The Mazda CX-5 is probably the product with the most projection within the Hiroshima brand. The large SUV remains one of the best-sellers within Mazda (specifically the third), exceeding half a million units in Europe alone.
It is not much if we compare it with other rivals in the segment, but it has special importance and charisma for the Japanese manufacturer. So we have been able to verify it in the recent contact test with the latest update of the Mazda CX-5.
This specimen has been on the market since 2012 and has been improving on many points since then. Now we are with a facelift of the second generation, which has been emphasized on some aspects such as the equipment (with new safety elements) or the mechanical range (with more off-road capabilities).
There is no lack of obligatory aesthetic revision, quite restrained to maintain the philosophy of the model or tweaks at the chassis level. It is already available in our market for 30,900 $.
Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 hp Review
On an aesthetic level, the new Mazda CX-5 presents a continuous evolution in which the main lines of its predecessor are maintained. The most notable thing happens at the front, where we find a wing-shaped grille, characteristic of the brand, with a more three-dimensional layout and a more elaborate design. You can have a color accent on one side, depending on the finish. On both sides, there are narrow headlights that can optionally be adaptive Smart Full LED (ALH), which are more precise than the previous ones as they have 20 modules instead of 12.
There is a new body color for the SUV, called Zircon Sand, in addition to renewed designs and various colors for the standard 19-inch wheels, which change color and design depending on the chosen finish. The wheel arches and underbody are covered in black plastic to emphasize its crossover vocation (except in the Signature trim). At the same time, the sharp shape of the C-pillar is striking, accentuated by chrome molding on its bottom.
The rear is probably the part that changes the least on the model. It maintains that high waist that defines it and starts at the top with a small roof spoiler. The central area of the gate does not change too much, just in the light Signature of its LED taillights, which maintain the circular shape at the ends and sharp towards the center. The lower part is dominated by a kind of diffuser that houses the exhaust outlet(s), which we are pleased to say are always real and functional.
The measurements remain practically unchanged since the platform of this model has not changed, and the redesign of the bumpers is slight. That leaves us with the Mazda CX-5 that fits into the large SUV segment thanks to a length of 4,575 mm, a width of 1,845 mm, and a height of 1,685 mm. The wheelbase goes up to 2,700 mm to offer a spacious and usable cabin.
When we enter the cabin, it is even more perceived that it is a slight update of the model and not a generational change. The design and layout of the controls remain completely unchanged, introducing some modifications at the technological level. The main one is the new 10.25-inch screen, which gains horizontally and presents much better-resolved graphics. It stands out for being at a high height so as not to divert your eyes too much from the road.
Also, for its ease of use, following Mazda’s philosophy. It is not tactile as is usual in other models; it is controlled from the roulette wheel and the buttons on the central console in a fairly simple way. And precisely in that area, we see an important novelty of this copy because now it has a wireless charging surface in the center console, showing that they are very focused on connectivity. Of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still wired.
As always, the driving position is one of the areas most pampered by Mazda. The CX-5 debuts new seats that accommodate the body perfectly and manage to reduce fatigue despite many kilometers being covered. The driving position is high, as you would expect from an SUV. You can see mixed instrumentation formed by a 7-inch screen that shows the information from the onboard computer. It can also be completed with a large and legible Head-Up Display.
And, without a doubt, one of the details that make the Mazda CX-5 stand out is quality. We find robust and well-resolved finishes above the vast majority of generalists and somewhat below some premiums. The materials are well cared for, especially in finishes like the Newground that we carry and which has a striking mixed upholstery with contrasting stitching (in the lime green of the aerator trim) or a padded dashboard. Piano Black is maintained in some areas of the center console and a less pleasant touch plastic.
The interior space is quite good, especially in the front seats, with plenty of room for heads. The second row is not bad at all, being more or less in the middle of the segment with acceptable legroom and headroom. As in others, the central square is a bit more compromised due to its lack of shape and having a transmission tunnel. However, when not in use, the backrest can be removed and used as an armrest and even USB sockets.
The trunk changes its capacities slightly, which means that it offers up to 522 liters of cargo, which is 16 liters more than its predecessor and is spread over a very stable surface. Although it is in a somewhat elevated position, the loading mouth is wide, as is usual in these large SUVs. The good thing is that it is flush with the body. One detail we like is the hole under the floor, which adds another 40 liters of capacity. This floor is reversible and is made up of two pieces.
Although it must be clarified that this gap is nothing in the case of equipping the optional Bosé sound system, also, in the Newground finish, the floor has a water-resistant face. As usual, we find hooks and nets to fix the cargo in the trunk and lighting on this surface. Also, the possibility of folding the rear seats in three parts (40:20:40) to achieve a practically flat surface and increase capacity to 1,620 liters.
