Top Margin Menu

Mazda CX-5 review

New Compact SUV With A Fight On Its Hands
Mazda CX-5 review 2012

“Skyactiv” Really Means “Well Honed”

Mazda Says Hybrids, Electric Cars Not Practical; Yet
Well-Engineered Diesel, Petrol Engines The Way To Go
*** out of 5

For – impressive all rounder
Against – not enough to stand out from the crowd

INVERNESS, Scotland – Mazda has entered the compact SUV market with its new CX-5 and it will have to win out over some stiff competition to attract buyers.

Leading contenders are the VW Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Audi Q3, BMW X1 and my personal favourite, the Kia Sportage (*****). Every manufacturer worth its salt has a formidable player in this market so what unique appeal does the CX-5 have to make it stand out?

CX-5 prices start at £21,395, but you can bet that any manufacturer in these straitened times, even BMW, will be happy to slash prices to secure the sale. The CX-5 looks nice without being particularly handsome, which makes it attractive compared with the pug-ugly BMW and the dowdy VW, but the Kia is the clear winner if it’s a cute-ute you want. And then there’s the guarantee; Kia is the winner again with its seven year warranty.

Mazda CX-5 review 2012

Mazda thinks it has an ace card to play; its Skyactiv technology. I can’t imagine why Mazda came up with this name because it has nothing to do with the Sky or being active. It simply describes Mazda’s attempt to shed weight and gain efficiency by redesigning all aspects of the car from the pistons to the seats. Mazda reckons it can get away with eschewing hybrids and electric vehicles at least until about 2020, because neither of these technologies can yet offer a convincing case to justify the extra expense. The weight saved and efficiencies Mazda is creating with Skyactiv will save fuel and expense for its buyers. That’s the theory.

Mazda CX-5 review 2012

One claim Mazda makes is 61.4 mpg for one of its 2.2 litre diesel engines. The trouble with fuel efficiency claims is that buyers are now very wary because of manufacturer’s false claims in the past. Because car makers hide behind European Union testing procedures, buyers are now acutely aware that 60 mpg really means 40 mpg on a good day. Take off a third if you want to get close to what the car will do in the real world. That might be unfair on Mazda, but we await reports from the “real world” to find out if this claim is believable.

There are 18 variations on the CX-5 theme, including a 165 hp petrol engine and two diesels with 150 or 175 hp. The 150 seemed almost as powerful as the 175 version, pulling well from low speeds, but was not too happy in top gear at low speeds. You can choose two or four-wheel drive, six speed manual or six-shift automatic. The standard specification includes a system which automatically brakes the car at speeds up to 20 mph to avoid slow speed shunts in traffic or at roundabouts. Every version has Stop-Start.

Mazda CX-5 review 2012

Mazda is especially proud of its Skyactiv automatic transmission which “brings together the best attributes of conventional step automatic transmissions, continuously variable transmissions and dual clutch transmissions , resulting in strong fuel economy, a direct and engaging feel, smooth and quick shifts with prompt responses.”

I can’t attest to the fuel economy claim, but the shift was swift and impressive

There are four equipment levels – SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, integrated Bluetooth  system, cruise control, 5.8-inch colour display screen and Mazda’s Multimedia Commander. Other standard equipment across the range includes front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass and push button start.

The CX-5 drives well, with tight steering, good body control and comfortable, compliant ride. The interior is of good quality with the best materials, but is desperately bland.

After owning two MX-6 coupes over six years I’m a confirmed Mazda fan. Mazdas are bullet-proof rugged and dependable. But in this category, the Kia Sportage remains my five-star pick, although the Volvo XC-60 comes close.

Mazda CX-5 review 2012

(Mazda provided flight, hotel)

Neil Winton – May 20, 2012

 Mazda CX-5 2.2 SE-L Nav Auto
Engine:2,191 cc 4-cylinder diesel
150 hp @ 4,500
380 Nm @ 1,800-2,600
six speed automatic
all wheels
Acceleration:0-62 mph/100 km/h – 10.2 seconds
Top Speed:121 mph-195 km/h
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined – 51.4 mpg-5.5 l/km
CO2:144 g/km
Emissions class:
Euro VI!
Length:4,555 mm
Insurance Group:
Boot capacity:
503/1,620 litres
Competition:VW Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Audi Q3, BMW X1, Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Jeep Compass, Vauxhall Antara, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti, Hyundai ix35, Chevrolet Captiva, Volvo-XC60
For:impressive all rounder
Against:not enough to stand out from the crowd
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Site Designed and Administered By Paul Cox Photographic