Looking Sharp
Richard Augustin 
Price: RM134,605 (OTR without insurance)

The Mazda CX-5 debuted in 2012. At that time, the Japanese automaker was a little late to the SUV party. It didn’t matter though.

Bolstered by a solid design, high-performance engines and excellent driveability, the CX-5 sped its way into the upper ranks of the segment. It also struck a chord with Malaysian consumers, judging by the number of this model on our roads today.

There is no doubt that this SUV is a bona fide hit for both Mazda and Bermaz Auto, the exclusive distributor for Mazda cars in Malaysia and the Philippines. As such, there was certainly a heightened sense of anticipation when the distributor unveiled the second-generation model a few months ago in Malaysia.

At first glance, Mazda has certainly outdone itself by making its CX-5 a whole lot sleeker. They have also upped the ante by offering five variants – a pair of 2.0-litre petrol, a 2.5-litre petrol, and two 2.2-litre diesel models.  Priced from RM134,605 for the 2.0L GL petrol to RM175,179 for the range-topping 2.2L GLS diesel AWD, the CX-5 is competitively priced for what it has to offer. Our time behind the wheel of the 2.0L GL variant, for instance, is testament to that sentiment many times over.


Ruggedly stylish

Although it is based on the same platform as the previous generation, Mazda designers have afforded the new model with a revised and sportier exterior. The new CX-5 looks stunning thanks to a longer bonnet and a sportier front, which is further enhanced with a wider grille and futuristic LED projector headlights. Its rear has also been slightly but distinctively revised to add a more aerodynamic silhouette to the overall mien.

The incredibly appealing colour options include Aluminium Metallic, Arctic White, Blue Reflex and Meteor Grey with additional premium colours such Soul Red Crystal, Machine Grey and Snowflake Pearl White Pearl Mica for an additional RM2,000.

Control console is user-friendly with knobs and switches within easy reach

Enhanced interior

Much like the exterior of the car, the cabin has also been given a nice makeover by the Mazda designers.  A step up over the previous generation, it looks more refined with a truly luxurious feel.

The redesigned dashboard, for instance, is more modern and evokes a European vibe with a protruding 7-inch MZD Connect infotainment screen as well as a space-saving electronic parking brake on the centre console.

The build quality is also impressive with gunmetal trim used throughout the cabin, matching the high-quality materials. The knobs and switches are within easy reach, which is always a plus.

The redesigned exterior includes a sportier front with wider grille

Improved performance

While it scores on every count in terms of appearance, it means little if what is underneath the hood is below par. Thankfully, the new Mazda CX-5 doesn’t disappoint.

Our test car is optimally tuned for a more spirited performance. The engine, which is paired with a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission, outputs a total of 162 hp and 210 Nm of torque. The engine is sufficient enough for a vehicle of this size, even if it does seem to grunt excessively at the higher revs when more power is demanded of it.

Switching the SUV to Sport mode eliminates this somewhat, but there is no denying that drivers looking for a more thrilling drive may want to opt for the 2.5 and diesel variants. For city commutes and running errands, the 2.0 GL is more than reasonable.

Handling has also been improved thanks to Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control System. Overall, the new CX-5’s driveability is a step up over the previous generation with improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics for a more comfortable and smoother ride.


Truly tempting option 

A brilliantly assembled SUV, you can barely find any fault with this car. If drivers already have the CX-5 at the top of their lists, the new generation is likely to compel them to upgrade.

Boosting its appeal, it also comes with dual-zone climate control along with rear air-con vents, keyless start as well as a complete safety package that includes six airbags (front, side and curtain), ABS with EBD, brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and traction control.

The five-year or 100,000km manufacturing warranty and three-year or 60,000km free maintenance after-sales package only sweeten the deal. In short, this is one SUV that requires very little persuasion.

(Mazda CX-5 2.0 GL)

Engine: 2.0L 16-valve DOHC with VVT
Capacity: 1998cc
Power: 162 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 210 Nm @ 4000 rpm
0-100 km/h: 10.4 seconds
Top speed: 182 km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.8-litre/100 km

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 267.