From pollies to TV celebs to eating-out spots, popularity polls are, well, as popular as ever. The same could be said for automobiles, with cars of the year of all hues coming out of the woodwork at this time. Mazda’s CX-5 SUV is sitting high in the sales race.
Launched in 2012 as Mazda’s first new-generation model featuring Kodo design – the Soul of Motion – and Skyactiv Technology, the Next-Gen CX-5, the second generation, Mazda says, refines every aspect of the company’s current technology and design.
Australia’s most popular SUV for the past four years, there is no let-up in Mazda’s bid to retain that position. It cannot hurt that the Next-Gen CX-5 recently scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating, while also offering a range of refined i-Activsense safety technologies.
Twelve variants, priced from $28,690, plus on-road costs, are available in a choice of front or all-wheel drive, powered by a petrol or diesel engine mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
On test was a Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport six-speed automatic all-wheel drive selling for $37,390, plus on-road costs, with carpet floor mats adding $180 to the total.
Mazda’s Kodo (Soul of Motion) is based on the design philosophy to do away with unnecessary clutter on the outside, while retaining a bold street presence. This has been achieved by lowering the centre of gravity, widening front and rear track and pushing the 17-inch alloy wheels closer to the corners of the vehicle.
The A-pillars have been shifted 35mm back compared to the previous model to widen the driver’s field of vision. The front has thinner, lower-positioned headlights, guards that emphasise the breadth and slim bezels of LED foglamps.
The centre console is higher than in the previous model putting the gearshift knob 60 mm (automatic) or 40 mm (manual) closer at hand, while centre and door armrests are set almost to the same height providing the driver and front passenger with a balanced seating position.
Extra-damping foam is used on the seat cushions, giving greater ride comfort.
The hip-point of the rear seats is lowered 10 mm over the current model, enhancing comfort on long trips, while foam used on the seat cushions is designed to provide the optimum amount of sag even under a light load.
A 7.0-inch full colour touch screen display is the window to Mazda’s MZD Connect system. Theres an audio system with AM / FM tuner, DAB+ digital radio and six speakers. Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio, plus internet radio giving access to Pandora, Stitcher and Aha.
The new CX-5 is the first Mazda to adopt a screen that uses optical bonding to join the LCD and touch panel, cutting down reflection in bright sunlight.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Under the bonnet of the test vehicle was a 2.5 litre in-line four-cylinder petrol engine putting out maximum power of 140 kW at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 251 Nm at a rather high 4000 revs.
Mated with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, combined urban / highway fuel consumption is listed at 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres. On test, figures of 11.5 in town and 5.7 on highway driving were recorded.
Recently scoring a five-star ANCAP safety rating, the Mazda CX-5 offers an array of safety technologies as standard across the range. These include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and smart city brake support in forward and reverse driving.
Airbags abound around the cabin like scatter cushions – front (driver and passenger), side (front) and curtain (front and rear). Active safety steps up with anti-lock braking, dynamic stability control, emergency brake assist, emergency stop signal, hill-start assist, traction control and reversing camera.
As someone once said: ’Simplicity is the keynote of good design.’ And Mazda CX-5 pays homage to that with a welcoming cabin that puts the driver at ease with a layout of instruments and controls that is intuitive and at once manageable. The feeling stayed with me throughout my time with the SUV.
There’s something calming about driving the CX-5. Traffic turmoil? Feeling on edge? Flick the shrink, get a CX-5. Feeling the need for a little on-road spice? Flip a switch on the centre console to ‘Sport’. Why bother, a sportscar this ain’t.
Sharing the console is the MZD Connect knob. A fan of this mode of control, it falls to the left hand easily, turning to flick through the clearly set-out menu on the dash-mounted screen. A separate button calls up the sat nav.
An auto electric handbrake automatically locks on the brakes on coming to a halt – no need to use the electric park brake. The brakes release once the driver returns to the accelerator.
As for storage, take a tablet, the glovebox does. We are told with a capacity of 442 litres (up from 403 litres), the cargo area can accommodate three large suitcases or four golf bags. More importantly, it takes a trolley load of supermarket stuff, or a family’s get-away gear.
The box beneath the centre armrest now has larger capacity and is fitted with a power outlet, USB ports, and a moveable tray. The capacity of the front and rear door pockets is also increased. A storage space with USB ports under the lid of the rear seat centre armrest has been added.
What defines popularity in vehicles, I suppose, is the ability to meet the buyer’s needs without he or she being sentenced to a stretch in debtors’ prison for the pleasure. The new Mazda CX-5 would seem to have this ability in spades.
AT A GLANCE
Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0L petrol manual FWD $28,690
Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0L petrol automatic FWD $30,690
Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.5L petrol auto AWD $33,690
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.0L petrol auto FWD $34,390
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5L petrol auto AWD $37,390
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.2L diesel auto AWD $40,390
Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5L petrol auto AWD $38,990
Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.2L diesel auto AWD $41,990
Mazda CX-5 GT 2.5L petrol auto AWD $44,390
Mazda CX-5 GT 2.2L diesel auto AWD $47,390
Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.5L petrol auto AWD $46,990
Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.2L diesel auto AWD $49,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5L petrol auto AWD SUV)
Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 251 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.5 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: Euro V
DRIVELINE: Six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4550 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1840 mm
Height: 1675 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1633 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres