The Mazda CX-5 is an Aussie favorite – even if it isn’t the newest kid on the block. We tested the mildly updated model to see how it stacks up.
The Mazda CX-5 range kicks off at about $36,000 drive-away and rises to close to $60,000.
Buyers can choose between front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and there are three engines available: two petrol – one turbocharged and one not – and a diesel unit.
We are testing the GT SP grade, the second rung from the top of the CX-5 ladder, with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive priced at about $56,000 drive-away.
It’s an expensive ride, costing about the same as a top-shelf Toyota RAV4 Hybrid but cheaper than a turbo petrol Volkswagen Tiguan.
What you get is one of the best looking family SUVs on the road with LED head and tail lights, a rear spoiler and a sunroof.
A 10.25-inch digital screen is controlled via a rotary dial and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Bose stereo, wireless device charging pad, Bluetooth connectivity and in-built sat-nav enhance the experience.
Mazda covers its vehicles with an industry standard five-year/unlimited km warranty and its capped price servicing program is reasonable at $1875 over five years.
The CX-5 Akera’s interior is a lush space with supple leather upholstery and soft touch surfaces throughout.
Heated supportive seats are electronically adjustable providing stellar forward vision, plus an adjustable steering wheel means there is a comfortable set-up for all shapes and sizes.
There are easy to use aircon controls in the center dash and other vital infotainment and safety features have steering wheel mounted buttons.
The rotary dial controls for the infotainment screen allows you to keep your eyes focused on the road compared to a touchscreen but it’s more time consuming and fiddly to use.
The dash is a mix of analog dials and a small low-res digital information screen, which feels subpar compared to full digital instrument displays found in rivals.
There’s a lack of usb points, only two in the front and none in the second row, but a wireless device charging pad wins back some points.
The boot is small compared to rivals, but more than enough to fit the weekly shop or several overnight bags. A hands-free powered tailgate makes for easy access.
Well sorted suspension irons out road imperfections and it’s extremely quiet on the road compared to Mazdas of the past.
Mazda doesn’t skimp on safety.
The CX-5 will automatically brake if it detects a potential collision with a car.
An array of sensors will let you know if a car is in your blind spot and sound the alarm if a vehicle approaches from the side as you reverse.
Multiple safety systems work in unison to make sure you stay centered in your lane, even automatically tugging the steering wheel to direct you back into place if it catches you wandering.
The turbo petrol engine is a cracker.
It delivers smooth acceleration with ample grunt for effortless overtaking and bounding up steep hills.
This is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive grip that provides confidence in the wet and gets the power to ground with no wheel slip.
Soft suspension makes for a comfortable ride, but the trade-off is a little bit of lean through corners.
The CX-5 is a great highway cruiser, providing a comfortable oasis on longer drives.
Fuel use is a concern.
Mazda quotes 8.2L/100km but you’ll most likely see a number north of 10 if you spend most of your time around town. Luckily the CX-5 only requires cheaper unleaded petrol.
Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI Elegance, from $60,500 drive-away
Cracking engine with plenty of tech features, but expensive.
Toyota RAV4 Edge Hybrid, about $57,500 drive away
Not as sporty but hybrid power brings super low fuel use. Cheaper, too.
Kia Sportage GT-Line petrol, about $54,000 drive-away
Well equipped and cheaper than rivals, dual clutch auto would be tough to live with.
Good looking, great driving SUV with a premium feel that shows why it’s been a top seller for years, but thirsty and needs a tech infusion.
MAZDA CX-5 GT SP AWD VITALS
PRICE About $56,000 drive away
ENGINE 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol, 170kW/420Nm
WARRANTY/SERVICING five year/unlimited km, $1875 over five yearsrs
SAFETY 6 airbags, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, driver attention warning
SPARE space saver