The least costly CX-5 is the Maxx FWD. It comes with the less powerful, 2.0-litre petrol engine, a manual gearbox, front-wheel drive, cloth seats, 17-inch steel wheels, and the features common to all CX-5s. An auto gearbox is an extra-cost option. Spend more money and you can have a Maxx AWD, which has the more powerful, 2.5-litre, petrol engine and drives all four wheels.
For a little more than a Maxx AWD you could have instead a Maxx Sport FWD. It reverts to front-drive and the smaller engine, but it comes standard with auto transmission, looks and feels better, and has more equipment.
On the outside the Maxx Sport wears nicer looking alloy wheels. Inside, there is a different, dark cloth on the seats and a more appealing dashboard finish – complete with fake stitching. The touchscreen displays satellite navigation. Rear passengers gain a folding centre armrest that holds a USB outlet, from which they can charge mobile devices. Dual-zone air-conditioning lets the driver and front passenger set preferred ventilation temperatures, and dedicated vents carry cooling or heating to those in the back. Headlights switch on automatically when it’s dark, and windscreen wipers operate automatically when it rains.
For more money you can have a Maxx Sport AWD, with the 2.5-litre petrol engine. And for a bit more again, you can have AWD and the diesel engine.
The remaining three grades in a CX-5 are Touring, GT, and Sport. None of these is available in FWD: it is auto and AWD only, with either the bigger petrol engine or the diesel.
Choose a CX-5 Touring and you gain parking sensors at the front, and smart-key entry (which lets you unlock the car and drive away without taking the key from your bag or pocket). A head-up display projects information on the windscreen near your line of sight, including speed, blind-spot and navigation details as well as Mazda’s Traffic Sign Recognition, which displays the last speed-limit you passed. Seats are finished in a mix of fake leather (it’s marketed as Maztex) and fake suede. Heated exterior mirrors power-fold automatically against the body when you park, to keep them out of harm’s way.
Spend some more for a CX-5 GT and the interior will be trimmed in real leather (you can choose black or white), with wood on the dashboard and doors. Both front seats are heated and power-adjustable, and the driver’s seat remembers your settings. There’s a sunroof, and both it and the tailgate power-open. Headlights adjust to shine into corners, and the wheels are bigger 19-inch items shod with lower-profile tyres that look a bit racier.
The most expensive CX-5, the Akera, adopts the GT’s features and finishes but has more sophisticated headlights, radar cruise control, 360-degree parking monitor, and more crash-avoidance technology.
The headlights use multi-element LEDs, and at night dip for oncoming drivers only those parts of the high beam that might dazzle them – leaving you a bright view of the road to either side.
The radar cruise control can hold you at your preferred gap from a slower vehicle in front, until you can overtake. It now operates down to a standstill, which is meant to make driving in heavy traffic less of a chore.
On the crash-avoidance front, the auto braking works at high speeds, and there is lane-keeping assistance and a fatigue alert. (For more on these systems, please open the Safety section below.)