The Mazda CX-5 is the biggest selling SUV in Australia and Mazda has introduced an all-new model with a raft of improvements to bolster that popularity. While the mechanical package is an evolution of the outgoing model, the second-generation CX-5 addresses many of its predecessor’s shortcomings such as road noise and ageing interior.
One level up from the entry level CX-5 Maxx, the Maxx Sport tested here is expected to be one the biggest sellers due to an impressive range of standard features and interior finishes, and a lively powertrain including an economical 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. We test drove the front-wheel-drive version with six-speed automatic transmission priced from $34,452.
- Noise vibration and harshness (NVH) is noticeably reduced compared to the previous model, though it only matches some of its competitors in this regard without setting any new benchmarks.
- It’s a lot more fun to drive than the previous generation CX-5 with dynamic steering, a smooth drivetrain and a Sport mode that isn’t afraid to keep the revs up when needed.
- The dashboard is elegant and clutter free with the tombstone-style infotainment screen that’s already a fixture in other Mazda models. The leather-grain soft-touch plastics and stitching adds to the sophistication.
- Front seats comfort is great, with good back and side support.
- The fold down centre arm rest at the back has a compartment fitted with two USB ports and space to hold a couple of mobile phones. Perfect for gadget-obsessed kids.
- Rear passengers also have their own air vents. And the rear door open almost 90 degrees to make getting in and out easier.
- The parcel shelf lifts all the way up flush with the tailgate so it doesn’t get in the way of bulky items.
- While the exterior isn’t a huge departure from the previous model, the new look is refreshing and includes a Jaguar F-Type-esque mesh grille, sleek LED headlights, and shark fin antenna.
- Ride is a little jostling and the suspension lacks the notable suppleness of the CX-9.
- The rear seat doesn’t offer much in the way of under-thigh support
- The high door line means less outward vision from the rear seats compared to airy competitors such as the Subaru Forester and Volkswagen Tiguan.
- The Maxx Sport FWD doesn’t come with a manual transmission option.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
The medium SUV segment is full of well-equipped contenders in the low-$30k price range including the Kia Sportage SLi, Toyota RAV4 GXL, Hyundai Tucson Active X, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape and Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Trendline. An all-new Honda CR-V is also due in showrooms soon.