Reviewed for you: Mazda CX-5

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23 May 2019 by smartleasing

The Mazda CX-5 has regularly topped the medium SUV sales charts, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s pricing starts at less than $30,000 and runs to almost $50,000 and includes front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants, petrol and diesel engines. When it comes to the CX-5, there really is a variant for everyone.

What’s the price and what do you get?

The Mazda CX-5 line-up starts with the Maxx and Maxx Sport with a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine and front-wheel drive, priced from $28,690 to $33,990 plus on-road costs, the Maxx Sport and Touring are first to offer a 2.5L naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol and all-wheel drive combo, at $36,990 and $38,590+ORC respectively. The Maxx Sport and Touring offer a 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged diesel four-cylinder and all-wheel drive combo, for $39,990 and $41,590+ORCs respectively.

The range then moves to the CX-5 GT which we think is the pick (especially in diesel trim) lists at $43,590 with a petrol engine and from $46,590+ORCs with a diesel engine. The mid-spec Touring gets 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, head-up display, keyless auto-entry, digital radio, satellite navigation and part-leather trim, but the GT takes the fight to luxury medium SUVs with 19-inch alloys, swivelling LED headlights, electric tailgate, electric sunroof, leather seat upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats and a 10-speaker Bose audio system. The Mazda Akera sits at the top and adds extra active safety, priced from $49,190+ORC and is only available with a diesel engine.

What’s the interior like?

With its gaping price range, Mazda’s walked a careful line by offering an entry-level cabin that’s well built, and with quality materials used throughout. As you move through the range, the quality steadily increases with soft-touch materials liberally used throughout, and leather too. There’s reasonable storage space front and rear and, in general, the controls are well executed, although while the climate controls are a little fiddly, they feel beautiful to the touch. And the infotainment screen which is easy to see, as it juts up from the dash, can take some getting used to via the rotary controller down by the gear shifter.

What’s the passenger space like?

The front seats are broad in the base, but there’s decent support. And while they feel a little flat to begin with, they’re actually very comfortable, something you’ll notice, and be thankful of, on longer drives. Over in the back, rear seat legroom isn’t amazing in the CX-5 but there’s good foot room under the front seats to claw back some brownie points, and there’s plenty of headroom, too. Three adults could travel across the back in a pinch, but the shape of the middle seat is more of a perch with the air vents at the back of the centre console robbing legroom.

What’s the boot space like?

The CX-5’s boot falls a little short of the 500-plus class average, offering around 448 litres depending on the variant. But the 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats are a practical touch few others in the segment offer, meaning you can easily configure the rear whether you want more through loading, or you just want to keep the kids separated by dropping the middle rear seat.

What’s under the bonnet?

There are three engines to choose from: a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol, 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and a powerful 2.2-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel. This engine is easily the pick of the engines across the entire medium SUV segment, and we include luxury SUVs in that, too. This engine makes 140kW and 450Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission which is a ripper with not a single dull spot across the entire rev range. Of course, the petrol version is cheaper - and quite a lot cheaper, too - but it’s not as good an engine as this diesel.

What’s it like on the road?

Smooth and comfortable is the best way to describe how the CX-5 rides and handles. Throughout the range, the CX-5 is right at the sharp end against key competitors. But once you get to the GT, it steps ahead of the pack, including more expensive European rivals. In GT trim, the CX-5’s ride and handling are sharp with excellent body control and is more sporting to drive than, say, BMW X3 or Audi Q5 – yes, it’s that good.

What safety features does it get?

The CX-5 range gets a five-star ANCAP rating along with more or less of Mazda’s i-Activesense suite, depending on the variant. All variants get things like reversing camera and rear sensors, as well as airbags for the front and rear, traction and stability controls and hill-hold assist. The autonomous emergency braking works in forwards and reverse; there are blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert and traffic sign recognition available too. But, only the top-spec Akera offers adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist.

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