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Mazda CX-5 2020 review: Maxx Sport 2.0

The Mazda CX-5 looks as good on the outside as it does on the inside.

There are few cars on the road in this category that look quite as good as the Mazda CX-5. Those curves! That shape! The angles! Which is lucky for Mazda, because it’s in quite a competitive category.

The mid-size SUV is basically known as 'the family car for those that have two kids or less.' It’s the one you’re looking for that fits all your crazy family stuff while staying at a neat, easy-to-park size. 

Competitors in the category are cars like the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, among others. I test drove the Maxx Sport which is second from the bottom in a range of five and costs from $38,240 drive-away. Here’s how it performed over a week with my family of four. 

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✅ How does it look?

Sleek and sophisticated, there are clean lines and smooth curves that make up the signature of the Mazda CX-5. It’s got a narrow nose and soft angles that ebb and flow breezily through the design. In fact, the only thing wrong with the exterior of a Mazda CX-5 is how often you see it on the road. 

  • The only thing wrong with the exterior of a Mazda CX-5 is how often you see it on the road.  The only thing wrong with the exterior of a Mazda CX-5 is how often you see it on the road. 
  • The exterior design is sleek and sophisticated. The exterior design is sleek and sophisticated.
  • You have to open and close the boot with your hands. You have to open and close the boot with your hands.
  • The Maxx Sport has a narrow nose and soft angles that ebb and flow breezily through the design. The Maxx Sport has a narrow nose and soft angles that ebb and flow breezily through the design.

Inside is a testament to minimalist design and it goes to show that even on a lower spec model like this Maxx Sport, a simple layout means it still works well.

Inside is a testament to minimalist design. Inside is a testament to minimalist design.

There is a smooth, curved dashboard that’s soft to touch, which always makes things more premium, with a leather steering wheel that feels good. The seats are cloth and comfortable. 

The centre console is well designed and the standout feature is that… there are no standout features. It’s not fussy and that’s a good thing. No overload of buttons fighting for space, so everything is functional and easy to use. 

✅ How does it drive?

It’s an effortless drive in the Mazda CX-5, with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine. It’s smooth, glides over bumps and has enough power to get up hills and around suburbia.

The Maxx Sport has a four-cylinder engine. The Maxx Sport has a four-cylinder engine.

You’re not going to be able to brag about engine size and how fast it gets from 0-100, but do you want to? This does the job to get from the school run to work and the shops without any trouble. 

It cruises along highways with enough power to overtake on open roads and I feel confident driving it. This model is FWD, but there is an AWD option in this Maxx Sport.  It will give better traction on unstable surfaces, if that's important to you, and costs an extra $3000. 

Parking is quite good in the CX-5 purely because it’s not enormous and you can still fit in relatively small spots. It’s got a good reverse parking camera to help. 

✅ How spacious is it?

The interiors have a good amount of room for a family of four and we were comfortable all week. In the front there is enough leg space and head space for the taller members of my family, and in the back, the kids fit perfectly fine.

Kids will fit fine in the back, but taller adults might have some issues as it's not hugely spacious in the back seat.  Kids will fit fine in the back, but taller adults might have some issues as it's not hugely spacious in the back seat. 

I’m easily able to sit back there at 161cm (5'3") but the very tall might have a few leg issues because it’s not hugely spacious in the back seat.  

You’ll be able to get a third child seat across, depending on the type you're using, but it will not be an easy fit, nor one that you’ll actually want to do every day. So, they might fit, but you’ll be sweating trying do seat belts up! 

  • The boot measures at 442L, which is small for the category compared to its rivals. The boot measures at 442L, which is small for the category compared to its rivals.
  • The spare can be found under the boot. The spare can be found under the boot.
  • The boot is a good height off the floor to load in your cargo.  The boot is a good height off the floor to load in your cargo. 

The boot was enough for my family of four over the week, I was able to fit in the bulky CarsGuide pram plus groceries. On paper, it’s 442L, which is small for the category compared with the Toyota RAV4 (580L) but it’s similar to the Kia Sportage (466L) and Hyundai Tucson (488L).  

✅ How easy is it to drive everyday?

This is second from the base model so you won’t find any fancy power options on this model. The front seats are manually adjustable, you have to open and close the boot with your (gasp) hands and you have to turn the park brake on and off yourself. 

You do get a good amount of storage with two cupholders in the front, a spot for keys and a phone, a centre storage bin and bottle holders in all four doors. Rear passengers get cupholders in the centre armrest and their own air vents. 

You get a good amount of storage with two cupholders in the front. You get a good amount of storage with two cupholders in the front.

The boot is a good height off the floor to load in groceries and a heavy pram. 

✅ How safe is it?

Safety is comprehensive across the CX-5 range and the Maxx Sport is equipped with AEB, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert. 

There are airbags to cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags for the front and back rows. You’ll get two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit kids’ car seats in safely. 

The CX-5 scored a full five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2017. 

✅ What’s the tech like?

Now that the Mazda CX-5 has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there’s little to complain about. Simply plug your phone in and the 8.0-inch multimedia screen syncs with it so you can use your phone’s apps to navigate and listen to entertainment.

The CX-5 features an 8.0-inch multimedia screen. The CX-5 features an 8.0-inch multimedia screen.

The touchscreen is disabled while you’re driving so you need to use the large knob on the centre console to control things. 

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Mazda CX-5 Maxx costs $38,240 drive-away. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.9L/100km and the best it did for me this week was 9.1L/100km. 

It’s covered by Mazda’s five year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is required every 12 months/10,000km - not as good as 15,000km other brands need. 


The Wrap

If I was looking for a family car, the Mazda CX-5 would be high on my list because it has all of those prerequisites you’d be looking for - safety for a family, decent technology, enough space, and a stylish exterior and interior. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.8 out of 10 and my kids gave it an eight, they liked being able to climb in and out easily. 

Likes

Exterior and interior design
Comprehensive safety
Effortless drive

Dislikes

Rear seat tight for average adults
Less boot space than rivals
Relatively short service interval

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

5

$36,290

Based on new car retail price

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