Mazda’s new CX-5 has all the ingredients to top the compact-SUV segment.

Story By Peter Pap

It's no surprise that the CX-7 was a big sucess for Mazda. It was a well-polished, optioned and priced SUV that looked great and steered like a hot hatch. With the new model, Mazda has done more than address its thirsty engine and rename it (it is a five-seater after all). The CX-5 is a totally different car and the first to feature Mazda’s new signature wing grille. The body also has a more muscular stance.
The CX-5 has better engine and drivetrain efficiency, reducing the weight of the vehicle. There are two engines available: a 2.0-litre petrol in front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) and the second, a 2.2-litre diesel in AWD. The 2.0 direct-injection petrol engine offers 114kW at 6000rpm and 200Nm at 4000rpm. The 2.2-litre common-rail diesel has 129kW at 4500rpm and 420Nm at 2000rpm, with an industry low 14:1 compression ratio. Claimed fuel figures are 6.4L per 100 kilometres for the petrol FWD and 5.7L per 100km for the diesel.
Interior room has been optimised to offer more overall head room and rear leg room than the previous model. Leg room in the front is very generous and the seats offer great support for long-distance driving. The interior has a lot of cargo flexibility with 40:20:40 split rear seats with remote fold-down function and 403L capacity boot space, which increases to 1560L when the seats are folded flat.
There’s a surround sound system by Bose and the navigation system is based on TomTom technology. Other features include a hands-free mobile phone set-up with noise suppression and voice recognition, plus iPod connectivity via Bluetooth. The high quality and finish of the interior are typically Japanese.
All CX-5 models feature i-stop, Mazda’s unique fuel-saving idle-stop system with quick restarts. There is also blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, high-beam control, tyre-pressure warning and a reverse camera. On the road, the chassis is well balanced and the suspension well tuned for our roads. From smooth tarmac to rough dirt, the damping is well calibrated – a perfect compromise. The CX-5 steers nicely as the new electric-power assisted steering adjusts feedback according to speed and conditions. You can feel the road surface and grip perfectly through your fingertips. The body does roll but the grip levels are high and you can have total confidence in pushing harder, all the way to the tyres’ limit.

This story excerpt is from Issue #84

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2012