Driven: Mazda CX-5

“Let’s talk about the Mazda CX-5. Or let’s try to.”
Kelly Lodewyks finds it very difficult to review vehicles in this SUV segment. Here’s why.

There are all shapes, sizes, brands and prices. And if I’m honest, there’s very little setting the established competitors apart from one another other than the most minute details. And the badge of course.

In a segment that is also home to the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Toyota Rav4, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and so many more, the Mazda CX-5 certainly has its work cut out.

How does it look?
It’s typically Mazda. The Japanese company has done well to ensure a cohesive design across the brand. You will never mistake a modern Mazda for anything else.

The CX-5 has that wide Mazda nose that we’ve become accustomed to. The entire package is in line with Mazda’s KODO design language. And while it’s been around for quite some time, it’s a design language that has ensured that all Mazda vehicles continue to look fresh and modern – even with newer competitors being added to the market all the time.

I’ve always liked this Mazda design language – save for the Mazda5 and the BT-50 (although the latter has grown on me somewhat). It’s something different from the norm. Although now with its competitors bringing out their sharpest design pencils for new vehicles, it might be time for a new look or at least some tweaks.

What’s under the bonnet?
Our test unit is home to a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit that is mated with a six-speed automatic. I really wished this was turbocharged, but Mazda seems to have an aversion to turbocharged engines.

As a result, this combination was loud and revved rather high. And while it’s not enough to scare you off from overtaking or making any quick moves, it’s a bit off putting in a world of turbo and supercharged engines. That being said, however, it works well at cruising speeds.

What’s the full package?
Well, that depends on the model you choose. We had the Carbon Edition on test and this particular model comes with a plethora of features. This includes a head-up display, and a powered tailgate which really comes in handy when you are walking to your car after shopping and can’t open the book with your full hands.

This model comes with Mazda’s infotainment system that’s been coming along for a while now. It could probably use an update, but I found it easy enough to use and get to. There’s a 10-speaker Bose sound system and USB and Bluetooth connectivity options.

Safety comes in the form of six airbags, stability control, ABS ,blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, front and rear parking sensors and so much more.

What’s my verdict?
The Mazda is nice. Like a cup of tea is nice. It’s not necessarily going to excite you, but you will look forward to driving it if you were to own it. While coffee is the drink I need to start my day, tea has its place in my life, to. In anyone’s life. As so does this Mazda. It may not be as exciting as coffee, but that’s not to say that it’s not a worthwhile option.

Quick facts: Mazda CX-5
Engine: 2.0 naturally aspirated, four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed auto
Power: 121kW
Torque: 213Nm
0-100kph: 10.4 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 6.9l/100km

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