It’s easily the best selling Mazda in New Zealand, the CX-5 now top of the pops. And five years after it first arrived and won our COTY award, the CX-5 has undergone a significant makeover.
Almost all body panels have changed, and yet to behold you’re hard pressed picking the differences. It’s a bit more Kodo evolved, a little wider, the A pillar is in a different place, and there’s a cleaner face with LED lamps. Inside, it is more CX-9-like, more refined with added soft touch points, double glazing and triple door seals to reduce extraneous noise. Rear seat passengers fare better, and there’s an expanded head-up display for the top-end models.
The underpinnings have been tweaked slightly with new bushes, extra chassis rigidity, and Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control added for a more serene ride. The engineers managed to magic up 52 extra litres of luggage capacity, taking the total to 455L, and added 40:20:40 split folding, along with power tailgate operation.
Under the hood, nothing much has changed. SkyActiv mills remain decent things, amongst the leaders in economy.
On that, we’ve been at the wheel of the alpha model for 2017, the 2.2L Diesel Limited, the one we reckoned after the launch was the better bet over the 2.5 petrol for those with towing needs or undertaking primarily rural running. There’s a sense of harmony about this vehicle, where the powertrain and chassis just seem to gel, so it flows down the road in effortless fashion. Of the midsizers, this SUV feels the lightest on its feet, the most car-like in demeanour.
Diesels may no longer be flavour of the month but this is a good thing, and it’s not even noisy during warm up. Best performance lies from 3500-4500rpm, but for the majority of running 2000-3500rpm gives plenty of urge. Performance is certainly adequate, and the ride and handling mix are well judged, almost car-like. The six-speed auto locks up early, shifts nicely and is a responsive unit. No more need for extra ratios, nor paddles. Cruising at 2000rpm equates to an indicated 110km/h. We achieved a worst fuel use figure of 8.2L/100km, and mainly it registered in the low sevens. Mazda claims 6.0L/100km overall. Performance is basically unchanged, despite a slight weight increase.
With attention to sound proofing this is so quiet on road that an engine ticking noise which really shouldn’t be there is audible. Otherwise the cabin is a lovely place to be. What’s appreciated is the effort Mazda has expended on getting the ergonomics right. Everything falls to hand and the menus are simple, intuitive. The head-up display is clear, and prompts you when vehicles are in the blind spot.
You want for little in this, as you’d expect with a list price of $57,495. There’s active cruise, AEB, heated leather pews, smart key, a mouse controller for the touch screen, and a powered fifth door. All too much? Try the GSX models costing $46k-$48k, or even the $40k GLX, they are all good.
|Model||Mazda CX-5 Limited diesel||Price||$55,495|
|Engine||2184cc, IL4, TDI, 129kW/420Nm||Drivetrain||6A, on-demand AWD|
|Fuel Use||6.0L/100km||C02 Output||158g/km|