Golf Vacations (Malaysia) - - Collection - BY DARYL LOY

Mazda is one of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try’s last main­stream car­mak­ers that en­gi­neers cars with its eyes. Its de­sign team led by Ikuo Maeda has pro­duced a wealth of stun­ning de­signs in re­cent years. But while the spot­light is of­ten fix­ated on con­cepts like the Rx-vi­sion and the Vi­sion Coupe, the CX-5 stands out as one of the most el­e­gant yet visu­ally provoca­tive cars to wear Mazda’s winged em­blem. Not bad for a pro­duc­tion SUV as­sem­bled in Kulim.

In Malaysia, the CX-5’S lead­ing en­gine is a diesel, which isn’t as glam­orous as the way it looks. Diesel en­gines aren’t the first things to come to mind in terms of driv­ing re­fine­ment, but Mazda’s low-com­pres­sion unit is an im­pres­sively re­fined en­gine ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing 420Nm from just 2,000rpm.

The torque-rich en­gine gives the CX-5 a pair of quick feet to match its aero­dy­namic ex­te­rior. And from be­hind the wheel, it’s also clear the en­gi­neers have stayed true to Mazda’s driver-pri­ori­tis­ing Jinba It­tai phi­los­o­phy, with the sporty steer­ing, smooth-shift­ing six-speed auto and G-vec­tor­ing Con­trol (GVC) sys­tem work­ing in tan­dem for a thor­oughly re­ward­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

An ea­ger and ef­fort­less pow­er­train strapped into an SUV frame that’s re­ally more sports sedan at heart makes for one of the more en­ter­tain­ing cars to drive in the soc­cer mom cat­a­logue. The CX-5 has the edge over the CR-V and other seg­ment ri­vals here with­out a doubt. But there is some trade-off in ride com­fort, no thanks to its lovely 19-inch footwear. The cabin’s a lit­tle cosier too. At least you don’t feel short-changed by a car that should have come with seven seats in­stead of five.

Tech-wise, the i-ac­tivsense safety suite con­sist­ing of Blind Spot Mon­i­tor­ing, Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert, Smart City Brake Sup­port, Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing, Lane Keep As­sist, Driver At­ten­tion Alert and Adap­tive LED head­lights makes the real dif­fer­ence be­tween the new CX-5 and the old. We’re talk­ing about semi-au­ton­o­mous fea­tures at the level of Mercedes-benz and Volvo, which is quite a big deal for a sub-rm200k car.

The grace with which Mazda has in­cor­po­rated these fea­tures into an SUV as visu­ally ap­peal­ing and dy­nam­i­cally gifted as the CX-5 helps it stand out in a cut­throat seg­ment with many cred­i­ble con­tenders. Lo­cal distrib­u­tor Ber­maz knows this, and is try­ing to di­vert more traf­fic its way with a three-year free main­te­nance pack­age to com­ple­ment the CX-5’S five-year fac­tory war­ranty. It’s cer­tainly an­other thing to con­sider be­fore pen­ning the dot­ted line for the SUV of your choice, tur­bod­iesel or not. This sleek Mazda will tempt you ei­ther way.

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