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I reviewed the previous Mazda CX-5 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then late last year, I drove the current model. I was left feeling very pleasantly surprised – the CX 5 is outstanding with very little to moan about. 


The new CX-5, although similar looking to its predecessor, is 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, very comfortable and almost silent. The overall feel is holistically upmarket. Sound insulation is fantastic. So good, it is comparable with a Lexus, which are usually as quiet as church mice. 

The previous version of the CX-5 I reviewed was 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 R63 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. 

Fortunately, this time I was given the 2.2-L turbocharged diesel. This is arguably the best 2.0-L to 2.2-L diesel motor in its class. In fact, it is somewhat better than Mercedes-Benz’s 2.1-L used in the 220d turbodiesel. ‘Refined’ is the best way to describe the engine. General use yields almost an inaudible volume from the engine, which adds to the CX-5’s upmarket feel. Floor the CX-5 and I’m more than certain that a sound of a sportier petrol motor is piped through the speaks to mask the subtle sound of cluttering diesel motor. A sound that is hereditary from a diesel motor. It’s brilliant. You have no idea that you are driving a diesel.

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!

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 R386 600

CX-5 2.0 Active Automatic R398 600

CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Manual R412 000

CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Automatic R424 000

CX-5 2.0 Individual R480 700

CX-5 2.2DE Active Automatic R469 700

CX-5 2.5 Individual Automatic R543 800

CX-5 2.2DE AWD Akera Automatic R571 300


Service and warranty 

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


My choice

Any of the 2.2DE models.


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