Shooting above its weight, the Mazda CX-5

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I reviewed the previous Mazda CX-5 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was slotted in, as one part of a month’s worth of Mazda products. After spending four weeks with the brand, divided over four different models, I generated an increased appreciation for Mazda’s unique design style, named KODO – Soul of Motion. I also got to experience the driver-centric focus of all Mazda’s driving characteristics. It was evident that Mazdas are made for people who enjoy driving. 


The new CX-5, although similar looking to its predecessor, is now sharper in its overall presence. It is both bold and sporty, giving the CX-5 a European sophistication. On the inside, the upmarket feel continues. No other car within its class can compete with its plush quality that abounds. Everything is ergonomically precise. It’s so good that it shoots above its weight. The CX-5 is more in line with German mid-size SUVs than Japanese and Korean rivals. 


On the road, this premium feel continues. The ride is sublime - smooth, compliant and agile. Throw it around a bend, and the Mazda happily complies. It’s fun to drive. 


Sound insulation is fantastic. So good, it is comparable with a Lexus, which are usually as quiet as church mice. 


But that’s where Mazda’s list of distinctions stop. Fortunately, things downgrade from being excellent or very good to good - or on-par with other eastern rivals. 


Let’s start with the engine. The test car featured the 2.0-L 4-cylinder petrol unit. Unfortunately, not turbocharged, but not breathless either. It features the brand’s unique SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, endowing it with 121kW of power and 210Nm torque, or what I like to refer to as ‘the shove’ that pushes you into your seat. Power is steady and smooth, albeit when revving the engine aggressively, it’s less pleasant - almost having to sprint its lungs out. 


The range can be had with either a six-speed manual or automatic. In my opinion, the outstanding short throw manual, borrowed from the playful MX-5 roadster, is your best option paired with the 2.0-L engine, while the automatic gearbox works succinctly with the 2.2-L turbocharged diesel. There is also a 2.5-L petrol motor which adds an R75 000 premium over the 2.0-L. To be fair, for the extra cash you get more than just an extra 500cc in engine capacity. There is a nice long list of cool gizmos. 

Something to note - fuel consumption over all three engines is average. Figures will range upwards from 8.5 for the petrol engines and 7.0 for the diesel. 


Also good, not outstanding, is the CX-5’s utility. Boot space is fair. Compared to its rivals, practically is again, average. The Honda CR-V is the Swiss Army Knife in the competition and the clear utility winner. Don’t fret; you’ll get five adults and loads of luggage in the Mazda. 


The CX-5 is underrated. Why? I have no idea. It is arguably Mazda’s best product in their current range line-up. It’s distinction worthy! Well done! *Clap, clap, clap.* 


Plus +

Good looking.

Good quality product.

Dynamic to drive.

Good value for money.


Minus -

Petrol engines aren’t turbocharged.

Average fuel economy.


The competition 

Ford Kuga, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, KIA Sportage, Toyota RAV, Peugeot 3008 and Nissan X-Trail.



CX-5 2.0 Active Manual R379 900

CX-5 2.0 Active Automatic R391 900

CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Manual R404 900

CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Automatic R416 900

CX-5 2.2DE Active Automatic R459 400

CX-5 2.5 Individual Automatic R491 900

CX-5 2.2DE AWD Akera Automatic R557 500


Service and warranty 

The CX-5 comes standard with a three-year, unlimited mileage service plan.


My choice

CX-5 2.2DE Active Automatic R459 400


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