Mazda makes a good thing even better, with updates to its in-demand CX-5.
NOT ONE TO REST ON ITS LAURELS, Mazda has updated its highly successful CX-5, in contention for being 2018’s bestselling, non-rental SUV.
Against a tough market that includes 35 individual SUV nameplates, the CX-5 has a 15 percent market share, over Kia’s Sportage, Mitsubishi’s Outlander and RAV4, Tucson and X-trail.
All its impressive attributes carry over into 2018, with a very similar spec sheet to the new CX-8, including the upgraded 2.2-litre diesel engine that gets revisions to the injection system and piston shape, and a two-cylinder cruise mode that’s totally imperceptible… aside from the fuel saving. With a Variable Geometry Turbo and resulting improvements in exhaust, cooling, pumping and friction, this all adds up to a claimed five-percent saving in fuel, which is now officially as low as 5.7l/100km for the diesel. Even the petrol engines aren’t far behind, at 6.9 and 7.4l/100km for the 2.0 and 2.5-litre engines respectively.
On the road, it’s remarkably similar to the CX-8, for obvious reason: but the 100-200kg lighter kerb weight helps fuel economy and performance. In a straight line it’s solidly quick, with 0-100km/h in high8s – not the fastest thing out there, but for its economy offerings, quick enough for an SUV like this. But there’s a fantastic sound from the engine, especially up around 40005000rpm, where it turns in to a warbling Audi five-cylinder, full of character. And in situations where the noise of a diesel would be intrusive enough to turn off, such as a Mcdonald’s drive-through, the engine is quiet, and conveniently deactivates via the istop tech – reactivated by either releasing the brake, or tugging the wheel.
With a Head-up Display on all models, including the base $39,995 GSX, the interior is one of the best on the market: comfortable, well-equipped, with everything from Bluetooth, Lane Assist and Active Cruise. The touch screen works very well, along with the central command dial that falls to hand and works intuitively, even featuring a programmable ‘Favourite’ button.
There’s a fantastic characterful sound from the engine, like a warbling Audi five-cylinder
In fact about the only thing missing from 2018 expectations is Apple Carplay/android Auto, with Mazda suggesting we may see it introduced to its vehicles at the end of the year as an upgradeable accessory for existing systems.
Aside from that, the CX-5 is a perfect example of how to make a great SUV. It’s number one for good reason.
Cross-traffic alert works well, especially when reversing from angle parking, and a vehicle is out of eye sight.
Above: CX-5 interior very similar to CX-8, or is it vice-versa. Either way, both are brilliant. Below: Head-up Display shows speed and, best of all, the speed limit, through speed sign recognition.