GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Mazda - CX-5 - range

Our Opinion

We like
Quieter, smoother ride, lower entry prices, Sport mode on petrol autos, diesel refinement and punch, dash changes
Room for improvement
Still noisier than the best, no rear-seat airvents, some spec shortfalls like a passenger seat height adjuster

Gallery

Click to see larger images

Mazda logo20 Jan 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

HAS it really been three years since the Mazda CX-5 smashed open the Australian mid-size SUV segment with its shapely styling, sporty chassis, smooth drivetrain and quality presentation?Before the Japanese crossover landed, most of its competitors languished gormlessly in dynamic and refinement mediocrity, reflecting a cynicism from their makers who seemed content to foist any old thing upon consumers hungry for high-riding wagons.

What the CX-5 demonstrated was that SUV buyers could enjoy an affordable, efficient and well-made alternative that didn’t pale against the usually superior passenger car alternatives on offer.

Brandishing a post Ford-era, box-fresh, Mazda-made, high-tech platform and drivetrain under the SkyActiv banner, the newcomer showed up many pricier luxury SUVs, especially in terms of driver enjoyment.

The CX-5 went on to become one of the company’s global best-sellers, systematically saving it from looming bankruptcy in the process.

All that was in 2012, and in the time since, a number of newer challengers have lobbed in to give the mid-size SUV leader a harder time – although the disappointing Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mitsubishi Outlander weren’t among these.

Thankfully, Mazda is not a company to rest on its laurels, as the CX-5 Series II makeover proves.

Almost invisible at first glance, the facelift sees most of the non-sheetmetal plastics and trim altered, including the grille, headlights and tail-lights, to give a slightly more aggressive appearance. Since there’s never really been anything wrong with the Mazda’s styling to begin with, it’s clear that the designers chose wisely not to mess with a winning formula.

Inside the spacious cabin there was plenty of room for betterment, however, although not everything has been addressed here to the degree that we might have hoped.

The entire lower half of the dashboard has been revised, with new console switchgear fitted for improved functionality. There’s a larger touchscreen set up high and controlled by a BMW iDrive-style knob down by the now-electric park brake switch, more contemporary trims and colours have been introduced, and a sizeable increase in storage area volume certainly helps with practicality.

That’s all fine and good, and we are relieved to learn that the Mazda’s fine driving position, excellent ventilation and high-level build quality virtues remain. The front seats have been altered and seem comfortable and supportive, while the overall front-row ambience in the mid-range (and volume selling) Maxx Sport and flagship Akera is pretty much on the money now.

Furthermore, with thicker side glass and more sound deadening, there is significantly less road drone entering the rear seat area than before – although you wouldn’t exactly call the CX-5 hushed now.

Finally, the ride quality on the Maxx Sport wearing Yokohama Geolander G98 225/65R17 tyres has also improved, with a suppleness that was missing last time.

But foibles remain unfortunately.

Where is the digital speedometer? The existing analogue item is a little too busy to read in a hurry. The front passenger cushion lacks a height adjuster – a conspicuous item missing in a $40K-plus vehicle. Why are there no face-level airvents for rear-seat occupants? And does the trim back there have to remain so drab?Sampled over the rural roads in and around the Healesville area just outside of Melbourne, we also found the suspension on the Akera fitted with 225/55R19 rubber to be a bit too firm over broken surfaces. At least CX-5 buyers now have a more comfortable option available to them in the cheaper models.

We drove the larger of the two four-cylinder petrol engine choices – the 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre naturally aspirated unit – and found the acceleration to be brisk and the performance delivery smooth across the driving spectrum.

The inclusion of a Sport mode for the slick and responsive six-speed auto transmission is a success, as it quickens reactions a bit, holding the gears longer than normal over hilly roads for a more involving experience. This is still a class-leading powertrain choice.

Equally notable is the 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel powerplant, since it punches strongly once the engine is in its substantial torque zone, pulling away effortlessly and yet with a veneer of refinement you might normally associate with far costlier machinery. No changes were made here and none were needed. The diesel-powered CX-5 is a peach.

Throw in light yet nicely modulated steering, agile handling and excellent all-wheel drive road-holding, and it is clear that the Mazda remains right up there with the Ford Kuga as the driver’s choice out of the mainstream mid-size SUV brigade, but now with less of the road noise that marred the outgoing version somewhat.

So while the 2015 CX-5 Series II isn’t perfect, the improvements made are more than enough to keep it at the pointy end of a class – one that Mazda has helped lift the standards of so significantly over the past three years.

Keep up the great work, Hiroshima.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New CX-5

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

CX-5 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.