The Mazda CX-5 was so popular it snared almost one in every five medium SUV buyers. It’s a hotly-contested market though, and from the Holden Captiva to the Nissan X-Trail there’s no shortage of rivals for the CX-5.
Price and features
Coming in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions priced from $27,890, the most basic CX-5, the Maxx, comes pretty well equipped. The list includes cruise control, a reversing camera, a touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity, tyre pressure sensors, keyless entry, a fuel-saving stop-start engine system, electronic stability control and six airbags.
Even the most basic CX-5 comes fitted with a low-speed collision mitigation system that can automatically jump on the brakes to avoid running into the car in front, and a blind-spot monitor.
Versions of the CX-5 come fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox (the cheapest one is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox), and the choice of either a 2.0-litre or a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine or a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel.
Model grades include the entry-level Maxx, Maxx Sport, GT and range-topping Akera grades that bump CX-5 prices out to slightly more than $50,000.
Pros and cons
It’s roomy inside, featuring a 403-litre boot that expands to 1560 litres with the rear seats folded down flat. Another positive virtue is the CX-5’s excellent roadholding – you get the feeling that the people who engineered this car are keen drivers.
A reversing camera may be standard across the range, but front and rear parking sensors are not. That said, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring are factory-issue across the whole CX-5 range, and so is autonomous emergency braking (AEB). Note, however, that the high-spec CX-5 GT and Akera receive a more capable version of AEB, rather than the purely low-speed system of the Maxx and Maxx Sport.
One negative is the CX-5’s age. An all-new version of the Mazda CX-5 is due on sale in Australia at the end of March, promising even more refinement than before. The engine and gearbox combinations are likely to remain the same for the second-generation SUV, although improvements in safety and driver support systems – such as a head-up display – are likely. If you can wait, it may be worth holding out for the new-generation model
The one to get
The mid-range CX-5 Sport Maxx is the sweet spot when it comes to model grades. Compared to the entry-level CX-5 Maxx, it scores niceties like fog lamps, rain sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control and satellite navigation, as well as the added versatility of a 40/20/40 split fold rear seat.
In terms of powertrains, while the 2.2-litre diesel engine has commendable long-distance economy – great if you do regular highway runs – it’s the 2.5-litre petrol that’s the nicest motor for day-to-day use. Unfortunately you can only have that engine with an all-wheel drive powertrain, which jacks up the cost, but the tradeoff is excellent tractability, refinement and decent economy.