Some of the great novelties of the Mazda CX-5 happen in the equipment section. Thanks to six trim levels with notable differences and very different personalities, it has one of the complete ranges today. It starts as standard with the Origin, which offers a fairly complete endowment thanks to 19-inch wheels, electric mirrors, LED headlights, a 10.25-inch screen with a Mazda Connect system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto or rearview camera.
The Evolution continues to grow by adding wireless mobile charging, Head-Up Display, instrumentation with a 7-inch screen, electric tailgate, 360º monitor, or intelligent keyless access. But without a doubt, the most interesting is the Newground finish, which introduces a more adventurous vision starting from the Evolution. It has silver Off-Road lower bumpers, 19-inch black wheels, black mirrors, a grille with lime green accents, an interior with faux leather upholstery, more lime green accents, heated seats, or a reversible trunk floor.
The Zenith is the most complete thanks to components such as adaptive Full Led headlights, heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, or cruise control with traffic assistance. And derived from that finish, the Homura is added to mount sporty details in glossy black and accent notes in red. It shows in the grille, underbody, wheel arches, specific 19-inch wheels, and larger exhaust outlets. There is black leather on the seats, the steering wheel, or the door panels in the cabin, with contrasting red stitching.
Top of the range is the Signature, offered in a single-tone exterior with body-color undersides, 19-inch bright silver-finish wheels, brown Nappa leather upholstery, and genuine wood accent molding on both the front and rear seats.
The mechanical range receives a few small tweaks in the new Mazda CX-5. The engines do not change, which are the same as before, and the micro-hybrid (and more advanced) e-Skyactiv X option that we tested in the Mazda 3 is still not equipped. That leaves us with two gasoline options and two others. In diesel, both with traditional combustion and without electrification, for which they carry the DGT label C.
On the gasoline side, the range starts with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Skyactiv-G, which is available with 165 hp and a manual and an automatic gearbox, both with six speeds and only with front-wheel drive in Spain. The top of the range is the 2.5 Skyactiv-G, also naturally aspirated, which reaches 194 horsepower and can only go with the automatic transmission. In this case, you could choose between front or all-wheel drive.
On the part of the diesel, the absolute protagonist is the 2.2 Skyactiv-D, a four-cylinder that is offered with two power levels. Part of 150 CV is always linked to the manual gearbox and front-wheel drive and reaches 184 CV, where it is only available with the automatic transmission. The latter case also offers i-Activ AWD all-wheel drive, which includes an additional Off-Road mode selectable via the Mi-Drive knob.
The first thing we notice when riding the new Mazda CX-5 in its access diesel version, 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 hp with a manual transmission, is the enormous ride quality and comfort during the march. It is not just due to the soundproofing work that has been done on this car since the diesel block is still audible from the inside. In this case, the refinement of the mechanics could be criticized, which does not vibrate, but it is hard, especially when it goes up in revolutions.
It will not happen too often, as it is a fairly traditional engine. We say that referring to its performance, more prominent in low than high. The 380 Nm of torque is available between 1,800 and 2,600 pm so we will have forceful accelerations in that regime. In high, the truth is that there is not much to take out, so the use of the gear lever will not be as pronounced as in the atmospheric gasoline versions.
And that the touch of the manual box is the best we can find in a current SUV. Mazda continues to make boxes with a great feel in a world of mushy, uncommunicative transmissions, with those short, intuitive lever strokes that connect you more closely with the vehicle. In the gasoline, which must be changed more often, the automatic transmission may help, but the manual would be ideal for this diesel.
Although, after reviewing its performance, we have to emphasize that the driving comfort is clearly due to the modifications that have been made at the chassis level in this model update. In the suspension, the springs and dampers have been revised to improve support distribution. This, in practice, translates into a more natural filtration of road irregularities, being comfortable in practically all situations. And the thing does not stop there.
Because we must not forget the dynamism that the Mazda CX-5 has always had in mind, despite being a bulky car, it moves quite well on mountain sections while offering remarkable poise on the highway at high speeds. It must be taken into account that it is a car that weighs practically 1,600 kg, but there are few in that figure that manages to hide it in such a good way.
We did not get to test any version with the all-wheel-drive because sales will be residual in our market. However, the CX-5 could venture off the asphalt with some skill with this new Off-Road mode that improves torque management between the wheels. The 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 hp has the advantage of its contained consumption. Although it is a touchdown, and no conclusions can be drawn, it is easy to see it move around 6.5 liters on average, not bad for an SUV in its conditions.
Sometimes it can be not easy to understand that we do not see more Mazda CX-5s on our roads. It is a complete and balanced product, one of the most outstanding in the large SUV segment. In addition, it occupies an intermediate position between the generalists and the premium ones that may interest many. With the update, its design is polished, its equipment is improved, and a conventional but complete mechanical range is maintained. Its dynamic behavior is the best among the crossovers; it is unnecessary to say much more.
Although it is true that, offering so many positive qualities, we find a price above average. With 30,900 euros starting and rates that can reach up to 45,000 euros for a higher-end unit like the one we have tested, it is not a car for all pockets.