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Driven: Mazda drops CX-5 prices, upgrades engines

Midnight oil: The flagship CX-5 Akera grade can now be optioned with Mazda’s latest 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder unit that produces 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

More powerful diesel powertrain, reduced pricing headline early Mazda CX-5 update

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Mazda logo3 May 2018

JUST 13 months into its life cycle, Mazda Australia has given the second-generation CX-5 mid-size SUV an update that ushers in upgraded engines, increased standard equipment and reduced pricing.

The CX-5 continues to be offered in 12 variants across five grades, with the mid-range Maxx Sport and Touring dropping in price by $400 apiece, while the flagship GT and Akera variants have been dealt an $800 price cut. Pricing for entry-level Maxx variants carries over.

Similarly, three SkyActiv powertrain options return, but each has been significantly upgraded to improve performance, fuel efficiency, smoothness and quietness.

Mazda’s latest 2.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit adopts an egg-profile combustion chamber, ultra-high-response multi-hole piezo injectors, a higher 14.4:01 compression ratio, sodium-filled exhaust valves and a two-stage twin turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, while torque output is higher in the low to mid range.

As a result, maximum power is up by 11kW, to 140kW at 4500rpm, while peak torque increases by 30Nm, to 450Nm at 2000rpm. Fuel consumption on the combined cycle test drops by 0.3 litres per 100 kilometres, to 5.7L/100km.

Meanwhile, the CX-5’s 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol powerplants share their upgrades, which include reshaped intake ports and pistons, redesigned multi-hole fuel injectors and a new water flow management system with a coolant control valve, while torque output is also higher at all engine speeds.

The 2.5-litre engine also picks up cylinder deactivation technology – first revealed in the upcoming Mazda6 facelift – which disengages two of its four cylinders under light loads, such as when cruising.

Maximum power is up 1kW, to 115kW at 6000rpm, for the 2.0-litre powertrain, while its peak torque holds steady at 200Nm at 4000rpm. Comparatively, the 2.5-litre unit produces 140kW and 252Nm, up 1Nm, at the same engine speeds. The former still drinks 6.9L/100km, while the latter sips 7.4L/100km, down 0.1L/100km.

As before, the 2.2-litre diesel and 2.5-litre petrol are only available with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, while the front-wheel-drive-only 2.0-litre petrol is offered with a six-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission.

While standard equipment levels for the Maxx, Maxx Sport and GT grades remain the same, the Touring and Akera grades add a windscreen-projected head-up display and a 360-degree camera – a Mazda first – respectively.

Speaking to journalists at the CX-5 national media launch in Springrange, New South Wales this week, Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi explained the company’s rationale behind updating the CX-5 so early in its life cycle.

“In the true Mazda spirit, we are always striving for improvements, innovation and evolution,” he said.

“It’s our strong belief in the life of the combustion engine and a firm commitment to our vision for sustainability that sees Mazda in a constant pursuit of better – better performance, better efficiency, better value for the customer and, ultimately, a better drive.

“We are constantly looking to further refine and enhance SkyActiv technology.

And as soon as this technology becomes available, we do want to pass the benefits onto the customers – this is why we’re already updating the Mazda CX-5.”

Mazda Australia expects to sell about 2000 upgraded CX-5s per month in the first year, with the Maxx Sport grade to account for 33 per cent of these sales, followed by the GT (23 per cent), Akera (20 per cent), Touring (15 per cent) and Maxx (nine per cent) grades.

The 2.5-litre petrol is forecast to be the most popular powerplant, with a 58 per cent share of CX-5 sales, followed by the 2.0-litre petrol (27 per cent) and 2.2-litre diesel (15 per cent).

The manual gearbox is only expected to have a two per cent sales share, while all-wheel drive is forecast to be the dominant drivetrain choice, at 73 per cent.

Sales of the CX-5 have already been strong this year, with 6604 examples sold to the end of March, representing a 10.6 per cent increase over the 5973 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.

This effort places the Mazda first in the sub-$60,000 mid-size-SUV segment, followed by the Nissan X-Trail (5794 units), Toyota RAV4 (5573), Hyundai Tucson (4625), Honda CR-V (4538) and Mitsubishi Outlander (3995), among others.

“Looking specifically at the SUV segment, Mazda CX-5 is a clear winner having held the top spot in this segment in the market for the last five years,” Mr Bhindi added.

“Since its 2012 sales launch, we have seen steady growth in line with our projections, amassing more than 140,000 sales to date. This is a result we are very, incredibly proud of, and again it’s a testament to Mazda’s focus on evolution and innovation.

“The CX-5 continues to be in-demand and desirable in Australia. It stands apart from competitors with class-leading quality and styling and now even better efficiency and performance thanks to this most recent upgrade.”

Specifically, the range-opening Maxx grade is available with the 2.0-litre petrol – either with the manual gearbox ($28,690 before on-road costs) or automatic transmission ($30,690) – and the 2.5-litre petrol ($33,690).

Maxx equipment levels extend to 17-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, power-folding side mirrors, black cloth upholstery, a 7.0-inch MZD Connect infotainment system, digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, keyless start, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a reversing camera, and front and rear low-speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

The automatic-only Maxx Sport grade is offered with the 2.0-litre ($33,990) and 2.5-litre ($36,990) petrols, and the 2.2-litre diesel ($39,990), with it adding 17-inch alloy wheels, front LED foglights, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, satellite navigation and a rear centre armrest with a USB port.

Stepping up to the Touring grade, with its 2.5-litre petrol ($38,590) or 2.2-litre diesel ($41,590), further adds heated side mirrors, black Maztex artificial leather/black synthetic-suede upholstery, keyless entry, front parking sensors and traffic sign recognition.

The GT grade is available with the 2.5-litre petrol ($43,590) or 2.2-litre diesel ($46,590), and also includes 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive headlights, a power tailgate, a power glass sunroof, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat with memory function, a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, black or Pure White leather upholstery and a 249W 10-speaker Bose sound system.

Meanwhile, the Akera grade assumes flagship responsibilities with its 2.5-litre petrol ($46,190) or 2.2-litre diesel ($49,190), exclusively featuring adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, high beam assist, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist and high-speed autonomous emergency braking.

Eight paint colours are on offer, including Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Eternal Blue Mica, Machine Grey Metallic, Sonic Silver Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica and Jet Black Mica.

2018 Mazda CX-5 pricing*
Maxx 2.0-litre petrol FWD$28,690(N/A)
Maxx 2.0-litre petrol FWD (a)$30,690(N/A)
Maxx 2.5-litre petrol AWD (a)$33,690(N/A)
Maxx Sport 2.0-litre petrol FWD (a)$33,990(-$400)
Maxx Sport 2.5-litre petrol AWD (a)$36,990(-$400)
Maxx Sport 2.2-litre diesel AWD (a)$39,990(-$400)
Touring 2.5-litre petrol AWD (a)$38,590(-$400)
Touring 2.2-litre diesel AWD (a)$41,590(-$400)
GT 2.5-litre petrol AWD (a)$43,590(-$800)
GT 2.2-litre diesel AWD (a)$46,590(-$800)
Akera 2.5-litre petrol AWD (a)$46,190(-$800)
Akera 2.2-litre diesel AWD (a)$49,190(-$800)
*Excludes on-road costs

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