MAZDA CX-5 2012 – 2019

2012 Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 was the first model to get Mazda’s Kodo styling as a toe in the water exercise. The public really liked Kodo so it has been used on every new Mazda since then. In our eyes the CX-5 is the best iteration of Kodo, but of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Combine the Kodo shape with the bright red colours on offer and it’s not surprise that the CX-5 is a big seller, so there are plenty to choose from on the used car market.

This is a comfortable five-seater if those in the back aren’t overly large, as is usual in this class, two adults and a child makes more sense. Tall drivers may need to do a deal with the person riding behind them on knee and footroom

Mazda CX-5 has a three-piece 40:20:40 fold-down rear seats to let you juggle luggage and passenger loads.

Initially CX-5 lagged somewhat in performance thanks to the use of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. That criticism was answered with the introduction of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol in 2018.

2015 Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 also has the choice of a turbo-diesel. Note that the diesel CX-5 is aimed more at performance than economy, so it doesn’t have the low fuel consumption you might expect. But it does use less fuel than the petrol and there’s plenty of torque from low revs.

A 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol was introduced in November 2018. It’s a nice unit to sit behind if you enjoy a touch of sportiness in your SUV.

The second generation CX-5 was introduced in April 2017. It looks similar to the successful original, but had a smoothing out that’s almost being minimalistic in its lines.

Inside, the central screen is a good size. Infotainment is by the easy-to-use Mazda MZD Connect system via a 7.0-inch touchscreen.

Though based on the powerplants of the Series One CX-5 the gen two has significant improvements based around driveability and quicker response.

All have a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is offered only with the 2.0 petrol, not many were taken up and the manual may be hard to sell later as self-shifters are pretty well out of fashion in all but sporty vehicles.

Mazda has long been focussed on safety and every Mazda CX-5 sold in Australia has standard six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS brakes, Emergency Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.

2018 Mazda CX-5

It has a fuss-free pleasant ride even on corrugated dirt roads. On motorways it’s almost in the luxury sedan class for noise and vibration suppression.

Servicing and repairs are generally mid-range for this class. We heard of no ongoing complaints about parts not being available. However, some parts may have to be specially imported from Japan.

Insurance costs are similar to other SUVs in its class. We will add our usual proviso that while it’s smart so shop around for the best deal, having a long relationship with one company is wise

Some of the early diesels had fuel leaking into the engine sump if the CX-5 was used only for short around town trips. Look for white smoke and an engine that’s down on performance. A software fix prevented this – check the service records to be sure this has been carried out.

In September 2016 Mazda Australia issued a recall to repair a poor paint coverage on the tailgate. If not rectified there could be corrosion on the ‘gate. Check with the selling Mazda dealer or contact Mazda Australia on Mazda,

It’s best to avoid all-wheel-drive CX-5s that have been used off-road. Ground clearance isn’t great and they may have been scratched underneath. There are plenty of pampered suburban alternatives to be found.

Previous crash repairs can be spotted by sighting along the sides. Unevenness is likely to be a sign of panel repairs. If there’s the slightest doubt have a professional do a complete inspection.

Check the interior for signs of rough treatment by uncaring travellers, especially those of the junior kind.

Look over the boot for damage caused by things not loaded correctly or that have been sliding about.

Scars to the wheels, the left-front is usually the first to suffer, may indicate a careless driver. Feel for uneven tyre wear by running your hand from side to side across the tread. If it’s greater one way there could be alignment problems.

Budget on spending from $7000 to $11,000 for a 2012 Mazda CX-5 Maxx; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2013 Maxx Sport; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2016 Maxx; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2014 Akera; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2016 GT; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2017 GT or a 2018 Maxx Sport; $24,000 to $33,000 for a 2018 Akera; and $30,000 to $40,000 for a 2019 Touring.

Big old cars are often pretty cheap these days due to their high fuel consumption, but often the low purchase price will more than compensate for the extra fuel you need to buy. But if it breaks down all your savings are likely to vanish.

RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:

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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