All-new Mazda CX-5 ticks plenty of boxes

Sec­ond-gen crossover is big on re­fine­ment and fea­tures

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - WILLEM VAN DE PUTTE

MAZDA’S pop­u­lar CX-5 has un­der­gone more than just a cos­metic change and the en­hance­ments and im­prove­ments to this sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion model make it look not just bet­ter but sleeker and sportier too.

First in­tro­duced to South Africa in 2012 it has over the years be­come their best-sell­ing model and with the changes I’m sure will con­tinue to do so.

The strik­ing new ex­te­rior has been tweaked for an up­dated mod­ern look, with the grille more an­gu­lar mak­ing it look a lot more stand-out and ag­gres­sive, and the rear lights round off a crossover SUV that is one of the more at­trac­tive ones in this heav­ily con­tested seg­ment.

They have also put in LED head and front fog lamps, auto head­lamp lev­el­ling, rear ven­ti­la­tion, a rear USB port in the cen­tre arm­rest, the driver seat in our top Ak­era model is eight-way power ad­justable, auto fold mir­rors, head-up dis­play and a pow­er­lift tail gate.

In­side it’s re­fined as well, with soft touch ma­te­ri­als, alu­minium, and ve­neered pan­els placed strate­gi­cally. The in­fo­tain­ment screen has a high res­o­lu­tion but some­how it would al­ways de­fault to the se­lect-a-mode screen ev­ery time the car was started again. Per­haps there is a way to change that, but I couldn’t find it.

It comes with three en­gine op­tions; the 2.0 litre and 2.5 litre nor­mally-as­pi­rated petrols and the sky­ac­tiv-D 2.2 litre turbo diesel en­gine fitted into the Ak­era AWD au­to­matic that we tested.

They have done a bril­liant sound damp­en­ing job be­cause once in­side the cabin there is barely any en­gine and wind noise and only a slight rum­ble on roughly tarred bits of road and high­way.

There’s not too much turbo lag with a very smooth pull off. Ac­cel­er­a­tion isn’t go­ing to pull the skin off your face but it’s cer­tainly one of the bet­ter diesel en­gines out there and 129kW and 420Nm of torque is more than enough to keep you go­ing com­fort­ably fully loaded with fam­ily and hol­i­day gear.

Be­ing a diesel, I ex­pected slightly bet­ter fuel con­sump­tion than the 8.5 litres per 100km over mixed driv­ing though.

I found the steer­ing very re­spon­sive as was the sus­pen­sion over some of the worst roads in my trip to North West.

I’d only heard about the G-vec­tor­ing con­trol sys­tem and hav­ing tested it first hand found it an in­ter­est­ing con­cept that ac­tu­ally works. Ba­si­cally it de­tects steer­ing in­puts and slightly re­stricts torque out­put to shift the car’s weight for­ward, adding more load to the front to give sharper cor­ner­ing pre­ci­sion. The CX-5 is only a 2.2 diesel though, but you get the con­cept.

The CX-5 Ak­era is all-wheel drive which doesn’t mean you get to breeze over hec­tic 4x4 tracks but it does al­low you to get to places that would other­wise be im­pos­si­ble to see.

Rear seat­ing space is am­ple and com­fort­able enough over long dis­tances and in what seems to be the norm in this seg­ment, a lot of tech­nol­ogy is thrown in as stan­dard.

The list is long and cov­ers al­most ev­ery pos­si­ble aid that keeps you safe and on the road and also in case you go off it; front and rear park­ing sen­sors, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, lane keep­ing as­sist, smart city brake sup­port, adap­tive LED head­lights, driver at­ten­tion alert, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, a bril­liant 10-speaker BOSE sound sys­tem, a pow­er­lift tail gate and much more are all in­cluded in the price at R557 500.

The Mazda CX-5 has a three-year/un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre ser­vice plan, a three-year factory/un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty, three-year road­side as­sis­tance and a five year cor­ro­sion war­ranty.

Im­pos­ing front-end styled in line with the rest of the Mazda fam­ily. LED lights are stan­dard on the flag­ship Ak­era model.

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