Ve­hi­cle Re­view: Mazda CX-5 2.2L Ak­era AWD Auto

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Tessa Buhrmann.

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.”

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