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Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2017 Review

EXPERT RATING
8
There are five types of CX-5 and this review focuses on the second up from the entry-point, the all-wheel drive (AWD) petrol Maxx Sport. Yes, with two xs. Is there anything Maxx or Sport about it?

You don't have time to read long introductions about an SUV, you're too busy for that. I know so, because this is a Mazda CX-5 review, not one about a Range Rover.

Yes, it'd be great to have lingering, long lunches and nowhere really to be, but there's work to be picked up, kids to be, places to be done, or something like that… as you know it's all a busy blur.

So let's get straight to it, before you have to address the next 'to-do' on the list.

There are five types of CX-5 and this review focuses on the second up from the entry-point, the all-wheel drive (AWD) petrol Maxx Sport. Yes, with two xs.

The Maxx Sport joined our family for a week of day-care drop offs, work commutes, grocery shopping and a trip to the grandparents hundreds of kays away. So, is this the perfect value for money grade or should you step up or down a level? How does it compare with rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail and Volkswagen Tiguan? And is there anything Maxx or Sport about it at all?

Mazda CX-5 2017: Maxx Sport (4x4)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$25,850

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

This new generation CX-5 arrived in March 2017. It's a much improved and different SUV to the one before it with sharper looks, a more prominent grille, sleeker head and tail-lights and a well-crafted, high end feeling cabin. Only the Tiguan is more polished in terms of refinement, but you'll have to live with its good but serious looks.

The Maxx Sport gets LED fog-lights. (Image credit: Richard Berry) The Maxx Sport gets LED fog-lights. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

How do you tell the difference between a Maxx Sport and a Maxx? The Maxx Sport has LED fog-lights while the Maxx doesn't have fog-lights at all. And that's it. Actually, all CX-5s are tricky to tell apart, but if it has a sunroof and daytime running lights it means you're looking at a top-of-the-range Akera.

Not sure if you need something bigger or smaller? Well, the CX-5 is 4550mm long, which is 275mm longer than a CX-3, but 525mm shorter than the full-size CX-9. A RAV4 is 55mm shorter than a CX-5. You should also know the CX-5 is 1840mm wide, and 1675mm tall. So, will it fit in your car space?

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The CX-5 doesn't have the largest boot in its class, with a cargo capacity of 442 litres (VDA). In comparison, the Tiguan's is 615 litres and the RAV4's is 577 litres.

Up front, there's a deep centre console storage bin and two cupholders. (Image credit: Richard Berry) Up front, there's a deep centre console storage bin and two cupholders. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

Rear legroom is excellent – I'm 191cm and can sit behind my driving position with about 30mm of space to spare, and the same in headroom, too.

Cabin storage is excellent, with the Maxx Sport grade coming standard with a fold-down centre armrest which houses two cupholders, a storage box and two USB ports.

Up front there's a deep centre console storage bin and two cupholders. You'll also find bottle holders in all doors.

The seating height and wide-opening rear doors made wrestling my toddler into his car seat a bit easier on my back, too.

The Maxx Sport gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen with reversing camera. (Image credit: Richard Berry) The Maxx Sport gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen with reversing camera. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

I also like the plastic sills fitted to the doors to protect them from footpath scrapes when opened. It was also good to see air vents in the second row. All CX-5s come with darker tinting on the rear windows.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

The Maxx Sport with petrol engine and AWD lists for $37,390, a front-wheel drive (FWD) version is $3000 less. Do you need AWD? No, but if you can afford it, get it.

You'll find bottle holders in all doors. (Image credit: Richard Berry) You'll find bottle holders in all doors. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

The Maxx Sport has all the Maxx's standard features, including LED headlights, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with reversing camera, DAB+ digital radio, a seven-speaker sound system, push button start and rear parking sensors.

By stepping up into the Maxx Sport you'll get LED fog lights, auto headlights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, a rear centre armrest with storage and USB inputs, sat nav and air vents in the second row.

