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Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2013 Review

The driver’s position is high up on the road and provides a good panoramic front view.
EXPERT RATING
7

Aussies love SUVs. That’s why three landed on the 2012 Carsguide’s Car of the Year finals – the Kia Sorento, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 tested here.

A bigger boot and better value for money ranked the CR-V higher but the CX-5 is still a strong contender in the compact SUV segment with plenty of goodies and that well loved Mazda badge.

VALUE

Prices start from $27,880 for the base model Maxx with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving through the front wheels and jumps up to $46,630 for the top spec Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel mated to four wheel drive.

All CX-5 variants have keyless entry, a reversing camera and a push-start button. The top of the range gets a luxury kit that includes 19 inch alloy wheels, two subwoofers, nine speaker stereo, one amplifier, park assist, Bi-Xenon headlamps and daytime running lights.

The Maxx Sport is the middle of the range and comes in both front wheel drive ($33,620) and four wheel drive petrol ($36,120) or diesel ($39,470) variants.

The Maxx Sport petrol 4WD tested here has MP3, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, six speaker stereo, dual climate control, cruise control, steering wheel controls, reversing camera, colour display and multi function control touch screen, SATNAV, hill holder and rain sensors.

DESIGN

The outside has a large grille, attractive 17 inch alloy wheels (top spec gets 19 inch), body colour bumpers, front fog lamps, a chrome tip exhaust, and a rear roof mounted spoiler.

The exterior design theme has been christened by Mazda as “Kodo” meaning “Soul of Motion.” Specifically, the styling is inspired by the movements of a cheetah through a powerful, sturdy and agile look. However, our test vehicle was likened to a “sturdy wombat” by onlookers due to the flat nose and round rear.

On the inside there’s a pleasant contrast between the dark seat upholstery and dashboard and the white upper roof area. We particularly liked the attractive leather steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake, however in this variant the dark seat material isn’t leather - only found in the top spec Grand Touring. The seats are comfortable and there’s room in the back to fit two adults comfortably but the middle seat is a bit cramped due to the engine tunnel.

TECHNOLOGY

For those looking for greater fuel efficiency the 2.2-litre diesel engine is a good choice. It may not compare to premium brands such as Volvo, BMW and Mercedes but for this class the sound of the diesel engine is smooth. The diesel variant has 420 Newton metres of torque compared to the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Skyactiv petrol’s 198 Newton metres, which translates to much better performance. Official specs show towing capacity is the same for both at 1800kg.

We tested the petrol mated to all four wheels. The official combined fuel economy is 6.9L/100Km and urban is 8.2L/100km (on test we got 9.5L/100km). The six speed sports auto transmission is well matched to the car and you can choose between front wheel drive and four wheel drive. The six speed manual is only available in the base model Maxx.

SAFETY

Across the model range safety features include six airbags, electronic brake force distribution and ABS technology. The Maxx Sport also gets brake assist, reversing camera, dynamic stability control, traction control, fog lamps, engine immobiliser, light sensitive automatic headlamps and hill holder.

DRIVING

Making yourself comfortable in the CX-5 is easy, with a height adjustable driver’s seat and a tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel. The driver’s position is high up on the road and provides a good panoramic front view.

In fact, the overall view is stand-out. The front visibility is clear due to the thin pillars and rear visibility is helped by the wide side mirrors, large rear vision mirror and reversing camera.

The petrol engine is a bit noisier than expected which was a bit disappointing. However, what the CX-5 lacks in insulation it makes up for in road handling. The firm steering provides great control around corners and the smooth suspension allows the car to glide over most bumps without the shaking that poor suspension can bring.

To help reduce your fuel consumption Mazda incorporates Skyactiv technology including start stop technology. It turns the engine off while the car is stopped at the lights or in traffic to save on fuel and thus lower your emissions. We were impressed by its smooth transition from stop to start. But if you find the feature a distraction, there’s a ‘i-Stop’ button to turn it off.

VERDICT

It’s unsurprising the CX-5 made it onto the 2012 Carsguide Top 10 COTY contest; it has plenty of variants to choose from (diesel, petrol, FWD, 4WD), provides a comfortable driving experience and has the features most compact SUV buyers are looking for (reversing camera, SATNAV, touchscreen). So if you’re in the market for a compact SUV, put the CX-5 on the “look” at list.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport

Price: from $36,120
Warranty: 3 years
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol, 113kW/198Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 6.9L/100Km, CO2 160g/km

Pricing guides

$18,000
Based on 359 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$9,950
Highest Price
$25,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Akera (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $15,990 – 25,490 2013 Mazda CX-5 2013 Akera (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Grand Tourer (4x4) 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,490 – 25,990 2013 Mazda CX-5 2013 Grand Tourer (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Maxx (4x2) 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $11,200 – 16,390 2013 Mazda CX-5 2013 Maxx (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Maxx (4x4) 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,990 – 20,990 2013 Mazda CX-5 2013 Maxx (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7