What’s it feel like behind the wheel?
Sitting at the wheel of the CX-5 is simply delightful. Surveying the tablet style infotainment screen, you feel the luxury seeping in as you swipe through your beloved albums. A tighter chassis makes it feel firmer and more balanced, yet the ride height feels as commanding as any full size SUV. A comfortable interior with balanced proportions, it’s easy to sink into these cozy seats. What really stands out is the interior finishings. There’s a palpable sense of style that almost catches you off guard. You’re subconsciously expecting to see that interior you remember from a few years ago in a friend's car, but this is something else. Plush is the word that comes to mind, and oh boy, does it feel smooth.
Performance on the road
Pressing the start button, CX-5 feels composed as ever, no matter which engine you’re sporting. However, grab a touring level or above and you’ll instantly want to activate the All Wheel Drive system to test the difference. The standard 187hp feels as capable as ever, and eerily quiet due to new aerodynamics and smarter design. Not only is it quieter, but it also manages to cruise over rougher terrain like a warm knife through butter (probably the revised Skyactiv-chassis at work) and makes for a high quality ride overall. A lot of thought has been put into comfort. As the CX-5 steadily climbs the luxury ladder, it’s almost hard to imagine what will be next.
If 187hp just isn’t quite your tune, there is a turbocharged engine in town. It’s called the Skyactiv-G 2.5T Turbo Engine. And yes, it’s exciting. Put your foot down and there’s a positively wild acceleration response for the size of the car. With plenty of power on tap, this certainly makes the higher grades more attractive.
What’s to like about the infotainment system?
For starters, the infotainment touchscreen is perfectly placed, unlike some other tablet screens, and comes with the new Mazda Connect software that invites car users to connect to a Wifi-hotspot and even control the car from your living room. Connect your phone through standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the standard integrated phone connectivity and handsfree mode. On higher trims, a reassuring Active Driving Display lights up your dashboard conveniently situated to give crucial information about road signage and speed limits. No more forgetting the speed limit, it’s right there in front of you. All this adds up to give a feeling of being looked after.
Safety a priority
If you’re looking for some excellent safety features that come as standard across the entire range, this is where it’s at. Without overloading on acronyms, here’s the essential low down. Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Smart City Brake Support, and many more technologies are up for grabs no matter the model. Opt for the Akera model and there’s an all-new 360-degree view monitor for a complete picture of what’s happening around your blind spots. Needless to say, there’s a 5-star ANCAP safety rating attached to this vehicle, and an attractive 5-year premium roadside assistance package available for all buyers.
How's it stacking up against competitors?
As a so-called ‘mid-size SUV’ the CX-5 has given equivalent size luxury car models a run for their money. In fact, if you dig deeper and look at the specs, you’ll find a higher trim Mazda CX-5 brushing shoulders with the likes of other midsize luxury SUVs. With a lower price tag and with an ever-expanding list of top notch specs, the new Mazda CX-5 is going for gold in almost every department. As a rising star in the SUV market, and others should watch out.
Living with it: cargo and road trips
It’s early in the morning and time to pack the car for the long awaited family road trip. Seeing as the only available back seat has been snatched up by the esky, four mid-sized suitcases and the fishing rods on top will have to do. So, does it fit? Answering this particular question will be the added 3 litres of boot space that have been awarded especially to the latest model. And yes, it’s a perfect fit, and with a variety of compartments to keep mobile devices, books, or water bottles the interior feels both spacious and balanced. Push those back seats down and there’s 1,342L of space to fit a couple of bikes and a few suitcases.
As far as fuel economy goes, the new CX-5 has a strong record of delivering the goods. With 7.4L/100km combined fuel consumption for the 2.5L petrol engine and 5.7L/100km for the 2.2L Diesel engine, that’s a real and noticeable savings compared to other cars its size. Driving from Perth to Esperance with the diesel engine and with a full tank that still leaves an extra few hundred kilometres until you’re thinking of refuelling. Not too shabby.
Driving the Mazda CX-5 feels like you’re part of a well-timed orchestra. From the integrated and highly intuitive infotainment system to a smooth and balanced ride, it’s hard not to feel at home at the wheel. There’s every reason to love this car: it’s bold in its design, easy through the rough stuff, and cruisy on the flat. It’s also a surprising car, as with many new models these days, quality and luxury are on the rise.