2015 Mazda CX-5 road test review | Feeling revitalised
IF THOSE in the hot seats at Mazda have heard the idiom if it ain't broke, don't fix it, they are certainly paying it no heed, opting instead to give a sure thing its wings.
The CX-5, a runaway success story since it arrived in Australia in 2012, has not only won a barrelful of plaudits for the brand, it has excelled where it counts most, racking up almost 60,000 sales in just three years.
Not content to sit back and let it make the running, Mazda is offering a newly face- lifted, somewhat revitalised edition of the CX-5 on sale from February 1, as it strives to continue its dominance of the medium SUV segment. Changes vary from the cosmetic to the practical, with designers adding pep and value while retaining most of those elements which cemented the CX-5's appeal.
Evidence of the new trade agreement with Japan can be seen on the bottom line, with all models but the top spec Akera seeing a drop in price.
The interior of the CX-5 appears less cluttered and more cohesive, a mix of tactile materials and brushed metal highlights doing their bit to lighten up the surrounds as Mazda chases a more upmarket feel.
A new instrument cluster takes pride of place, excluding a digital speedo for now, with cosmetic changes for switches and their surrounds. The electronic parking brake, a new addition, makes the largest impact, with the space saved offering a few more of those invaluable storage options. Larger front door pockets, an open space in front of the gear stick and other nooks and crannies dotted around the console also afford good storage.
The white leather contrasts, a source of pride for Mazda, livens up the interior, offering up a modern touch which, despite its niceties, may not be the most practical choice should you have children.
Redesigned front seats and a longer pew in the rear appear to be more comfortable, although they still don't allow you to totally sink into them, and those with broader shoulders are also at a disadvantage. In fact the driver's seating position is quite high, leaving headroom at a premium.
On the road
The CX-5 retains the Skyactiv powertrains which did duty in the previous edition, with changes to drive quality coming courtesy of a new structure for front and rear dampeners. Work has also been done to improve noise intrusion, with the addition of thicker door glass and extra padding on the engine wall and floor.
The 2.2-litre diesel impressed when we first drove the CX-5 a couple of years ago and continued to live up to expectation this time
round, even with a slight whine, even more so than the 2.5-litre petrol despite the latter now incorporating Sport mode.
The extra lowdown torque of the diesel made a noticeable difference up stronger inclines and while overtaking, adding that extra layer of confidence which can be a boon when you are carrying little children.
In all, the CX-5 offers a comfortable, uncomplicated, flat ride, dipping nicely in and out of corners and easily negotiating urban intricacies. It can, however, feel a little rough over bumps at low speed.
What do you get?
The CX-5 comes equipped with all the niceties we have come to expect from a highly functional modern car, including power windows and mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, climate control, steering-mounted controls, 17.7cm touch-screen display with Bluetooth capability, reverse camera and electric parking brake.
Our Grand Touring model added LED fog-lamps, day-time running lights and headlamps, 19-inch alloys, glass sunroof, power-adjusted front seats, advanced keyless entry and parking sensors. Safety, like the model it replaces, is expected to be five-star thanks to six airbags, anti-lock brakes with EBD, stability and traction control, hill launch assist and emergency stop signal.
Safety has been boosted in the top-of-the- range Akera, with radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, forward obstruction warning, lane-keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, smart brake support and city brake support. A safety pack option (blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and smart city brake support) is available for other models in the range from $1060.
Mazda has made changes to the oil used in the all-wheel-drive system in an attempt to generate better real-world fuel economy. Claimed consumption for the 2.2-litre diesel is 5.7 litres/100km and 7.4L/100km for the 2.5-litre petrol.
It has everything a couple or a young family would need from an urban SUV and even the boot, while not the largest in its class, is easily workable. But while the MZD Connect infotainment system may be all the rage in terms of on-trend technology, I am not a big fan of the operating dials taking up space in the centre console.
Neither am I enamoured by the side mirrors, which are perched in front of the A-pillar and shaped in a way which sometimes makes it difficult to see.
Much has been done to ensure the exterior of this updated CX-5 continues to grab the interest. A new front grille with bold horizontal lines is the most immediate point of difference, with changes too to the LED headlamps with a sharper redesigned signature expression.
Mazda has done well to stay on the front foot. This revitalised CX-5, with its impressive tweaks both inside and out, is a fine example of how little things can make a world of difference.
What matters most
What we liked: Funky exterior, better storage, dynamic package
What we'd like to see: A bit more oomph in the petrol, air vents in the rear, consistent switchgear quality.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year or 100,000 kilometre warranty with servicing every 10,000km. Capped price servicing is available, with average price for petrol models is $307 and $312, diesel is $344.
Model: Mazda CX-5.
Details: Five-door, two or all-wheel drive medium SUV.
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 114kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 200Nm @ 4000rpm; 2.5-litre in-line four-cylinder petrol 138kW @ 5700rpm and 250Nm at 4000rpm; 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 129kW@4500rpm and peak torque of 420Nm @ 2000rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 6.8L/100km (combined average); 7.4L/100km; 5.7L/100km
Bottom line: 2.0 petrol FWD - Maxx (m) $27,190 Maxx (a) $29,190 Maxx Sport (a) $32,790. 2.5 petrol - AWD Maxx (a) $32,190 Maxx Sport (a) $35,790 GT (a) $43,390 Akera (a) $47,410. 2.2 diesel - AWD Maxx Sport (a) $38,990 GT (a) $46,590 Akera (a) $50,610.