Mazda, who presented us in 2012 with a CX-5 package that was to become Australia’s most popular sports utility vehicle, has no intention of letting the top spot go, recently upgrading the mid-size wagon.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine has been given a power and torque boost while the 2.5-litre petrol unit has adopted cylinder deactivation to reduce fuel consumption at steady speeds.
Other updates to the petrol engine range have accounted for a 1 Nm increase in torque for the 2.5-litre variant, and a 1 kW increase in power for the 2-litre unit.
The CX-5 comes with a choice of SkyActiv powerplants: 2.0L or 2.5L petrol engines, or 2.2L turbo-diesel engine. Each is mated to either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive through a manual or automatic transmission.
Last but certainly not least, there have been price drops across the range, Maxx Sport and Touring variants selling for $400 less than the previous model, while GT and Akera enjoy an $800 price cut.
There are 12 varieties of CX-5 on offer including 3 Maxx, 3 Maxx Sport, 2 Touring, 2 GT and 2 Akera grades.
On test was a CX-5 GT petrol AWD automatic, which sells for $43,590, plus on road costs.
There’s a sameness about small-to-medium sports utility vehicles these days; a case of cookie-cutter cars. Mazda insists, however, that in most models it follows its philosophy of ‘Kodo – soul of motion’ design and the CX-5 is no exception.
The development team, it says, focused on a Japanese aesthetic in which ‘mature physique’ and ‘elegant form’ are the keywords. No mention of aerodynamics and fuel economy.
Still, everything appears in proportion, including 19-inch alloy wheels, making the CX-5 pleasing to the eye.
A taller, wider centre console isn’t all that obvious visually, but it does work nicely. A two-step reclining mechanism allows the rear seatback to be leaned back to 28 degrees, adding an extra level of comfort. Leather upholstery looks good and feels pleasant.
Rear seatbacks have a 40:20:60 split. With a capacity of 442 litres the cargo area can take three large suitcases or four golf bags.
The CX-5 GT features a power tailgate, the height to which it opens can be set using a button on the key fob.
A Multi-Information Display, to the right of the large instrument cluster, adopts a 4.6-inch colour TFT LCD, with related information grouped for quick and easy recognition.
The Mazda CX-5 GT and Akera grades now offer windscreen head up display shows information including navigation system turn-by-turn directions, routing information and speed limit information.
MZD Connect makes it easy to access the internet and social networks. In addition to audio functions, it incorporates Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone operation, Aha for communication functions, including Twitter, as well as navigation.
A premium Bose audio system has ten speakers, including a subwoofer.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Cylinder deactivation and a raft of new technology have the four-cylinder petrol engine putting out maximum power of 140 kW at 6000 rpm and top torque of 252 Nm at 4000 rpm.
Mated with a six-speed automatic, Mazda’s system shuts down cylinders one and four in light-load situations, reducing pumping loss and mechanical resistance. When cruising at 40 km/h, fuel economy is improved by approximately 20 per cent, and by around five per cent when at a constant 80 km/h.
The Mazda MY19 CX-5 carries over active and passive safety functions of the previous model via Mazda’s own i-Activsense system. This includes traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and driver attention alert.
Passive safety relies on a high strength with all-round impact protection, including for pedestrians. Front airbags for driver and passenger seats are complemented by side and curtain airbags. The left and right rear seats have IsoFix child seat anchor points.
Fans of the CX-5 will not be disappointed in style or performance of the upgrade, for little has changed for the GT petrol AWD. There’s more pull to the vehicle through a one Nm increase in torque, for what it’s worth.
Fuel economy is a winner, though, with the introduction of cylinder deactivation, when the engine is not under load. On test, fuel consumption broke the 11 litre barrier in city and suburbs in ‘normal’ drive mode, dropping to 6.6 litres on the open road, creeping up to seven litres in ‘sport’.
Adaptive front lighting worked well in a range of conditions, including heavy showers. An already airy cabin was opened up further with more light let in through the electric sliding and tilt glass sunroof.
However, with the first rays (and heat) of summer sun let in, it was back to the comfort of a closed cabin with the climate well under control. At night, the adaptive front lighting system showed the way with well-mannered attention being paid to other road users.
More than 140,000 Mazda CX-5s have been sold since 2012, earning it the title of Australia’s most popular SUV for five years straight. With price cuts it appears well on the way to being the gift that goes on giving.
AT A GLANCE
Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0L manual FWD $28,690
Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0L automatic FWD $30,690
Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.5L automatic AWD $33,690
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.0L automatic FWD $33,990
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5L automatic AWD $36,990
Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.2L turbo-diesel automatic AWD $39,990
Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5L automatic AWD $38,590
Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.2L turbo-diesel automatic AWD $41,590
Mazda CX-5 GT 2.5L automatic AWD $43,590
Mazda CX-5 GT 2.2L turbo-diesel automatic AWD $46,590
Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.5L automatic AWD $46,190
Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.2L turbo-diesel automatic AWD $49,190
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda CX-5 GT 2.5-litre petrol 6sp automatic AWD SUV)
Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 252 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.5 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: Euro 5
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 weight: 1556 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres