I’m sure you’ve heard by now that soft roaders have succeeded the sales of real hard core 4×4’s and, to be fair, they will do 80% of the duty the 4x4s will with very little to no fuss at all. In the case of the Mazda CX-5, the higher ground clearance gives the vehicle a commanding road presence with added visibility, which is a huge plus. Smaller engines are often far more economical and, thus, the economic state does not really influence your driving schedule that much.
The Mazda CX-5 is the smaller CUV offering from the Japanese company and fits into the ever so competitive market where the likes of the Xtrail, CRV and Foresters are dominating. Our model on test is the top of the range 2.0 Individual Auto; a car that’s incredibly well specced.
The heart of the CX5 is a 2.0 Double over-head cam fuel injected engine making 114kw and 200nm, and Mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission that’s actually pretty smooth. The engine response is pretty impressive for the engine capacity and size of the vehicle itself. Granted it’s not stupidly fast, but is more than adequate to overtake a truck or 2 on the hi-way when needed. The biggest thing that impressed me was the frugal consumption of 7.6l/100km. This, for a 2.0 petrol engine is very good and nearly on par with diesel models. Acceleration heading toward 100kph is in the range of 10seconds and the engine makes good power when the rpms’ are high.
The Individual is a full-spec vehicle featuring only the best Mazda has to offer. From a brilliant sounding 9 speaker BOSE sound system, to tasteful 19” alloy wheels, there seems to be no expense spared on this model. Adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights light up the evening and visibility is excellent. There are also 6 airbags and things like Traction Control and Stability Control in conjunction with Hill Start Assist is also standard.
I found that the Bluetooth setup was quick and painless and it auto-paired every time and without any problem. Another nice feature was that I could pair my phone and another phone or Bluetooth audio device and stream music from there. Mostly you are just limited to streaming audio from the paired device or phone. Alternatively there is also a USB input for your phone or IPod.
What use is a soft roader if you can’t make use of it in ever day situations?
The CX-5 will tow 1000kg braked at a 12 degree slope. The rear loading bay is also a rather large 403l, with a split section for the seats, which gives you more space with it folded flat.
The aggressively-styled front bumper and headlights gives it a sporty and intimidating look. It looks like it’s doing 200kph, standing still! The interior build quality was pretty good and the soft touch dashboard and sporty leather multifunction steering wheel felt great in my hands. We spent quite a lot of time in the CX-5 and can honestly say that it’s a vehicle that will do big km’s very, very comfortably.
The CX-5 is one of the soft roaders that have impressed me the most. It’s unfortunately not available in an all-wheel drive version, but it’s good enough to make a slight compromise. Eighty per cent of all-wheel drive systems are developed for winter conditions anyway and will not make much difference in thick sand or real off-road conditions.
The Mazda CX-5 comes standard with a 3 year Roadside assist and a 5 year /90 000km Service plan. Service intervals are every 15 000km and a 4 year / 120 000km tops the cake.