Mazda South Africa has just launched the CX-5 onto the local market. This is the latest in a long line of new models featuring in the Japanese firm’s worldwide resurgence. The CX-5 is a crossover that competes with the likes of Toyota’s RAV4, Honda’s CRV and Volkswagen’s Tiguan but adds clever, fuel-saving Sky Activ-G engine technology to the mix.
New technologies and design language
CX-5 has several new technologies as part of the firm’s Sky Activ suite of fuel-saving measures. Included among these is a new, more refined high-compression engine, smoother drivetrains with less internal friction and a bodyshell that uses high-tensile, lightweight steel to lower the car’s overall curb weight.
Besides the technology employed to reduce harmful emissions, the newcomer also heralds the arrival of the brand’s all-new design language referred to as Kodo – Japanese for “soul of motion”. Based upon the moment precisely before a wild animal tenses to pounce on its prey, Kodo will be the theme carried through all new Mazda products going forward.
All models in the range are powered by the new Sky Activ G (for gasoline) engine. This 2,0-litre unit, which develops 114 kW at 6 000 r/min and 200 N.m of torque at 4 000 r/min, boasts a very high compression ratio of 13:1 and employs Mazda-developed systems to avoid detonation usually associated with such high compression. Two transmission options are available, a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic. Drive is delivered to the front wheels in all cases. As yet there are no four-wheel drive models or diesel powertrains on offer, although the latter will be available next year.
All CX-5 models come standard with keyless entry, radio/CD audio systems and air-conditioning. Roof rails and fully colour-coded bodies are also part of the list price. The Dynamic model adds to the base Active derivative many extras including an alarm system, cruise control, front fog lamps, leather wrapped steering and gearknob and tonneau cover for the luggage compartment. It also has 17-inch alloy wheels. The top-sped Individual model has 19-inch alloys, dual zone climate control, active front lights, auto bi-Xenon headlamps, leather covered seats with electrical adjustment for the driver’s chair, parking sensors and a sunroof.
A wheelbase measuring 2 700 mm means that the CX-5 has good occupant space front and rear. When seated in the front chairs one tends to feel as though you have your own little cabin as the centre console rises up between the seats. Rear space is ample with plenty of headroom on offer. Mazda claim a luggage volume of 403 litres. Oddly, the Active model does not come fitted with a tonneau cover as standard, which is poor on Mazda’s part.
Geared for economy
On the local launch this week, I experienced the CX-5 first hand on the byways around the Cape. On the early leg of the trip I piloted the range-leading Individual-spec model with automatic transmission. Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy thanks to the electrically adjustable seat, as well as reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel.
Fit and finish inside is up there with the best in class. The soft-feel facia, in particular, is a very classy touch. I do not, however, understand why Mazda use two different colours for the digital readouts of the main instruments and the climate control system.
The auto transmission is smooth on the uptake. Initially the motor feels smooth but not markedly different from anything else in this segment, or any other 2,0-litre normally aspirated unit. Once on the move, the transmission’s control unit very keen to shift into a high gear. On the open road I figured out where some of Mazda’s claimed fuel consumption figures are realised; through long gearing. In top gear the CX-5 auto can maintain 100 km/h at just 2 000 r/min. However, show it any sort of incline and fourth gear is needed to maintain the pace.
Later on, I got behind the wheel of the Active derivative, i.e. the base model. The same stylish looks are maintained, but this car is fitted with 16-inch steel wheels which look particularly low rent. As it is kitted with a manual transmission the Active model is a little more engaging to drive and also geared fractionally shorter in top gear.
All CX-5 models come with Mazda’s a 3 year Roadside Assistance plan, a 5 year/90 000 km service plan and a 4 years/120 000 km warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000 km.
2,0 L Active R309 900
2,0 L Dynamic AT R336 900
2,0 L Individual AT R389 500
Model: 2,0 L Individual AT
Power: 114 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 200 N.m at 4 000 r/min
0-100 km/h: 9,5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 6,9 L/100 km
CO2: 161 g/km
Top speed: 187 km/h
Price: R389 500
Service plan: 5 years/90 000 km