffic alert. Available tech includes speed-sign recognition, higherspeed auto braking, radar cruise control, front and rear parking radar, and driver attention alert.