The Mazda CX-5 has grown in popularity here in South Africa and it continues to do so even amongst its tough competitors. This is hands-down one of my favourite cars on the market and with a teeny tiny update, it just continues to get better and better.
Nothing much has changed on the modern and sleek exterior except for a colour change for the 17-inch alloy wheels available on the Active derivatives and a new wheel design on the 19-inch alloy wheels from the Dynamic model. But it didn’t need much of a change, it’s maintaining its modern looks and remains recognisable as Mazda’s flagship SUV offering.
Inside has seen a few more tweaks here and there, the most significant being Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which is now standard across the range. There is also a new air-conditioner panel pattern, chrome accents introduced to door mirror and window dials as well as redesigned commander and volume controls.
The cabin continues to impress with its soft touch materials and feel of quality. The infotainment system, now with its standard connectivity features, is right up there with most of its competitors. It is easy to use and comprehensive.
With 422-litres of boot space, the luggage bay might be a tad small for some. But the space for rear passengers is really good. I had three adults in the back and all reported to be very comfortable. It wasn’t for a long journey, but hopping in and out of the car as we hit all the olive farms in and around Riebeek Kasteel, proved to be a comfy experience for all involved.
The cabin noise, or lack thereof, meant that conversations were easily heard by all. And the ride was so smooth that a few heads kept nodding off between olive farms.
The eight-range local line-up remains unchanged and includes a choice of a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel. Front- and all-wheel-drive variants are offered.
We were in the flagship model and so it came with all the bells and whistles. The 2.2-litre engine with its outputs of 129 kW and 420 Nm performed well on the open road and made over taking simple and easy. It is the most expensive of the range, which despite what you may think, doesn’t always mean it is the best model. But in this case, it really is. With that said, the naturally aspirated models make up the bulk of the sales which goes to show they are still very popular. If you can stretch your budget to the turbodiesel, you will be the happier for it.
This car offers everything you need in a family car all wrapped up in a rather attractive package. It is practical enough, spacious enough, powerful enough and the overall driving experience is one that I truly enjoy. I was sad to give it back and if I had the need to buy a car right now, this would certainly be near the top of my list.
Pricing of the new Mazda CX-5 starts at R398 300 and hits R586 100 for the flagship AWD model.