Mazda’s mid-size SUV nails the magic formula
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.