Mazda CX-5 - not rest­ing on its lau­rels

Myrtleford Times - - Motor Guide - By EWAN KENNEDY

NEVER a com­pany to fol­low main­stream think­ing, Mazda has just in­tro­duced a se­ries of fas­ci­nat­ing en­gi­neer­ing changes to Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar SUV, the Mazda CX-5. Aus­tralia is highly re­garded by Mazda so the pro­gram man­ager for the CX-5, Hideki Mat­suoka, flew to Aus­tralia to in­tro­duce the up­graded model to us. He ex­plained that per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency have been sig­nif­i­cantly up­rated across all en­gine grades.

We have car­ried out an ex­ten­sive drive pro­gram out of Can­berra to ex­am­ine two of these sig­nif­i­cantly up­rated en­gines, the 2.2 diesel and 2.5 petrol. SKY­AC­TIV-D 2.2-LITRE DIESEL: En­gine now has a two-stage twin­tur­bocharger with vari­able tur­bine ge­om­e­try to in­crease max­i­mum power out­put from 129kW to 140kW and max­i­mum torque from 420Nm to 450Nm.

We found the en­gine to have more turbo lag than we like, but to have a huge amount of grunt once the frus­trat­ing early stage had passed. Plan ahead cor­rectly and you can safely over­take with plenty of road to spare. Thanks also go to the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion as it is quick to sense the driver wants ac­tion and changes down a gear or two.

Hill­climb­ing is ridicu­lously easy thanks to that huge torque.

There’s typ­i­cal diesel en­gine noise at idle but it’s barely heard out­side the CX-5 and once you’re cruis­ing it’s all but silent. SKY­AC­TIV-G 2.5-LITRE PETROL: This big four-cylinder petrol en­gine now has cylinder deactivation to make it ef­fec­tively a two-cylinder unit un­der gen­tle cruis­ing. Mazda has mea­sured con­sump­tion when at a con­stant 40 km/h to be low­ered by about 20 per cent. And by five per cent at a con­stant 80km/h.

Mazda has al­ways been scrupu­lously hon­est with us in the past and we see no rea­son to doubt these num­bers.

Over­all fuel con­sump­tion on our high­way run­ning on the Can­berra trip sat in the seven to eight litres per hun­dred kilo­me­tres range, pleas­ingly low for an SUV in this class. There was no sense of when the CX-5 was run­ning on four cylin­ders or two.

Cruis­ing in our topline CX-5 Ak­era was quiet and lux­u­ri­ous. As part of the up­grade the Ak­era now has a 360 de­gree view mon­i­tor that can be used in park­ing, even in tight driv­ing con­di­tions at low speeds.

We call this the ‘he­li­copter’ sys­tem as you re­ally do have the feel­ing a drone is hov­er­ing over the Mazda and send­ing down video of your car and its im­me­di­ate sur­rounds.

As be­fore, there are 12 models of the Mazda CX-5 range: three Maxx, three Maxx Sport, and two each of the Tour­ing, GT and Ak­era grades. THE FU­TURE Mazda is putting a huge amount of re­search into its next-gen­er­a­tion en­gine, called Sky­Ac­tiv-X that will be launched in 2019. Sky­Ac­tiv-X will be the world’s first com­mer­cial petrol en­gine to use com­pres­sion ig­ni­tion.

LOOKS GOOD: Styling of the Mazda CX-5 is a ma­jor fac­tor in its sales suc­cess, but there’s plenty of ex­cel­lent en­gi­neer­ing un­der those clean lines.

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