Mazda CX5 2.0L Active MT review

Mazda CX5 2.0L Active MT

The Mazda CX5 range of SUV’s are not designed to be super tough overland vehicles. Instead they are cars with good space, good handling, and a slightly higher stance allowing you to go on any unpaved road. On tar they behave like a car, both in performance and fuel economy.

The Mazda CX-5 is the first new generation vehicle to boast the complete suite of SKYACTIV Technology. Various innovations minimise fuel consumption, allowing you to use as little as 6.8litres/100km. I got 7.5litres/100km average in mixed driving. It would be possible to improve on that figure.

Versatile boot

If you fold the rear seats down you get an enormous boot. You can easily fit two bicycles and a weekend’s luggage in. With the seats up the boot is fairly big. The space is also clean so you can get more in. The spare wheel is the almost normal type of temporary wheel.

The Mazda CX-5 is the first car to have Mazda’s ‘KODO – Soul Of Motion’ design theme at its core. There is even a tyre pressure monitor.

Priced at R312 090 for the base model as tested it compares well with the Mazda6 at  R297 730. It is a whole lot bigger than a Mazda3.

Interior

The CX has a spacious well designed pleasant interior with a pleasant variety of finishes. There is just enough soft surfacing to soften the cabin. The interior is softned with brushed aluminium trim highlights and a piano black strip splitting the dash horizontally. It works well. There are USB/ Aux and power points in the box between the seats. I really liked the canvas coloured roof lining.

The seats are very comfortable and the seat height is perfect for getting in and out. The seat is also very adjustable and provides good support. It has a “commanding” driving position.

The radio is easy to use with simple controls. The sound quality is good too. The controls and switches are practical.

Mazda CX5 Full frontal

Driving impressions

These cars drive like, well, cars. Good ride and handling. While you have enough power to do what you have to, there are not many spare horses.

The Yokohama G98 255/65R17 tyres give the car a superior ride.

Expect to get near the claimed 6.8l/100km and a top speed of 197kph on a longish straight at the claimed acceleration of 9.3for the 0-100km/h sprint.

The CX5 just eats up highway kms. It handles gravel roads well.

Brakes and steering feel are both excellent. The weight of the steering varies depending on the speed but is always light and responsive. You always feel in control.

Body roll is well controlled. It is a well sorted ride.

Weak points

There is not a lot wrong with this car.

One complaint must be the wind noise round the mirrors, they are too big. At speed the car is not as quiet as one would like.

I found it strange that it does not have  park assist as standard.

No cruise control as standard

Summary

As a package the Mazda CX5 does well. Good performance, very good fuel economy, quite roomy, and comfortable. See it as a sexy compact station wagon or a hatch on steroids and you will appreciate it.

Prices:
The top of the CX range Mazda CX-5 2.0L Individual AT costs R393 390. The 2.0L as tested is R312 090. This price is a little steep if you consider that the much more capable Subaru XV with AWD costs R329 000.

All CX Mazda’s come with a 4 Year / 120 000km warranty and 5 Year / 90 000km service plan.

Uniondale – Karoo to coast trip

I drove from Cape Town to Uniondale with a Mazda CX5 to take part in the 2012  Karoo to Coast cycle tour.

As expected the CX5 handled the trip with ease. Although I only took one cycle, I could have loaded two in the back with ease together with our luggage.

Average fuel consumption was 7.5 litres per 100km. This included fast highway travel and slow stages through the forest and over the Prince Alfred’s Pass.

The road is being resurfaced near Swellendam, so expect delays at two points. The newly re-developed stretches of the N2 are very good.

A word of caution about Sir Lowry’s pass, one lane outbound is closed for repairs after rock falls. Not a problem, just drive carefully.

Riviersonderend is the first oasis along the way. Great chicken pies to be had at the pie shop.

These Overberg places are villages more than towns. Swellendam is an exception. Worth an overnight stay.

Make a point of just stopping at one of the many picnic stops or gravel turn-offs and breathing in the fresh air and the ambience. Fertile, cultivate rolling fields with a backdrop of mountains.

Hartenbos near Mosselbay is an excellent place to camp or if you want self-catering bungalows. It is an ATKV resort as well. Close to Mosselbay, Glentana and George.

We stayed at the Fairie Knowe hotel in Wilderness. It is on an ‘island’ in the estuary.

Prices are very reasonable out of season. If you are a pensioner, ask for an additional discount. It is about R660 per couple for bed and breakfast.

Pie shop Riviersonderend

Riviersonderend pie shop

Wilderness makes a great base to explore the Garden Route. We did a day trip to Uniondale via Tsitsikamma and the Langkloof and back over Prince Alfred’s pass. A very rewarding day. Although you can do the pass with a normal car, it is better with a slightly raised ride height.

Tsitsikamma village – old inn

Bontebok park just outside Swellendam is a pleasant overnight camping stop. The town itself has excellent guest houses and Witsand in not far away at the mouth of the Breede river. The pont and hotel at Malgas is also worth considering.

The area from Mosselbay to Plettenberg Bay justifies at least a week of exploring. Just the many and varied mountain passes can keep you occupied for days. They are best explored with a SUV or dual purpose bike.

I got cramps on the Karoo to Coast, (http://www.karootocoast.com/) so only managed to complete it in 7 hours 30 minutes. But I will be back next year. A tip from a fellow cyclist. Drink ENO’s when suffering from bad cramp.

I tried it and the relief kicks in within 2 minutes. It is amazing. Doesn’t last for long if you keep pushing those muscles though.

Have fun.