So robust is the competition in the SUV market that even cars that would be technically considered quite new are having adjustments to prolong their appeal. The Mazda CX-5 is a case in point with the all-new model released in 2017 now getting a pair of new engines to keep it fresh.
The changes are minimal of course, this is one of the brand’s best sellers after all, but those tweaks combined with a slight drop in price is likely to make converts of those “I’m gonna” buyers.
The CX-5 is considered one of the better looking SUVs in this class with its wide grill, sleek lines and understated rear. Nothing has changed, either inside or out, in this latest iteration and to be fair, it didn’t really need to.
Good quality materials and reasonable fit and finish complement a sharply-styled interior. The cabin is quietly comfortable with good storage options and a useful layout. The high centre console means that some of the infotainment buttons are not intuitively close to hand but by and large this is a driver-centric cockpit with all the ease of use that that brings.
The cloth seats in our Maxx Sport test car were rather comfortable, supportive without being too firm and with enough width to accommodate wider shoulders. Space in the rear is not as generous as some rivals in this class but two kids won’t have much to complain about.
The boot, too, is a touch on the smallish side. Still able to hold a decent grocery shop and a couple of bags but you are certainly are not going to lose anything in there.
A good list of standard inclusions is what we have come to expect from Mazda, and this CX-5 doesn’t let anyone down with even the bottom-of-the-range Maxx Sport still featuring comforts such as sat nav, reverse camera, leather-wrapped steering, 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and a well-rounded safety package.
The CX-5’s 7.0-inch tablet-like touchscreen sits delicately poised at the top of the dash. While I tend to prefer integrated systems, this one feels premium rather than ad hoc with excellent graphics and good functionality too.
Bluetooth connectivity is simple to establish, there is digital radio and sat-nav and an easy to use console-mounted rotary dial control. Still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto though which is a shame.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The engines are where the changes can be seen in this CX-5 update. They are only small though so don’t expect any great revelations.
The CX-5 range features two petrol engines, a 2.0-litre front-wheel-drive four-cylinder unit which has gained 1kW of power for a total of 114kW (200Nm) and the 2.5-litre all-wheel-drive four-cylinder that powered our car which has an additional 1Nm of torque (252Nm) and 140kW.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine has a cylinder deactivation feature which allows it to run just two cylinders at low speeds improving fuel economy.
The 2.2-litre all-wheel-drive diesel engine has been overhauled with power increasing from 129kW to 140kW and torque from 420Nm to 450Nm.
The CX-5 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating and features six airbags, blind-spot alert, reverse camera, rear cross traffic alert and low-speed automatic emergency breaking. Higher grades get even more goodies but things like adaptive cruise control, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights and lane departure warnings can be optioned on the Maxx Sport.
There are IsoFix fastenings in the outer two rear seats and top tethers for all three if you need them.
The CX-5 is a nicely balanced, beautifully behaved SUV, composed in the corners and precise in execution. Ride quality is supported by a well-tuned suspension, grip is good and it is rather easy to drive.
G-Vectoring reduces torque across the front wheels when you turn shifting the weight over the axle and restores it as you accelerate out of the corner. This increases stability and reduces the number of steering adjustments that need to be made around the twisties. While not an invitation to thrash the CX-5, it certainly aids drive quality.
Perhaps the one disappointing thing about the CX-5’s performance is the lack of real grunt in the naturally-aspirated petrol. You really feel it if you have to accelerate quickly or if you have a full car up a steepish incline and while you can accommodate for it, there is a degree of annoyance.
Mazda has also managed to improve fuel usage, just marginally mind, with tweaks to the engines. Official figures for the 2.5-litre have moved from 7.5L/100km to 7.4L/100km. We registered 8.3L/100km during our week which is good considering the number of shorter trips.
All new CX-5s come with a three year unlimited kilometre warranty and capped-price servicing. Service intervals are 12 months or 10,000km.
With a drop in price and a little fine tuning, Mazda has ensured the CX-5 is an even more competitive proposition. Already a firm favourite with Australian buyers, the updated CX-5 is sure to add to the brand’s bottom line and is certainly worth a look if you are in the market.
Mazda CX-5 pricing and specifications:
Price: from $33,290 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Output: 140kW and 252Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto, AWD
Fuel: 7.4L/100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Three years unlimited kilometres
Safety Rating: Five Star ANCAP
What we liked:
What we didn’t:
Engine could have more oomph
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Short warranty compared to rivals