The Mazda CX-5 is the best-selling SUV in the country thanks to its mid-sized convenience, neat styling, generous equipment levels and sharp entry-level pricing. A recent update addressed some of its few shortfalls - including noise levels - while at the same time boosting the performance of its 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre twin turbo diesel engines.
Read next: 2018 Mazda CX-5 pricing and features
The CX-5 is offered in five specification levels starting with the entry-level Maxx FWD (front-wheel drive), which kicks off the range at $28,690 for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with six-speed manual.
This is the only manual CX-5, with a six-speed automatic version available for an additional $2000.
A third Maxx version is available with all-wheel drive and bigger 2.5-litre engine with six-speed auto.
Read next: Mazda CX-5: 2018 Car of the Year Finalist
The Maxx spec brings plenty of features for its entry-level price, including 7.0-inch touchscreen, cloth seats, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, leather-trimmed gear shifter and steering wheel, LED head and taillights, tinted windows although the 17-inch wheels are steel items lurking behind plastic trims. It also has active safety tech such as low- and medium-speed automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, which lets you know if any traffic or people are approaching from the side while reversing.
Next up is the Maxx Sport FWD ($33,990) with the 2.0-litre/six-speed auto powertrain as standard along with additional features such as more attractive 17-inch alloy wheels, better quality cloth upholstery, stitched dashboard trim, satellite navigation, dual-zone air-conditioning, folding armrest on the rear seat with USB port, dusk-sensing headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
The Maxx Sport is also available with the 2.5-litre petrol engine and all-wheel drive, or with the gutsy 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel also with all-wheel drive.
The next three spec-levels, the Touring, GT and Akera are only available with all-wheel drive with a choice of 2.5-litre petrol or 2.2-litre twin turbo diesel.
The Touring brings front parking sensors, smart-key entry, head-up display, seats trimmed with artificial leather and suede, and heated and auto-folding door mirrors.
The CX-5 GT gains leather upholstery, wood interior trim, heated and power adjusted front seats, sunroof, power-operated tailgate, headlights that shine into corners and bigger 19-inch alloy wheels with sportier low-profile tyres.
The range-topping Akera has all that plus multi-element LED headlights that automatically dim for oncoming traffic, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree parking camera, lane-keeping assist, fatigue alert and automatic emergency braking that works at higher speeds.
- CX-5 Maxx FWD 2.0-litre petrol, manual - $28,690
- CX-5 Maxx FWD 2.0-litre petrol, auto- $30,690
- CX-5 Maxx AWD 2.5-litre petrol, auto - $33,690
- CX-5 Maxx Sport FWD, 2.0-litre petrol, auto -$33,990
- CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD, 2.5-litre petrol, auto - $36,990
- CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD, 2.2-litre diesel, auto - $39,990
- CX-5 Touring AWD, 2.5-litre petrol, auto - $38,590
- CX-5 Touring AWD, 2.2-litre diesel, auto - $41,590
- CX-5 GT AWD, 2.5-litre petrol, auto - $43,590
- CX-5 GT AWD, 2.2-litre diesel, auto, $46,590
- CX-5 Akera AWD, 2.5-litre petrol, auto - $46,190
- CX-5 Akera AWD - 2.2-litre diesel, auto - $49,190
The CX-5 Maxx Sport with the 2.5-litre petrol engine offers a lot of value and versatility. You’ll enjoy the performance lift from the bigger petrol engine, and the AWD will help in sketchy conditions or on trips to the snow. The diesel is tempting, especially after the recent update that brought more power and torque, but it costs a lot more and is not as care free around town.