EVEN at $40,000, the all-new CX-5 Diesel AWD is so accomplished that there is no reason why buyers of prestige and luxury SUVs costing almost twice as much shouldn’t include the Mazda on their shortlist.
It certainly puts the established mainstream players on notice.
Of course, a spot of social-climbing would be just wishful thinking on the Japanese company’s part.
As well as the goofy grille and dreary dash, the badge just isn’t right compared to a BMW X1, Audi Q3 or Volvo XC60.
But there’s very little that’s wrong with the rest of the CX5, as a week in the Maxx Sport revealed.
Model release date: March 2012
THE arrestingly designed CX-7 first appeared in late 2006 in thrilling but thirsty high-performance 175kW/350Nm 2.3-litre turbo-petrol all-wheel-drive guise, just as fuel prices skyrocketed and diesels became all the rage.
Consumers were confused as to exactly where this larger (as well as more expensive) than usual compact SUV sat in the market, even though generous equipment levels (including a standard six-speed automatic) clearly marked the striking replacement for the dowdy Tribute SUV as an altogether more premium alternative.
Sales consequently never really took off.
By the time the facelifted Series II arrived in late 2009, it was too late for the CX-7 to hit the big time, despite the increase in features and an expanding of the range to include a cheaper and more economical atmo 2.5 petrol model, as well as the wildly underrated 127kW/400Nm 2.2 Diesel.
Yet even then the Japanese shot themselves in the foot by crucially not offering an automatic variant of the diesel.
On the other hand, it was the only manual CX-7 you could buy in Australia, and to this day remains one of our favourites.