Rear legroom is excellent – I'm 191cm and can sit behind my driving position with about 30mm of space to spare. (Image credit: Richard Berry) Rear legroom is excellent – I'm 191cm and can sit behind my driving position with about 30mm of space to spare. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

That's great value. But how does it compare to key rivals? Well the RAV4 GXL 4x4 is pricier at $38,450 and boasts a similar level of features. The Nissan X-Trail ST-L 4x4 is $39,490 and also gets much the same gear, while the Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline is more at $41,490 but comes with more too, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

You can get the AWD CX-5 with a petrol or a diesel engine. Ours had the petrol, which is a 140kW/251Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder. The diesel is more expensive but comes with more torque, and that would make it better for towing, if that's what you're planning to do.

The transmission is a six-speed automatic. If you were hoping for a manual (I love you, if so) you'll be disappointed to hear one is only available on the FWD Maxx.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

The 2.5-litre AWD is the thirstiest CX-5 in the range, but still impressively fuel efficient. The official fuel consumption figure for the combined (urban/extra urban) cycle is 7.5L/100km, and after 300-odd kilometres of highways and city commutes our trip computer was recording an average of 8.3L/100km. That's outstanding. The stop-start system would have helped, too, although I didn't have it switched on for the entire time.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

Don't expect the words Maxx and Sport to have anything to do with this grade's on-road performance, it could have easily have been called the CX-5 Wow Cucumber or any other combination of two unrelated words.

You can get the CX-5 with a 140kW/251Nm petrol four-cylinder. (Image credit: Richard Berry) You can get the CX-5 with a 140kW/251Nm petrol four-cylinder. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

Being a Max Sport doesn't mean it comes with a bigger engine, or go faster, or handle any better than any of the other CX-5s – it's just the grade, and means it comes with more standard features than the Maxx.

That's not to say our Maxx Sport didn't perform well – it did. Ours had the 2.5-litre engine with AWD and had good handling, while being super easy to pilot. The ride was comfortable, but a bit on the firm side though and you'll feel a bit of hardness on patchy roads.

So, AWD, is it worth the extra money? Well, I have a hill on my test loop that's so steep it'll cause FWD SUVs to lose traction when accelerating away from a stand still. The Maxx Sport AWD didn't slip at all. So not only is all-wheel drive good for keeping you under control on dirt and gravel, but also on tarmac.

With a cargo capacity of 442 litres, the CX-5 doesn't have the largest boot in its class. (Image credit: Richard Berry) With a cargo capacity of 442 litres, the CX-5 doesn't have the largest boot in its class. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

The only real let down was an engine which felt like it needed to work hard when there was a bit of weight in the car - 251Nm isn't a huge amount of torque.

Talking of torque, the braked towing capacity for all CX-5s is 1800kg, but the diesel with 420Nm will pull that load more easily.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

Mazda is leading the way in installing advanced safety equipment in even the lower grades of its cars and that's the case with the CX-5, too. The Maxx Sport comes with AEB which works forward and backwards plus the system can tell the difference between cars and people. There's also blind spot and rear cross traffic warning.

The CX-5 comes with a full-sized spare. (Image credit: Richard Berry) The CX-5 comes with a full-sized spare. (Image credit: Richard Berry)

The CX-5 scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating.

You'll find two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether anchor points across the back seat, too.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

The CX-5 is covered by Mazda's three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 12months/10,000km but the price is capped and will cost you about $1580 over five years.

Verdict

Good looks, great to drive, super safe, spacious, efficient and great value. The Maxx Sport AWD petrol will tick all those boxes for you. This is an outstanding mid-sized SUV.

Would you pick a CX-5 over a RAV4, X-Trail or Tiguan? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Pricing Guides

$33,840
Based on 302 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$22,250
Highest Price
$43,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Akera (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $32,970 – 43,950 2017 MAZDA CX-5 2017 Akera (4x4) Pricing and Specs
GT (4x4) 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $31,700 – 41,990 2017 MAZDA CX-5 2017 GT (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Maxx (4x2) 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $24,990 – 25,341 2017 MAZDA CX-5 2017 Maxx (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Maxx (4x4) 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $22,250 – 28,990 2017 MAZDA CX-5 2017 Maxx (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Design8
Practicality8
Price and features9
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption8
Driving7
Safety9
Ownership8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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