You have got to admit, Mazda has a real knack for giving us great all-round cars in a variety of segments – the CX5 is no exception. Since the original was launched in 2012, the CX5 left so many of Mazda’s national clientele, and motoring scribes like yours truly for that matter, utterly smitten. This was down to a great blend of willing engines, refinement, technology and value.
For 2018 Mazda has built on that winning formula to great effect. The CX5 has undergone a sleek stylistic nip and tuck. This has been achieved by lower centre of gravity, a wider, cleaner grille and thinner LED head and taillights, giving a more powerful stance than before.
Under the bonnet you get a multitude of engines to choose from, in either FWD or i-ACTIV AWD. These range from the 2 and 2.5-litre petrol units, to the 2.2 litre diesel producing 129kW.
My test car was the range-topping 2.5-litre petrol (140KW) with Mazda’s new Cylinder Deactivation Technology. This system allows the engine to shut off two of the four cylinders when not needed, ie. traffic or low speed parking etc.
All engines are coupled to Mazda’s silky smooth SKYACTIVE transmission. This contains a new shift logic programme which will predict the driver’s intentions based on throttle or vehicle and engine speed, ensuring that each shift is perfectly matched to however you drive.
In terms of safety, with the new CX5 you are well catered for. On both GSX and range topping limited models you get i-ACTIVSENSE technologies with Advanced Smart City Brake Support – Forward (ASCBS-F), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Hop inside and you notice the sheer visibility front and rear, thanks to a higher driving position and smaller A-pillars. While taller folk may find it a squeeze in the back, there is still plenty of room to slob out for most.
Quality and refinement has been a CX5 hallmark for years and its business as usual in 2018. Every switch feels solid and well built. The infotainment system and its features are also easy to understand and operate.
On the move, the CX5 is totally unique amongst its competitors. There is little to no road noise and the Cylinder Deactivation at low speed is not noticeable at all. In fact, you would think it wasn’t there. Ride quality is supple and comfortable too.
Steering is a tad vague but still manages to be direct. At high rpm, the 2.5-litre petrol sounds harsh, but quickly settles down to a reassuring hum at speed. Also, the AWD system works hand in hand with engine data and wheel speed to ensure you have plenty of grip on every road surface.
Prices for the CX5 start at $39,475 for the entry point GSX 2WD. Not flawless, but will certainly leave plenty of its competitors playing catch up in years to come.