Subaru Forester XT automatic AWD 2013 review
We now have to reassess our opinion of CVT autos because the new Subaru Forester XT is so good...
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All good things come to he (or she) who waits, so they say. And no more was that borne out than in our relationship with the Mazda CX-5. Having initially been disappointed with the performance of the petrol powered medium-size SUV, colleagues had consistently been telling us to wait for the arrival of the diesel version.
Well, the wait is finally over. We’ve just driven the all-wheel drive oil burner and it is a red-blooded road warrior compared to its pale performing petrol counterpart.
The entire CX-5 range is replete with standard features, which include air-conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, MP3/WMA compatible CD player with four speakers and steering wheel mounted audio controls, plus USB input. Mazda satellite navigation comes with a 5.8-inch colour touch-screen on the dash.
Added convenience comes from power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, push-button start, tilt-and-reach adjustable steering wheel, trip computer and a tyre pressure monitoring system for the first time in this segment.
Only the best to test, I had the range topping Grand Touring spec model with unique features such as xenon headlamps with adaptive front lighting, daytime running lamps and an emergency stop signal flashing the rear lights under intense braking to warn following drivers.
Okay, the diesel is 2.2 litres and turbocharged, as opposed to the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol. Maximum power is 129 kW diesel to 113 kW petrol, most telling is the difference in peak torque, 420 Nm to 198 Nm. Say no more.
An engine stop-start system, called i-stop in Mazdas, cuts the engine when the vehicle is at a standstill with the driver’s foot on the brake. It is restarted automatically when the foot brake is released.
For those with an aversion to this technology, the system can be cut off by the push of a dash-mounted button. But keep in mind you’re increasing emissions by doing so.
On test, fuel consumption came out at 7.2 litres/100 kilometres on town trips, the i-stop weighing in with economy here; on mainly highway running this was bettered by up to 2 litres per 100 kilometres.
ABS anti-locking brakes, dynamic stability control, traction control, emergency brake assist, emergency brake-force distribution, hill-start assist, front, side and curtain airbags all conspire to keep CX-5 occupants safe.
The Grand Touring also has the option of features new to this vehicle segment. Lane Departure Warning warns the driver of unintentional lane changes; Blind Spot Monitoring keeps an eye out for other vehicles out of the driver’s vision by means of a flashing icon incorporated in either exterior mirror; and High Beam Control automatically switches between high a low beam of the headlights for optimal night vision.
Front and back sensors, plus rear-view camera aided parking, while a premium Bose 231 Watt amplifier with nine speakers helped entertain travellers. The whole thing was topped off by a slide-and-tilt glass sunroof letting in welcome rays of winter warmth.
The Mazda CX-5 is the first production model to feature Mazda’s new Kodo – Soul of Motion – design theme, in this case the cheetah, the fastest land animal. The body is supposed to represent a forward-leaning sprinter ready to come out of the blocks; the rear positioned cabin representing a predator preparing to pounce. Frankly, that eludes me. It’s an SUV, for god’s sake, admittedly a sharp looking one at that.
With keyless entry, inside the cabin were luxury leather seats, the front pair heated and designed to minimise whiplash in the event of an accident, the driver’s spot with eight-way power adjustment and lumbar support, plus rear-view mirror with auto dimming.
A rear cabin area is capable of carrying 403 litres of cargo up to the tonneau cover that opens and shuts with the tailgate, expandable to 1560 litres of flat space with the rear 40:20:40 seat backs folded, this operation taking place automatically at the flick of a couple of levers set into the side walls.
No tentative take-off, or the problem of running out of legs on steep climbs a la petrol version. Pressing the accelerator pedal, the diesel test car instantly put its best feet forward.
Braking was purposeful, the ride firm and choppy on uneven surfaces – not to the liking of all on board. The speed sensitive steering was well weighted and provided just the right feedback to the driver.
At $46,200, the Grand Touring CX-5 diesel is well priced. To me is worth every cent of the $3000 extra outlay over the recommended retail of the petrol powered model.
|Grand Tourer (4x4)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$12,200 – 17,600||2012 Mazda CX-5 2012 Grand Tourer (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Maxx (4x2)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$9,400 – 14,190||2012 Mazda CX-5 2012 Maxx (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|Maxx (4x4)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$10,500 – 15,400||2012 Mazda CX-5 2012 Maxx (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Maxx Sport (4x2)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$9,900 – 14,850||2012 Mazda CX-5 2012 Maxx Sport (4x2) Pricing and Specs|