TAKE DRIVING TO THE MAXX
MAZDA SUV COMES OUT ON TOP IN TOUGH MARKET
MAZDA'S CX-5 is the top-selling SUV on Australian roads, but one wonders how much time buyers spend in showrooms before they part with their cash.
They'd probably decided they were going to get a CX-5, but there are many to choose from, with prices starting from $27,190 to almost double that at $50,610.
There are 2.0litre models, more powerful 2.5litres, manual transmission or 'Skyactiv' automatic, 2WD or AWD, petrol or diesel and, would you believe, 18 model grades.
Oddly, the base model is called the Maxx, rather than the Min, but that's marketing.
Our testmobile was the CX-5 GT 2.5-litre petrol AWD, a $43,390 sweetie with more charm and style than a finalist in a Miss World contest.
The attractively-styled SUV has lots of new technology in just about every area.
Our test CX-5 GT featured Mazda's MZD Connect, an advanced connectivity system controlled by a console knob called a 'multifunction command controller' that provides access to the internet, all the social media stuff, Bluetooth hands-free phone operation, Stitcher and Pandora, and the sound comes out of the 231W Bose audio system's nine speakers. Well, that should keep the nerds happy.
Of greater importance in our book is that it comes with a very good wide angle reversing camera.
Drive-wise, the 2.5-litre fourcylinder direct injection engine provides 138kw/250nm, which is more than adequate, and it has a fuel saving stop/start system to cope with Perth's wait-a-very-long-while traffic lights.
Performance is smooth and pretty brisk, especially so if the 'sport' button is pressed and fuel economy is an impressive average of 7.4litres/100km.
The stylish five-seater has compact lines but good leather finished accommodation and a quite generous cargo area, and the suspension has been tweaked for better comfort and grip.
Also, stronger steel, a firmer frame and added insulation give it a quiet cabin.
The front seats have power adjustment and the one for the driver adds lumbar support and heating, and the dash is welldesigned with instruments and controls just where a driver would expect to find them.
While most Mazdas have proper handbrakes, the CX-5 has opted for an electronic one. Well, the Americans like them. The car has LED lights front and rear, and runs on a set of superb machine-faced 19-inch alloys.
Safety features include all the airbags and electronic driver aids du jour and the high-spec GT'S adaptive headlights automatically dip in traffic. It also has a five-star safety rating.
The CX-5 runs beautifully, has good visibility, carves through corners with confidence and is an all-round very decent bit of kit.
Verdict: The CX-5 is in a tough market sector. To come out on top says a lot.
There are good reasons Mazda's CX-5 is a sales topper.