Five out of five for the Mazda CX-5

Here’s 5 reasons this Mazda should be at the top of your list.

Words by Stephen Smith

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It seems that the list has become all-powerful these days: 14 Ways to Get Rich’, 9 Easter Escapes, 27 and Eleventy-Twelve Ways Zuma has Ruined Your Day. Every subject seems to be organised into a list for us of the diminished attention span, and a digit simply has to find a way into its heading. So I’ve decided to join the definitely not exclusive list of listers. Since Mazda’s CX-5 is a wonderful vehicle I’d give five out of five stars, here are five things I like about it:

1. The Diesel Engine

I drove the CX-5 for a full day before I got around to looking at the badge on the tailgate, and up until that moment
I wasn’t 100 per cent sure I was driving a diesel. I had a hunch – there was lots of low-down torque, a wide spread of available power, and the engine didn’t rev too high – but I wouldn’t have put my head or anything else on a block about it.

That’s how smooth, quiet and devoid of anything remotely unrefined this turbodiesel unit is. Producing 129kW/420Nm, it’s a smooth and powerful engine that feels more impressive on the road than it seems on paper.

The six-speed automatic gearbox helps with this. There is also a 2-litre petrol engine (121kW/210Nm) and a 2.5-litre petrol engine (141kW/256Nm). Fuel consumption is an impressive 5.8ℓ/100km for the diesel models. Mazda’s Smart Idle Stop System (SISS) is standard across the range and helps in this regard.

2. The Premium Feel

If your abiding memory of Mazda is a 1990s 323, prepare for your mind to be blown. These days, Mazdas
are premium from bumper to bumper, but particularly within the confines of the four doors. As the Akera is the top-of-the-pops CX-5, it comes with more goodies than you really need to make life comfortable and luxurious.

It’s got great leather upholstery, auto climate control, a heads-up display, Bluetooth, cruise-control, a large upright touch screen controlled by a central dial, a Bose 10-speaker sound system, sat-nav, electric tailgate, auto lights and wipers, smart keyless entry and a whole lot more. Finally, the cabin is almost as good as you’d expect from a brand like Audi.

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Mazda CX5

3. The Driveability

Most SUVs are perched higher than sedans, and this causes them to lean out when cornering. Mazda has focussed on athleticism (their marketing speaks of ‘the soul of a sports car’, and its not far off), which means well-controlled body movements and genuine agility on corners. And this isn’t a trade-off against comfort, because the CX-5 is still smooth and comfy over bumps. Only this model is all-wheel drive, as opposed to the rest, which are front-wheel drive, but as a whole they are one of the most fun to drive crossovers.

4. The Looks

See one in the traffic and it demands a second glance – it’s that good looking. To make this ‘all-new’ CX-5 Mazda redesigned every single body panel, modernising and beautifying an already handsome vehicle. Slim headlights and taillights are one big change, while the gaping shark’s maw of a grille is another. As with the agility, there are definite hints of a sports car, such as the bonnet with definition lines sweeping up from the grill, and the roofline that slopes down towards the back.

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Mazda CX5

5. The Safety

A five-star rating from EuroNCAP has been achieved thanks to a host of passive and active safety features. Every model has six built-in SRS airbags, Dynamic Stability Control incorporating Traction Control System, ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution, which optimises braking force according to vehicle load, and Emergency Brake Assist boosting stopping power at just the right time.

There’s also Lane Keep Assist on the Individual and Akera models, which assists by adding a slight amount of torque to steer the vehicle back into the correct lane. Another highlight for me is the lighting system, and Driver Attention Alert on both models helps to reduce driver fatigue. After all, what’s more important in a family vehicle than safety?

Conclusion

By giving the CX-5 five stars I’m not actually suggesting that it’s perfect. I’m suggesting that it is an incredibly good car at a decent price and that it is near the top of its class. If it’s such a comprehensively well-rounded package, does it have any flaws? Well, not many. One thing I would change is the composition of the range, slipping one or two more AWD models into the lineup, with lower trim levels and less powerful engines. Another would be a slightly bigger boot (the sport roofline compromises this).

The starting price for the CX-5 is R382 700, while the turbodiesel AWD automatic model will set you back R561 700. Prices do include a 3-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty and a 3-year service plan.

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