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Mazda CX-5 2022 review: GT SP turbo-petrol AWD

The Mazda CX-5 GT SP is a great entry to the medium SUV market, offering style and substance. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The CX-5 is Mazda’s medium SUV range. It's practical and sporty, and like its bigger brother, the CX-9, sports sleek lines and a shark-like nose that hints at its commanding driving performance.

The GT SP Turbo is an all-wheel drive but you can get two-wheel drive versions of the lower grades. It competes with other medium SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage.

But do you get enough bang for your buck? I’ve had it for a week with my family to find out.

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What does it look like?

The Mazda CX-5 is a very sexy car that should appeal to a wide audience. The front looks almost predatory in the way the bonnet tapers into the sharply drawn grille and the slim LED lights are angled. If you look at it for too long, you half expect it to growl at you!

Overall, the exterior looks are polished but sporty. You see that in the black 19-inch alloy wheels, two-tone coloured body and privacy glass. She’s elegant but she looks like she’d enjoy a bit of fun, too.

 The exterior looks are polished but sporty. (Images: Glen Sullivan) The exterior looks are polished but sporty. (Images: Glen Sullivan)

The GT SP’s interior is lovely and carries that polish throughout where you can enjoy some of the higher grade’s features, like contrasting red stitched synthetic leather seats, heated front seats, and an electric sunroof.

It’s also deceptively long. I parked it next to my Volvo V60 station wagon and there was only about 20cm difference in length, which surprised me.

How does it drive?

The GT SP has a 2.5L, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. And she goes, baby. You won’t feel like you’re just ‘chugging along’ in this. It feels sporty to drive and I have confidence when I put my foot down.

The power is consistent. But I did notice the car feels ‘floaty’ when it gets hit by high winds and you have to hold the wheel firmly when that happens. Besides that, the overall performance is pretty solid.

The GT SP has a 2.5L, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The GT SP has a 2.5L, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There are three different driving modes - 'Off-Road', 'Normal' and 'Sport.' I didn’t take this off-road but the Sport mode does keep the engine in lower gears for more urgent acceleration. It isn’t a massive difference from Normal, though, and I kept it in Normal for most of the week.

I like this model's head-up display and that the traffic sign recognition shows up on there, too. It’s always a handy feature.

How spacious is it?

It’s bigger inside than you expect but the front passengers will feel that more than those in the back seat.

There’s plenty of headroom and legroom and both front seats can be adjusted electrically to suit most occupants. The storage throughout is pretty good for a car of this size and the glove box and centre console are large enough for your bits and pieces.

There’s plenty of headroom and legroom and both front seats can be adjusted electrically to suit most occupants. (Image: Glen Sullivan) There’s plenty of headroom and legroom and both front seats can be adjusted electrically to suit most occupants. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The centre console also has a little removeable shelf that could be handy to store smaller things that are easily lost.

There are two cupholders behind the gear shifter and a bottle holder in each door. I like that there is a little nook for your phone and keys underneath the dashboard too.

The back seat is well padded and comfortable but when I’m behind my driving position (I’m 168cm tall) there’s not a lot of legroom.

The back seat is well padded and comfortable. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The back seat is well padded and comfortable. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There are map pockets and a bottle holder in each door plus a nice armrest that houses two cupholders. The armrest also has a shallow cubby that I imagine is for a device as there are two USB ports in there.

It’s handy that the back seat has a 40/20/40 split-fold because it offers greater versatility when it comes to cargo space.

The boot is a good size for a medium SUV. With all five seats up, you get 438L (VDA), which was large enough for my gear this week while I travelled. Pop the back seat down and that jumps up to 1340L (VDA), which is great.

  • 2022 Mazda CX-5 GT SP turbo-petrol AWD I Boot 2022 Mazda CX-5 GT SP turbo-petrol AWD I Boot
  • 2022 Mazda CX-5 GT SP turbo-petrol AWD I Boot 2022 Mazda CX-5 GT SP turbo-petrol AWD I Boot
  • 2022 Mazda CX-5 GT SP turbo-petrol AWD I Boot 2022 Mazda CX-5 GT SP turbo-petrol AWD I Boot

How easy is it to use every day?

