The review of a car which have a new face lift model coming up in a few months is not exactly exciting news. However there is a saying better late than never. This gives us a chance to have a refresher on the

We like to say thank you to Mazda Malaysia (Bermaz Motor) in allowing us to test this car and it’s been an eye opening experience to alternative power plant i.e. diesel SUV other then 4×4 trucks.

The Initial Impressions

The exterior is almost similar across the range. Only upon close inspections will you find the differences such as daylight led and adaptive headlights on the CX-5 with a SKYACTIV-D badge at the rear which sets is apart.

The interior exudes a premium feel as you open the door and enter the cabin. Soft touch dashboard is a nice touch with a simple but intuitive layout of controls of the cockpit and arm rest area. Soft padding at the knee area which helps to cushion your legs during spirited driving or just to rest on like your head on a pillow.

Starting up the CX5 with the push start is a mixed feeling like starting a petrol engine with a diesel engine idling for a while then it mellows out to a nice quiet cabin. With an app to measure the noise level, it gave a reading of about 65-70db during idle, which is a peaceful place to be in.

Setting up of the driving positions before moving was precise as the driver side comes with full electric adjustment control with lumbar support. However the front passenger side is still manual. The rear seats are non adjustable other then folding down to free up the rear for more storage space.

I will not bore you with detailed technical specifications and data which you can find here; http://mazda.com.my/Model/Mazda-CX5.aspx?check=vehicle.

In a nutshell it is a 6 speed auto, 173hp@4,200rpm, 400nm@2,000rpm lugging around 1,605kg kerb weight. So that works out to about  0.25nm/kg. In comparison to a 2.4NA, which churns out about 222nm@4,400rpm pushing 1,560kg at 0.14nm/kg. This means that twice the fun at half the time, which is 0.25 vs 0.14 at 2,000rpm vs 4,400rpm.

Surprisingly the 2.2 diesel CX-5 consumption is averaging at a frugal 9.0l/100km, on an engine which is still breaking-in (the test unit only had 2,000+km on the odometer) which is equivalent to a 1.0l turbo petrol engine which generates lesser power and torque. After breaking-in the engine’s consumption should improve further. The only downside is to look for Euro5 diesel each time you need to refill as there is still not many stations carrying it. However this is just a temporary inconvenience as the availability of Euro5 diesel is slowly increasing especially in the Klang Valley.

An extreme contrast in comparison is a one liter bike have a ratio of 1.00 which is 180hp with 180kg. However, this is not full picture of the fun as there are many other external factors which comes into play.

The Driving Experience

Driving off with the CX5 was nice and light, you do not feel like driving a SUV but more car like. This is a good thing as by the end of a busy and hectic day you would want to go home in a comfortable and relaxed ride instead of having the feeling of lugging around a heavy luggage all the way. Considering its size you might be feeling overwhelmed by the size of the vehicle, but on the contrary it will surprise you.

Driving the CX5 within the city and getting up to highway speed limits is easy and comfortable. It is equally easy to get over as well with a heavy foot and packed schedule to meet. Mazda have managed to get the gearing balanced for traveling in the City or on the highway. It cruises at 110kmh at around 1,500rpm on 6th gear. At this point the consumption is showing between 3-5L/100km depending on the gradient of the road. Spirited driving can sweep you past the halfway mark of the speedometer easily and the roll-on speed pass this point is decent for a SUV.

However, a point to note is that the suspension setup is more towards driver centric than comfort. This exudes an overly eager runner when you apply more throttle then required. Otherwise its an obedient ride ferrying you in where ever you want to go. I will pick this ride as my daily runner but remember to take it easy on the throttle when I am ferrying people around.

The total distance covered for the test was 450km, ranging from rushing to meet clients and suppliers, going about with the daily life chores, ferrying kids, spouse and parents. All of this was done with ease and comfort as it just fits in the daily routine like a glove. I would say that it would make a great SUV for a family of 5 where everyone can be together. However with anymore additional head counts will be squeeze. especially with the kids grown up. In this scenario a vehicle with 7 seats will be a better choice.

The diesel model also comes with i-Stop feature which is either you like it or not. It can be pretty intrusive when stopping at lights or stop and go traffic. Maybe I am still in the era where an idling car at traffic light is acceptable and constant stopping and restarting of the engine causes more wear and tear then its benefits of saving some fuel or minor improved mileage.

The road noise is pretty in check travelling around town but on highway speeds it will start to bug you. I wouldn’t say it’s the rides flaw because it tends to plaque all CKD vehicles which I have tested. Even the entry level Lexus is not spared. However do not despair as there is a fix which can help to minimize this together with a few tweaks which will make you keep coming back to this ride day after day as your daily runner.

 The Conclusion

After all that being said and taking a short break in finishing up this writes. Looking back at the pictures brings back the feeling of luxury, fun and enjoyment while driving it. The anticipation in looking out for the new model on the horizon coming to our Malaysian shore just creeps into my mind. Do keep in tune for the next review on the new model which apparently improved the shortfalls of this model. It is on the pricey side of the spectrum for alternative cars available in this category. So if you can have the extra budget, don’t settle for the norm…

Happy Driving and Ride Safe!

Text and images: Eugene Chuah GB