Throughout my motoring career, one vehicle has eluded me, the Mazda CX-5. It was for this reason that I put in the effort to get behind the wheel of one. I see many of them on the road so it must be a good product; it was time to find out. What arrived was the flagship 2.2DE AWD Akera model.
I have always felt that the Mazda CX-5 is a handsome machine and the latest offering has just refined the KODO design language which Mazda introduced on the first-generation CX-5. The new model, however, features a streamline front design with a large grille flanked by slim headlights. The design is neat and chrome elements add further visual appeal. At the rear, the Mazda features the same clutter-free design as the front. Slim taillights feature on a neatly designed rear with dual chrome exhausts pipes. The model which I sampled rode on 19-inch alloy wheels which completed the look.
The interior of the Mazda CX-5 is also impressive with a high standard being placed on fit and finish. The layout of the facia is also commendable and ergonomic. Atop the dashboard is an infotainment screen which is controlled via a rotary dial on the centre console. The system, however, is Apple CarPlay compatible which is something which I quite like because it takes away the hassle of dealing with complex vehicle infotainment operating systems. The Mazda is full of impressive technology though, first off there is a sliding-and-tilt sunroof, a BOSE sound system with 10 speakers, 6 airbags, parking sensors front and rear, blind-spot monitoring (BSM), lane departure warning (LDW), lane-keeping assist (LKA), smart city brake support (SCBS), adaptive LED headlights (ALH), driver attention alert (DAA), head-up-display, satellite navigation and a power lift tailgate. As for practicality the Mazda CX-5 offers around 442-litres of boot space which can be increased to 1914-litres when you fold the rear seats down.
Under the hood of the model which I drove was a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine which develops an impressive 140kW and 450Nm of torque. This particular CX-5 also features a 6-speed automatic gearbox as well as all-wheel drive. Add in the 185mm of ground clearance and the CX-5 will be able to handle your active lifestyle. The peak torque comes in at around 2000rpm which makes overtaking relatively easy. Mazda does, however, claim 5.7l/100km; I, on the other hand, managed to average around 8.4l/100km over my week-long stint.
There are some issues with the CX-5 though, for starters while I like the design some might find it boring. It seems as though sporty bumpers and low profile tyres are held in high regard these days – think Volkswagen Tiguan. I also think that a 6-speed automatic gearbox is a bit outdated for 2020. Other than those two slight issues (if you can call them that) the Mazda CX-5 is a really good product.
After a week with the car, using it in various applications I found it to be comfortable, relatively good on fuel, practical and easy to live with. I enjoyed driving it; it didn’t disappoint. It does, however, cost R634 000 but for that, you get all the bells and even more whistles. Unfortunately, the Mazda finds itself in a segment that is highly competitive, price-sensitive and brand loyal. Is it worth a look? Absolutely.