Five’s easy pieces

The Advertiser - Motoring - - USED CAR -


Sales of Mazda’s hero hatches and sedans were, in the par­lance of its ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, zoom­ing five years ago. Its SUVs, how­ever, were no match for the boom­ing sales of ri­vals.

The large CX-7 and even larger CX-9 weren’t find­ing favour with SUV buy­ers, so in 2012 Mazda re­placed the for­mer with the CX-5 mid-sizer.

A reg­u­la­tion five-door wagon, it had the choice of front and all-wheel drive, petrol and diesel en­gines, and man­ual and auto trans­mis­sions.

De­spite be­ing shorter and nar­rower than the CX-7, the suc­ces­sor had more hip and legroom and a big­ger boot.

The cabin was spa­cious, the seats were com­fort­able and sup­port­ive, there were lots of stor­age op­tions and the split­fold rear seat made it flex­i­ble for car­ry­ing loads or lug­gage.

Hav­ing copped flak for the thirst of the CX-7, Mazda went all out to de­liver fuel econ­omy with the CX-5. Its en­gine op­tions were a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2litre twin-turbo diesel.

The 2.0-litre de­liv­ered — its con­struc­tion was light, com­pres­sion was high and fric­tion was low on the in­ter­nal mov­ing parts. Mazda’s iS­top func­tion shut it off when stopped at lights. Per­for­mance wasn’t flash, which Mazda ad­dressed by adding a 2.5-litre four to the op­tions early in 2013.

With much more power and torque, the 2.5 got along much bet­ter if a lit­tle thirstier.

The best com­pro­mise was the 2.2-litre diesel, with de­cent power and loads of torque for easy and flex­i­ble driv­ing, though ex­pe­ri­ence showed it wasn’t well suited to short trips.

By far the ma­jor­ity of cars used a six-speed sports au­to­matic. The sole fit­ment of a man­ual gear­box was with the petrol front-wheel drive Maxx.

With the Maxx or Maxx Sport 2.0 petrol ver­sions, the op­tions were front or all-wheel drive. With the 2.5 or diesel, or Grand Tour­ing or Ak­era, all­wheel drive ap­plied.

In keep­ing with the “zoom­zoom” theme, the CX-5’s ride was on the firm side, though com­fort­able enough not to be both­er­some. The han­dling was ac­cu­rate and bal­anced and it steered and stopped with as­sur­ance.


CX-5 own­ers we sur­veyed reckon they are happy with their cars, none re­port­ing re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues. From other re­ports, the diesel en­gine has had some is­sues.

Some own­ers ob­served that the oil level seemed to in­crease when they did an oil check. The oil wasn’t ac­tu­ally in­creas­ing; it was be­ing di­luted with diesel fuel and if it wasn’t ad­dressed it could lead to rapid en­gine wear or, in ex­treme cases, fail­ure.

In cars do­ing short trips, the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter didn’t go through the self-clean­ing process — a small amount of diesel fuel is in­jected on the ex­haust stroke to get the fil­ter up to a tem­per­a­ture suf­fi­cient to start the burn-off process. Some of this ex­tra fuel found its way into the sump, hence the ap­par­ent in­crease on oil level.

Mazda first rec­om­mended own­ers check the oil level once a month and if they no­ticed the oil level in­creas­ing to take their car to a dealer to have it at­tended to. The fix was new soft­ware that mod­i­fied the op­er­a­tion of the fil­ter. A new oil dip­stick was also re­leased with the “Full” mark higher on the stick.

Cars do­ing longer dis­tances and run­ning at higher speeds are not af­fected by the prob­lem. A fix for any­one con­cerned about their car is to do a reg­u­lar run down the free­way.

Make sure the car you are buy­ing has been well ser­viced and if it is a diesel ask the owner about how it has been used, and if they have had any is­sues with the oil level.


Natalie Crouch Our 2013 Maxx is eco­nom­i­cal and easy to drive. It’s great for car­ry­ing dogs, gro­ceries and the fam­ily. We love it. Belinda Allen My 2014 Maxx is quiet, smooth, com­fort­able, eco­nom­i­cal and easy to drive and park. I’ve had no trou­ble. Bob Stam­mers Per­for­mance from my 2014 Maxx Sport diesel is ex­cel­lent. It has plenty of torque when needed and the econ­omy is great. I’d have no prob­lem buy­ing another one. Kay Richards My 2014 Maxx is great — it’s eco­nom­i­cal, quiet, and zippy. I’ve had no prob­lems.


A good SUV choice but be aware of diesel en­gine prob­lems if you’re only driv­ing short dis­tances.

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