During the 2017 Manila International Auto Show, Mazda showed off its second generation CX-5. However, it will take some time before it is launched in Malaysia.
In the meantime, Malaysians will have to make do with the first generation model, which has already undergone a facelift. We took the refreshed CX-5 2.5 litre AWD (all-wheel drive) variant and its 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D two-wheel drive brethren for a test drive to see how the two fare against each other.
The Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover that shares the same platform with Mazda3 and Mazda6. It was the first vehicle featuring the company’s full Skyactiv Technology suite, a solid yet lightweight platform combined with fuel efficiency.
It came as no surprise that the CX-5 has been Mazda’s best-selling crossover. It has won quite a number of automotive awards worldwide through the years, including ‘Car of the Year’ Japan Award for 2012, the Autobytel 2012 Crossover of the Year; the International Federation of Automotive Journalists 2012 SUV of the Year of the Americas, and the ASEAN Car of The Year - Best Compact SUV Award for 2015.
The facelifted 2016 Mazda CX-5 2.5-litre AWD variant and the Mazda CX-5 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D two-wheel drive variant. Both variants came with refreshed grille, projector fog lights, front parking sensors, self-levelling LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, adaptive front-lighting system, LED tail lights and 19-linch wheels.
From the exterior view, it is hard to differentiate from in terms of looks. The only way one may tell the difference is by the SkyActiv emblem on the boot of the vehicle. The diesel variant comes with a SkyActiv-D emblem, with the D, red in colour.
The petrol variant Mazda CX-5 is powered by a 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 184 horsepower (hp) at 5,700rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 4,000rpm, while the diesel variant has a 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine, churns out 173hp at 4,500rpm and 420 Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Both are mated to a 6-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission.
Both interiors came with leather seats, electric-powered driver seats with lumbar support, redesigned air-conditioner control switches, gear lever, electronic parking brake, Mazda’s MZD Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen and control knob. The petrol variant has a more responsive Sport mode, with a easy to switch Sports mode button.
The biggest differences between the diesel specification model compared to the petrol variant are in the safety features. The CX-5 diesel variant gets a range of i-ActivSense driver assist systems, which includes Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) added on top of the CX-5 petrol variant’s six airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with emergency brake assist (EBD), tyre pressure monitor, emergency stop signal, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and traction control.
Both CX-5s are about 4,555mm in length, 1,840mm width, with a height of 1,670mm and a 2,700mm wheelbase. They both offer boot capacities of 403-litres and have about 58-litres of fuel tank capacity.
This complete knocked down (CKD) petrol model is priced at RM166,266.70 for solid colours and RM166,666.70 for metallic colours, while the diesel model is priced at RM161,529 and the metallic colours cost RM161,929. All prices quoted include Goods and Services Tax, without insurance, and both come with a three-year warranty and a three-year free maintenance.
We managed to clock about 950km on the CX-5 petrol variant and around 450km on the diesel model. We drove on highways, city, urban, rough and damaged road conditions. The suspensions absorbed most conditions well but the bigger potholes were felt.
The 2.5-litre engine SkyActiv-G direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine lacks pick up and top speed. It took a little longer time for it to reach 110 kilometres per hour (kph). Meanwhile, its diesel variant felt the opposite of the petrol variant. The 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine is very powerful in terms of pick-up and has no problem to achieve its top speed.
Both transmissions was very smooth on gear changes without any jerks. Being a sports utility vehicle (SUV), we was surprised that it sits firmly and comfortably even on high-speed corners. The suspension set up has the right balance between of stiffness and softness. The handling is light and it minimises body-roll during sharp corners.
In terms of noise, we find that at low speed, the SUV was quiet, but at high speed, the tyre noise and the wind noise was loud. The engine was roaring loudly above 3,200 rpm too for the petrol variant. As for the diesel variant, the tyre, wind and engine noise was low and under control.
We find that the infotainment system on both units was very user friendly. All features such as USB, AUX, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation system and reverse camera can easily be controlled by a commander control located next to the gear lever. The sound system of the two units was pretty clear in clarity and the treble was great, but it lacks bass. Another satisfying aspect of the CX5 other than the spacious interior, was the air-conditioner, it was very cold, definitely suitable for our hot weather.
With the petrol variant, we managed to clock 7.2 to 7.6 litres per 100km when we cruise below 100kph on a highway. On an average city and highway driving, the CX-5 recorded 8.3 to 9.6 litres per 100km. After being driven aggressively, it registered about 10.6 to 12.8 litres per 100km.
As for the diesel variant, we clocked 4.6 to 5.2 litres per 100km while we cruised on a highway below 110kph. On a mixture of highway and city driving, it consumed about 6.4 to 7.8 litres per 100km. After a pedal to the metal session, it registered about 11.8 to 13kph.
Overall, we find that the CX-5 is suitable for Malaysian buyers who are looking for a medium-size SUV. It’s comfortable, spacious and has a pretty decent cargo space. However, there are a few points that Mazda could improve on such as providing both models an Auto Door Lock function when the SUV travels above 15kph, and also providing blind spot warning features that would improve the safety aspects of the CX-5 petrol variant.
Another aspect of the CX-5 can improve is having a few 12-volt power-sockets to charge some small electrical items. Both of the CX-5 should also come with ambient lights to enhance the elegant and luxurious interior. If we have to choose between the two units, we would pick the 2.2 diesel variant for its additional safety features as well as the fuel efficiency.