There’s no such thing as too many choices when it comes to a carmaker’s best selling vehicle. Having something for every taste ensures buyers don’t go elsewhere.
To that end, Mazda has added another variant of the CX-5, this one powered by the firm’s 2.5-litre turbopetrol. Previously the engine was only available to the buyers who opted for the top grade Takami, but the new SP25T makes it slightly more attainable. It’s not a whole heap cheaper, mind you, the 25T at $58,995 sees it sitting between the Limited ($55,990) and Takami ($61,795). Actually it’s more or less the same price as the Limited with the diesel 2.2.
Comparing the numbers, the oiler makes 140kW and 450Nm from 2000rpm while it’s claimed to use 5.7L/100km on average. The 2.5 petrol without a blower has the same 140kW but just 252Nm of torque, while the 2.5-litre turbopetrol makes 170kW and 420Nm from 2000rpm. Consumption is rated at 8.2L/100km.
So why buy the 25T? You’ve gone off diesel but don’t want to give up the torque and you’re after more power. There’s probably a misconception that the SP25T is some sort of sports model but it’s no Cupra Ateca competitor. The 2.5 turbo has the numbers but it’s not a racey engine. It’s more about easy torque, designed originally to move the bigger CX-9 without hassle. It’s not much of a revver – it’s the easy torque that is spread across the midband that does the business. The auto has an easy job here, no need for constant changing to tap the pull. Even the Sport button doesn’t get much use. The SP25T is not super quick as it doesn’t rev all that hard. In fact, the 25T engine doesn’t really feel turbocharged in the usual sense; there’s no real lag and the torque builds progressively. It’s one of those easy-as powerplants, and it doesn’t need to strain its nut to get things done. However, it’s no leader on gas use; city dwellers should factor on fuel consumption in the high 9L/100km region if they can get a few motorway miles into the mix. At least the Mazda turbo is happy drinking 91 octane.
Any excuse to drive the CX-5 again is okay with us. As an SUV, it strikes a good balance between refinement and connection. We drove the 25T on predominantly wet roads which revealed how sorted the chassis is. The steering is accurate and feelsome, so you always know when the tyres are working toward the edge of the grip, helping make the drive swift but smooth. The chassis balance is sound, so too the suspension, working away quietly to sort the bumps and manage the weight moving about.
There’s a decent layer of refinement to its progress but it’s not so constrictive that it muffles the connection with the road. It’s what Mazda strives for and largely achieves with its vehicles.
For specification, the Limited models have a few extras like a sunroof, Bose sounds and leather trim where the SP25T has a black ‘deluxe leatherette’ and suede seat finishing with red stitching and black detailing. The exterior has a “blackout” cosmetic theme going on with black alloys and mirror caps, though the chromed grille surround and window trims remain.
The safety minders are there in the background, where they tend to stay, the lane departure system only issuing polite warnings every now and again. We like the easy-to-use smart cruise and that the head-up display also issues a discreet warning when someone is entering the blind spot zone.
In other areas the CX-5 shows its age; there’s no wireless charger, the analogue dials seem quaint and the sat nav screen is mean on viewable inches. All CX-5 models now feature wireless Apple CarPlay while Android Auto connects via USB, and we like that it still has dedicated ventilation controls. All the touchpoints of the CX-5 are well done, the comfy seat easily adjusted. And the CX-5 is a right-sized five-seater. It has more rear legroom than you give it credit for, and the boot capacity is decent too. Things like wide opening rear doors add to its practicality score, and its 2000kg braked tow rating matches that of the diesel. Other points to consider when weighing up the CX-5 is that it is covered by Mazda’s big five-year/unlimited mileage warranty and the first three years or 100,000km worth of servicing is included in the purchase cost.
|Model||Mazda CX-5 SP25T|
|Engine||2488cc, IL4, T/DI, 170kW/420Nm|
|Drivetrain||6-speed auto, on-demand AWD|