Mazda’s mid-size SUV nails the magic for­mula

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - IAIN CURRY

Aus­tralians buy more Mazda CX-5s than any other SUV. The brand nails the magic for­mula for the genre, blend­ing style, space, pres­tige, prac­ti­cal­ity, driver re­ward and value for the modern buyer. For years, Mazda’s mid-size five-seater has topped its seg­ment sales chart, so there are hun­dreds up for grabs on the used mar­ket. Given this pop­u­lar­ity, they hold their value well so don’t ex­pect to find many bar­gains among preloved first-gen­er­a­tion CX-5s.

They com­bine SUV ride height with al­most car-like han­dling, solid Mazda re­li­a­bil­ity, semipremium fin­ish in a well-screwed to­gether cabin, use­ful fam­ily space and am­ple choice of vari­ants.

Com­ing after the thirsty CX-7, the CX-5 brought the maker’s fuel-ef­fi­cient Sky­ac­tiv tech. Petrol en­gines are for the town driver and there’s a diesel bet­ter suited to those trav­el­ling long dis­tances or mak­ing use of the 1800kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity. You can pick front or all-wheel drive and the ma­jor­ity are au­tos.

There are well-re­ported prob­lems with early diesel ver­sions used only for short jour­neys. Road noise is far from class-lead­ing, the boot’s not the big­gest and Mazda’s pre-2018 three­year war­ranty and short 10,000km ser­vice in­ter­vals lagged key ri­vals.

At launch in Fe­bru­ary 2012, the grades were en­try-level Maxx, mid-range Maxx Sport and flag­ship Grand Tour­ing.

The Maxx used an un­der­whelm­ing 113kW petrol engine and could be op­tioned with man­ual or auto and in front- or all-wheel drive. In­cluded was a 5.8-inch screen, Blue­tooth with au­dio stream­ing, cruise con­trol, USB, power mir­rors, key­less start, hill start as­sist and re­verse cam­era. You were lum­bered with 17inch steel wheels.

The Maxx Sport could be had with 2.2-litre turbo diesel with twice the torque of the petrol al­ter­na­tive, giv­ing more ag­ile per­for­mance. Diesel ex­am­ples were AWD only and all Maxx Sports were au­tos.

Ad­di­tional equip­ment in­cluded 17-inch al­loys, auto lights and wipers, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, leather steer­ing wheel and shift knob, fog lamps, sat­nav and 40-20-40 split-fold­ing rear seats.

With AWD and auto only, the Grand Tour­ing added adap­tive xenon lights, day­time run­ning lights, power sun­roof, leather heated seats (power for driver), key­less en­try, park­ing sen­sors, Bose au­dio and 19-inch al­loys, which harmed ride com­fort some­what.

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