Vehicle Review: Mazda CX-5 2.2L Akera AWD Auto
With kerb appeal to satisfy even the most sophisticated of motorists, one wouldn’t be surprised if this SUV’s ‘off-road’ abilities were somewhat limited. When Mazda gave Tourism Tattler an opportunity to review the CX-5 2.2L DE Akera AWD Auto – the flagship vehicle in the CX-5 range, we jumped at it and I headed off for Amakhosi Safari Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal.
My thoughts were ‘a gravel road or two, some good sandy cornering and a few pics in the bush’… but clearly my hubby and Amakhosi’s GM had other thoughts – ‘we need to put the Mazda through its paces’ I was told. And that we certainly did!
At this point, we had already established that this really good looking SUV (that had somewhat stolen my heart) was perfect on the open road. And that the 2.2L DE Auto with SKYACTIV technology would comfortably rise to the occasion when acceleration was required, thanks to the two-stage turbocharger that maximises power and efficiency. We had appreciated its luxury interior featuring leather trim, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and of course cruise control as well as the MZD-connect display system (smart-phone friendly and with navigation system), reversing camera and awesome 9-speaker Bose sound system.
The Mazda CX-5 was the first vehicle to introduce the KODO-Soul of Motion design into the South African market back in 2012 and has been a popular choice with SUV buyers – and in 2015 an updated version with advanced technology, improved functionality and refined interior and exterior design was released. The cosmetic updates on the Mazda CX-5 2.2L DE Akera AWD Auto, like the bold new front grille, newgeneration LED headlamps and gunmetal 19-inch alloy wheels certainly give the CX-5 a heightened appeal.
In addition to its built-in SRS airbags, safety features include Lane Keep Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist. With Mazda having taken care of the vehicle’s safety, it was up to the guys to check the spare wheel, organise the recovery vehicle (which had me a little nervous) and plan the route.
We were exceptionally privileged to take the Mazda CX-5 Akera onto roads normally reserved for game viewing vehicles – the robust kind that is seriously equipped with off-roading (and river-crossing) abilities! The words ‘we’re going to cross the Mkuze River…’ had me wondering how I would ever explain to Mazda Southern Africa that I had ‘drowned’ their brand new vehicle!
I needn’t have worried. The Akera handled the terrain exceptionally well considering its eye-catching rims and relatively low ride height. From river crossing to hill climb, through ditches and over rocks (albeit small ones…), driven with care and some off-road experience this soft-roader will for most people’s applications meet their requirements splendidly.
So what did the guys think?
The hubby: “The automatic gearbox is really nice, with the ability to slow right down, crawl up hills and have great control negotiating uneven road surfaces – you don’t need a low ratio gearbox as it deals with the challenging terrain really well. Really impressed with the vehicle…”
The Amakhosi’s GM: “The suspension is really comfortable and it dealt with the terrain really well… very impressed, I must say!”
And my impressions: ‘Generally I’m not that big into SUV’s, but this one was definitely a keeper! So I’m looking forward to the opportunity of driving the slightly smaller Mazda CX-3, so watch this space.”