The CX-5 is the first of the new generation Mazda vehicles to incorporate their new KODO Soul of Motion design language and SKYACTIV technology. Apparently, the concept takes design cues from abstractions like ‘wings in flight’ and ‘the stare of a cheetah’. Pretty deep, so we’d rather stick to the good looks of the CX-5 and its agility on road.
UPSIDE: Balanced steering feel, Good fuel efficiency, Modest yet practical cabin, AWD option at reasonable price
FLIPSIDE: Engine blares on acceleration, Average cornering skills for 2WD, Highway acceleration questionable
Mazda CX-5 Price
The Mazda CX-5 comes in six variants in the UAE – three each for the Front Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive versions.
Mazda CX-5 GS 2WD – AED 94,750 AWD – AED 99,750
Mazda CX-5 GT 2WD – AED 104,750 AWD – AED 106750
Mazda CX-5 GTX 2WD – AED 110,750 AWD – AED 115,750
The visual greeting of the new Mazda CX-5 is abrupt and upfront, like the grilles of a Maserati or a Dodge that speak the language of sporty aggression. In the least, it adds a truck like solidness to the façade in an otherwise compact and suave design while the rear has been kept very Mazda-like with the oriental eye lamp design.
If you happen to see a bit of the all-new Ford Escape in the Mazda CX5 or otherwise, it is the inevitable coincidence of siblings separated before birth – if that makes any sense, for Mazda had come out of the Ford fledgling camp before the CX-5 was announced as a seminal vehicle in Mazda’s future layout. The fact is, the entire segment now has a little or lot in common. Among them, the SKYACTIV chassis design and the use of high-tensile steel has kept the Mazda CX-5 the lightest by more than 100 kg. Does that make it any more agile than the rest? Let’s take the drive.
[Read the all new Ford Escape review]
Two unique things about the Mazda CX-5 driving dynamics is balance of the steering and the rising beltline. This steering is the right balance between stiff (read sporty) handling and the usually Asian way of over simplifying things. It doesn’t give the feeling of slipping through; it’s a rather measured slide. The road reading is reasonably good, too. Likewise, the design of the windows follows a sporty path upwards, yet never compromising on visibility at any point.
The ride quality is somewhere between firm and soft with the SKYACTIV technology working its way through the chassis and suspension as well. The six-speed gearbox in the CX-5 insists on shuffling for the right gear, before settling down on one. The frequent shifting might be a downer if you bother to notice, but it helps in maintaining the economy as SKYACTIV envisages. The vague name, if oversimplified, can be simply summed up in the 10.2km/L fuel efficiency that marked my drive.
[Learn more about SKYACTIV]
The 2WD and AWD versions:
The two-wheel drive Mazda CX-5 is one of the finest compact SUVs that rides our roads in a straight line. Normal day-to-day handling is easy and comfortable but corners and roundabouts elicit plenty of body roll and leaning, which makes it dubious to tackle curves at high speeds.
Later, behind the AWD version of Mazda CX-5, it was a different day and a different car altogether. The cheetah-inspired headlamps now turned full beam on the agility of the animal itself achieving a handling that is almost sedan-like – living up to the sporty promise the brochure makes.
The new SkyACTIV engine of Mazda is composed and calm at relatively low speeds but hey, where is that sound coming from? The din that drowns conversation, music and even the wind! As it turns out, the gentle 2L engine only needs a nudge to be a boisterous bum, blaring at lower speeds and booming at the higher revs – like a presumptuous sport car. The CX-5 does respond in picking up, but the way it makes a huge noise about it, you don’t want to give in to its sporty delusions. After all, the CX-5 has an output of 162 bhp in the 2WD and 158 bhp in the AWD. Driven by 210 Nm of torque (208 in the AWD), it is good enough for the Mazda CX-5 to move effortlessly to high revs while cruising, but it flattens out too early for any highway challenge.
Cabin and Controls
Mazda has kept the awesomeness of design to the outside and the functionality of it to the interiors. The tidy console and cozy cabin could come across as modest in the flurry of gadgetry that packs contemporary cabins. I should add that the guiding lights inside the cabin are signs of practical consideration – the CD slots, doors and all such access points are lined with a glow!
In my top spec car, the leather seats with heaters were as comfortable as raw leather gets – but it isn’t what you would call refined. The wide-eyed rear view camera was a helpful presence and the CX-5 cabin hosts good music. However, the voice command available was only for the Bluetooth.
The Mazda CX-5 has just about managed to make the long legs at the front and the rear happy, but have made provision for almost class-leading boot space. As long as you stick to the gentleman’s realm, trying to give your family a restful ride, you are in comfort zone. Once you try to squeeze more out of the engine, it backfires and you end up waking up your passengers and the neighborhood in the bargain.
The Essential Mazda CX-5
If you overlook the sporty pretensions of its engine and unsure moves of the gearbox, and focus on the excellent fuel efficiency, balanced space utilization and amiable steering, the CX-5 is priced right in a suddenly overcrowded segment. The vehicle is fun to drive, overall. However, just for those occasions when you push the CX-5 a little further, the AWD is strongly recommended.
Drive Courtesy: Galadari Automobiles
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy/Altas Ali