There’s a reason these cars are still so popular and you’ll look forward to getting into this every day. The driving performance is good and the comfort, particularly in the front seat, is commendable for a medium SUV.

I like the various storage options throughout the car and the buttons/dials are nicely positioned for ease of use. The multi-media system can be annoying to use but overall this is the sort of car that most people can jump into and just ‘go.' It’s pretty fuss free without feeling basic in nature.

Various storage options throughout the car and the buttons/dials are nicely positioned for ease of use. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Various storage options throughout the car and the buttons/dials are nicely positioned for ease of use. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The size of the car also makes it a friend in tight car parks and I really dig the reversing camera. It’s super crisp and clear and the sensors feel accurate. Coupled with the large windows, it’s very easy to park.

Sometimes the back window is tiny in smaller SUVs but the CX-5 has one that’s wide and it offers great visibility. Even though it’s an SUV, it’s not ridiculously tall and my five-year old found it easy to jump in and out from on the school run. 

How safe is it?

The Mazda CX-5 has all of the important safety tech you’d expect of an SUV at this price tag. Including rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.

There are other good features like the auto emergency braking, forward obstruction warning and traffic sign recognition, too. It has curtain airbags covering the second row but doesn’t have the front centre airbag that’s starting to appear on newer cars.

The CX-5 has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating but the testing was done back in 2017.

In the back there are two ISOFIX mounts on the outboard seats and three top tethers. Fitting a child seat is pretty easy and there’s good space for the front passenger when a 0-4 rearward facing child seat is installed, but it did encroach on the drivers space when positioned behind it.

Depending on the car seat, you might not be able to fit three car seats across, which is something to consider

What’s the tech like?

The tech doesn’t reflect the fact this model sits second from the top of the CX-5 range. It’s not bad but it could be more gracefully executed.

The 9.2-inch multimedia screen is operated by a rotating control wheel which is cumbersome to use. Going through the apps can sometimes feel like the ‘never-ending scroll’ – a touchscreen would be much better suited and put the CX-5 on the same playing field as most of its competitors.

The GT SP has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but annoyingly it’s not wireless. Annoying because you have to trail your phone cable from the centre console, which makes it feel like an after-thought.

I like the wireless charging pad up front but it’s almost rendered useless for me as I always use Apple CarPlay and so had my phone plugged in all week.

The 10-speaker Bose sound system has great sound quality and the electric seats with lumbar support (driver's side) are nice. The heated front seats were very welcome on the cooler mornings we had this week, too.

How much does it cost to own?

The GT SP Turbo will cost you $51,490, before on-road costs, a price that's on par with its competitors.

The Mazda CX-5 comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is standard for the class. It also comes with five years roadside assistance.

The Mazda CX-5 comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is standard for the class. It also comes with five years roadside assistance. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Mazda CX-5 comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is standard for the class. It also comes with five years roadside assistance. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There’s capped price servicing for five years at $1875 and that averages out at $375 per service, which is very competitive. The servicing intervals are every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. If you put some heavy kays on your car every year, this could be painful.

The official combined cycle fuel economy figure is 8.2L/100km and my average was 9.8L/100km, based on the trip computer. That figure is higher in the city and it’s a bit thirstier than I'd expect for a medium SUV, but it is a turbo, so there’s a bit of a compromise to get that extra power.


The Wrap

The CX-5 handled my family life admirably but I’d want a tad more space and better fuel economy for the price tag. Those things aside, I like the driving performance and general usability and it earns an 8.0/10 from me. My five-year old wanted to touch everything and all week I fielded questions on ‘what does this do? Can I press it?’ He also gave it an 8.0/10.

Likes

Sporty design
Driving performance
Easy to park

Dislikes

Back seat is compact
A bit thirsty
Floaty during high winds

Scores

Emily:

4

The Kids:

4

$47,790

Based on new car retail price

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