Mazda_CX-5_frontMazda CX-5 has been a hit in Australia since it arrived here just over five years ago. Now the second generation has been introduced. It features interesting style, improvements to the powertrains and uprated technology.

A new Touring model has been added to the CX-5 range. Sitting between the Maxx Sport and CX-5 GT, the new Touring was our test vehicle as Mazda was keen to get us into one to promote it. And thus increase its sales from the already healthy figure of over 115,000 CX-5s sold to date.

Style was one of the big selling features of the original Mazda CX-5. The new one carries the same overall theme, but with a smoothing out of the lines, almost to the extent of being minimalistic. It works exceptionally well to our eyes. As, indeed, does the entire Mazda range. The Mazda Kodo styling theme has worked a treat in the past and shows no sign of slackening in the eyes of potential buyers.

The CX-5’s upright grille is bold, with the upper and lower areas matching neatly. The doors have sculpting in their lower areas and the C-pillar treatment is interesting. We feel the rear lights are rather small but, as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The CX-5’s instruments are sporty in their layout, clear and easy to use.


Infotainment from the Mazda MZD Connect system is accessed through a 7.0-inch full-colour touchscreen. There’s AM and FM, as well as DAB+ radio. Connectivity is by Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio, Aux, and USB.

Control is through steering wheel buttons for many functions, there’s also Mazda’s handy Commander rotary controller on the centre console.

The central screen is a good size and has Mazda’s attention to minimisation of driver distraction. However, keep in mind that any time spent with eyes off the road is potentially dangerous

Satellite navigation is optional on the CX-5 Maxx but standard on all other variants.


At a time when some companies are offering little or no choice of drivetrains, Mazda has a large suite. Though based on the powerplants of the superseded CX-5, they have significant improvements. All use Mazda’s unusual SkyActiv technology.

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol has 114 kW, and 200 Nm at a highish 4000 rpm. There’s also a 2.5-litre petrol producing 140 kW, and 251 Nm, again at 4000 rpm. Both engines are naturally-aspirated rather than turbocharged, which probably explains why then need plenty of revs to get the torque to its peak.

Mazda Australia has again specified the petrol engines be detuned slightly to suit Australia’s low-grade 91 octane standard petrol.

A 2.2-litre turbo-diesel puts out up to 129 kW of power, with 420 Nm of torque at 2000 revs.

A six-speed manual is on offer with the smaller petrol engine, all others have a six-speed automatic transmission. This auto is also mated to the 2.0-litre petrol when requested.

Power is taken to either the front wheels alone, or to all four wheels for added traction on slippery roads.

Our test CX-5 Touring had the larger petrol engine, automatic transmission and AWD, which is likely to be the most popular combination.

All CX-5 models have six airbags, automatic emergency braking, smart city braking, blind spot monitoring, front and rear and rear cross traffic alert and a rear view camera that’s backed up by rear parking sensors.

There’s comfortable seating inside for four adults, with a fifth being possible without too much hip and shoulder rubbing. However, it’s very much a 40:20:40 layout and may not suit all those in the centre seat if they are on the wide side.

Rear seat legroom may prove marginal if a tall person sits behind a driver more than about 1.7 meters tall. Try for yourself as this could be a deal breaker if you have a mob of hulking teens.

The back seats can be set at two angles to let you juggle luggage / passenger space. Large armrests are a feature we really liked in the front seats.

Boot volume, at 442 litres, is almost 10 per cent greater than in the superseded CX-5. A spacesaver wheel / tyre is used to give added depth to the boot. The area is easy to load and the rear seatbacks can be lowered by using levers in the load area.

Ride comfort is impressively smooth on smooth roads and still better than average when the surfaces deteriorate.

Handling is good, for an SUV, and there’s good, safe road grip even at speeds higher than those likely to be used by family car drivers. A bit more steering feel would be appreciated by those who enjoy their driving.

The ambiance inside the cabin is a major feature of the new CX-5, it feels more like a large, luxurious sedan than a family kid and grocery hauler.

The 2.5-litre petrol is smooth, quiet and reacts quickly to throttle inputs, an advantage of not having to spin up a turbocharger. Though peak torque doesn’t come in until 4000 revs there’s good punch at normal engine speeds. There’s a Sport button that sharpens up acceleration, but we found it tended to hold onto gears for too long for normal day-to-day traffic use.

The automatic transmission is quick to sense driver demands and road conditions and shift to lower ratios when required.

Fuel consumption was in the nine to ten litres per hundred kilometres range in suburban and traffic driving. Falling to an impressively low six litres per hundred on easy paced motorway driving at about 110 km/h.

Mazda’s second generation CX-5 is an impressive piece of engineering. The original was good, this one is significantly better. Definitely one to be added to your short list. It may even steal some sales from the bottom end of the German prestige marques.


Maxx 2.0-litre petrol FWD: $28,690 (manual), $30,690 (automatic)
Maxx 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $33,690 (automatic)
Maxx Sport 2.0-litre petrol FWD: $34,390 (automatic)
Maxx Sport 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $37,390 (automatic)
Maxx Sport 2.2-litre diesel AWD: $40,390 (automatic)
Touring 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $38,990 (automatic)
Touring 2.2-litre diesel AWD: $41,990 (automatic)
GT 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $44,390 (automatic)
GT 2.2-litre diesel AWD: $47,390 (automatic)
Akera 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $46,990 (automatic)
Akera 2.2-litre diesel AWD: $49,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 251 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.5 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 172 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

Length: 4550 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1840 mm
Height: 1675 mm
Turning Circle: 11.2 metres
Kerb Mass: 1565 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres

Front: Ventilated Disc
Rear: Disc

Three years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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