Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Mazda CX-5 sticking to its success formula

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:14 AM
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Mazda has continued to push the envelope where refinement and engineering is concerned with there various models. This is most prevalent is the latest iteration of the CX-5, which is now in its second generation.

The first thing that stands out is the elegant and clean design of the front facia which has a large mesh grill and HID headlights that are discretely integrated in a horizontal position below the bonnet. Around the back, some of the panels are softened and there is a double muffler at the base to let persons know that it can deliver power when needed. The Sonic Silver Metallic CX-5 is completed with the 19" alloy rims that give the vehicle adequate ground clearance to drive over most terrains without worrying about damaging the undercarriage.

What's on the inside

The interior of the vehicles is leather, with soft material on the dashboard and a sprinkling of chrome finishes here and there. Even though the company is located in Japan, it is clear they have learnt a few lessons from their European counterparts where luxury is concerned. This is most evident with the eight-way powered leather seats and the double-stitched leather trimming along the dashboard. A quick glance at the interior and the first word that might come to mind is sophistication.

Where the buttons are concerned, they are laid out in a simplistic and minimalistic way. The first option for input is through the seven-inch touch screen. However, this might be a far stretch for the average-size person where reachability is concerned. Instead, I recommend using the rotary knob located behind the gear lever. The set up is very similar to BMW's iDrive and the learning curve is easy and intuitive. To go back to a previous screen, simply shift the knob to the left and to select an item, press down the knob, and this is how the system is manoeuvred in a nutshell.

Setting up the bluetooth is also easy. Once the option has been selected, it will begin searching for your phone. It will take a couple seconds before it pairs. However, once it is done, your media and contact list are synced. Additionally, when you get a text, you will be notified on the screen if you want Mazda to read it and after this is done, an option will appear, allowing you to discard it.

It's these subtle functions that make it easy to overlook any minor drawback the vehicle may have. This might be preferential for most persons, but two USB ports are concealed in the arm rest compartments for both front and rear seats. However, I wish a port was in the centre console for easier accessibility.

Another area of strength for Mazda is the six-speaker factory system which gives a great blend of treble and bass without any tweaking.

The drive

The two-litre engine is matted to a six-speed automatic transmission which puts out 188 hp. However, the most impressive thing about Mazda's SkyActive Technology, which governs the performance of the vehicle, is how fuel efficient the CX-5 is. With a 62-litre gas tank, it can easily carry you on a round trip from Kingston to Negril with quarter tank of gas remaining. From an efficiency standpoint, it is definitely one of the leaders in its class of SUVs.

Surprisingly, there isn't any compromise with the performance of the engine, which produces adequate power when needed. Once it is in sports mode, which can be activated by a toggle to the right of the gear lever, the vehicle aggressively keeps the engine in the best gear for optimum performance.

Nonetheless, I found normal mode to be quite sufficient as the vehicle learns your driving patterns based on how the gas pedal is used. If it is pressed aggressively, it will perform as such. However, if it is pressed passively it will perform likewise.

The suspension, which has a strut geometry at the front and a multi-link layout at the rear, is very comfortable and gives a smooth ride, one that is not too soft or firm. It also feels like it works in sync with the chassis and the 225mm width tyres ensures it handles corners effectively especially with the assistance of Mazda's G-Vectoring system.

What I like

- Extremely fuel efficient

- Sleek and modern design

- Elegant look and finish

Gripes

- Non-recline rear seats

Specification of tested model

- 8-way Powered Seat with Lumbar Support

- Dual Control Air-Conditioner System with Rear Vents

- Dual Airbags & Side Curtains

- 4 Cylinder 16 Valve DOHC - 2WD

- Power: 140 kW or 188 hp

- Torque: 251 nm or 185 ft/ lbs

- 6 Speed SkyActiv Drive Transmission

Price of tested model is $5.8M

Other trims are: 2.5L engine with AWD, 2L engine with fabric seats (specs vary slightly for the fabric).

Test drive provided courtesy Executive Motors, 929-5274, mail@execmotorsja.com