Long-term test (Introduction): Mazda CX-5 2,2DE Akera AWD
If I had R10 for every time someone ooh’ed or stared dewy-eyed at the Soul Crystal Red paint adorning our new CX-5 long termer, there’s every chance I’d cash in and liberate the car from our fleet. Bold words so early in the Mazda’s tenure but, so far, the newcomer has really impressed.
Although the second-generation model arrived on our market only in 2017, it’s already undergone an update, albeit a discreet one. Externally, there’s nothing new going on; there’s still that edgy Kodo design and that drool-worthy red paintwork, but there have been a couple of changes in the cabin. There’s some additional knurled brightwork surrounding the switchgear for the electric window controls and the previously fiddly HVAC control panel has been given a more intuitive interface.
The big news, however, is the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Those familiar with the function-rich Android application will already know its inclusion on Google Play Store’s local menu is a fairly recent but most welcome development.
Being familiar with the system in my previous Subaru XV long-termer, it’s interesting to see Mazda’s approach to its implementation. Where the Subaru’s interface was a purely touchscreen affair, instead, alongside the same functionality, the CX-5 also uses a centre console-mounted dial for the MDZ infotainment system to scroll through the menus. It’s not quite as intuitive as a well-configured touchscreen but, as a solution to the small infotainment screen and its faraway placement from the driver, it works well.
Mazda has gone one better with the siting of the USB port for the Android Auto interface. Where most cars’ connections are clumsily sited in a tray on the lower dash, the CX-5’s is neatly tucked away in the centre cubby, out of sight and less likely to get tangled up with house keys and the like. But it’s not just the infotainment system which impresses.
The 2,2-litre turbodiesel is a refined, punchy unit currently sipping 8,4 litres of derv every 100 km. I expect that figure to improve in the coming months. The CX-5 also possesses the inherent sportiness of its hatchback siblings, with pleasantly weighted steering and a supple chassis countering any mid-corner clumsiness and helping it serve up a smooth ride.
If there is a blot in the CX-5’s otherwise clean ledger, it’s the stop/start system. It is a bit dull-witted at times, sometimes catching you out at a junction where nippiness off the mark is a must.
With a house move on the go and a couple of long trips lined up, the CX-5 has its work cut out. But the initial signs are great.
After 1 month
Current Mileage: 438 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,42 L/100 km
We like: handsome styling; Android Auto inclusion a boon
We don’t like: clunky stop/start system
Long-term test (Update 1) Mazda CX-5 2,2DE AWD Akera
When last we left the CX-5, a stern test of its practicality was about to take place with a house move. Looking at the Mazda’s sporty frame, you’d be forgiven for assuming load space would be far down its list of talents. However, folding the rear bench presents 1 224 litres of utility space in the shape of a level load bay, with felt lining the usually scuff- prone wheelarches. Along with the considerable shop for household essentials, a load comprising a 1,2-metre coffee table, two bedside cabinets and several boxes of oddments was easily accommodated.
After 2 months
Current Mileage: 2 574 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,13 L/100 km