Mazda CX-5 VS Haval H6
- Gorgeous styling
- Interior fit and finish
- Added off-road capability
- Road noise still too high
- Firm ride
- No hybrid options
- Great value
- Looks stunning
- Nice to drive
- No hybrid version
- Thirsty petrol engine
- No diesel version
Mazda’s CX-5 has long reigned as Australia’s favourite mid-size SUV, but 2020 is likely the year it loses that title to the much-improved, new-generation Toyota RAV4.
To try and keep up with fresher competition though, Mazda has introduced rolling updates to the popular CX-5, including a new off-road mode for all-wheel drive (AWD) variants that better equips the stylish SUV for rough terrain.
Pairing its new capabilities with the same high-calibre interior fit and finish as before, as well as a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, means the new CX-5 is the arguably the most complete package it has ever been, but is it still good enough for your consideration in 2020?
|Engine Type||2.5L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
There are good surprises and bad surprises. Like the time I was driving my ute and the steering wheel came off. Bad surprise. Or the time the chicken shop accidentally gave me a large chips when I paid for a medium. Good surprise. The Haval H6 also surprised me. And it was up there with a large chips type of surprise.
See, my expectations of Haval have been of a brand which is really big in China where its owned by Great Wall Motors, but can’t keep up with the likes of Toyota and Mazda when it comes to driving and styling. Instead, their strength seemed to be just value-for-money.
Surprise! The new generation H6 isn’t just good value-for-money any more. It’s still really well priced but it has stunning looks, too. But that wasn’t the biggest surprise.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The latest round of spec enhancements don’t add too much to the already-winning formula, but the Off-Road Traction Assist function is a nice box-ticker for buyers worried about the CX-5’s sure footedness.
Class leading safety and catwalk-worthy styling remain strong attributes, but buyers will have to forgo a little comfort and no electrified engine options.
We love that crucial safety systems are fitted to all grades of the CX-5, meaning even the base Maxx variant is a compelling buy.
If we had to pick though, we'd go for the AWD 2.5-litre Touring for $40,980, which is loaded with nice creature comforts such as a head-up display and keyless entry for a price that doesn't break the bank.
The mid-size SUV field is as strong as it has ever been however, with the battleground set to heat up even more thanks to new and refreshed entrants arriving in the near future, meaning the CX-5 might soon need a big leap forward instead of just iterating to remain ahead of the pack.
For now though, the Mazda CX-5 still has the substance to back up its style, even three years on from the market launch of its latest form, though only just.
The H6 could be the turning point for Haval in Australia. The brand’s first big success that changes the way Aussies view this Chinese carmaker. The H6’s great value and stunning looks will win over many but add an excellent warranty, advanced safety tech, plus the surprisingly good, and you have a package that appears right up there with the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.
The sweet spot of the range would have to be the Lux - the car I tested with its leatherette seats, privacy glass and dual-zone climate control.
The first of Mazda’s models to adopt its latest design language, the second-generation Mazda CX-5 hit Australian showrooms in 2017 and has remained largely the same since.
That’s no bad thing mind you, as the CX-5’s smooth panels, sharp edges and subtle creases embrace a more timeless and classic design philosophy relative to the dated design elements of its rivals.
Every touch point inside the CX-5 feels top-notch, including the steering wheel, door trims and seats, while buyers can also personalise the interior with colours such as black, white and brown.
Our top-spec Akera test vehicle came fitted as standard with nappa leather, which feels ultra-luxe and premium.
The interior is laid out with a clean and crisp design, with all controls well placed, and large swathes of black surfaces broken up with textured materials.
We don’t have much to complain about in with the CX-5’s design, inside or out, but at the risk of nit-picking, we’d say the multimedia screen is starting to look dated, especially when stacked up against the well-designed unit of the Mazda3 and CX-30.
This new generation H6 is ridiculously good looking. So much so that my Dad thought it was a Porsche when I arrived to pick him up. But in saying that Dad also has a glass coffee table supported by a golden naked lady and thinks I work in a car dealership, despite me explaining that motoring journalism is an actual job.
He’s not wrong, for once. Well, it doesn’t look like a Porsche, but I can see what he means given the way the LED strip across the tailgate lights up and connects with the tail-lights either side.
I don’t know what kind of deal with the devil the H6’s designer made but there isn’t an angle from which this SUV looks nothing short of beautiful. There’s the flashy but not over-the-top grille, the sleek headlights, and the smooth lines in profile which wrap around to the curvaceous back end.
Havals in the past have seemed low quality and unfinished, but this new H6 seems the opposite.
The same goes for the minimalist cabin. Those screens house almost every function except for the climate control and that clears the dashboard of buttons.
This cabin is a premium design with a floating centre console and metallic trim. Stepping up to the Lux from the Premium adds 'leatherette' upholstery, a leather steering wheel and then the Ultra takes the high-end feeling further with a 12.3-inch media display and a panoramic sunroof.
The six exterior colours are, 'Hamilton White', 'Ayres Grey', 'Burgundy Red', 'Energy Green', 'Sapphire Blue' and 'Golden Black.'
Measuring 4550mm long, 1840mm wide and 1680mm tall, the CX-5 is slightly shorter than the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Tucson, but its generous 2700mm wheelbase is larger than most of its peers.
Which means interior room in the CX-5 is excellent, especially in the front seats, where there is plenty of head, shoulder and legroom.
The fantastic driving position in particular has to be called out, as our CX-5 test car serves up an electronically adjustable seat and steering column that let us get in just the right place for our hands and legs.
Mazda’s driver-focused philosophy applies to all its models, and the CX-5 family hauler is no exception.
Rear seat room, while adequate, will just about fit three adults sitting abreast, but a full row of children or even teenagers shouldn’t be a problem.
Keep in mind though that second-row legroom can be compromised for taller passengers, but there is plenty of headroom.
Amenities in the second-row also include air vents and, in our top-spec grade, heated pews and two USB sockets, the latter found in the fold-down armrest that also houses two cupholders.
As for the boot, the CX-5 will also swallow 442 litres of volume with all seats in place, extending to 1342L with the pews stowed.
In real world terms, that means the CX-5 will easily cart around a family of five with the weekly groceries and folded stroller in tow, but it is noticeably smaller than the 580L/1690L capacity.
We will also point out that we couldn’t find any bag hooks in the back of our test car, though there were handy seat-folding tabs that could stow just the centre seat or each of the outbound pews with just a simple pull.
Storage throughout the cabin is also just OK, with a shallow glovebox and small storage tray below the climate controls.
The centre storage cubby however, is sizeable, and comes with a tray to keep items like a phone or wallet close to the surface to prevent you having to reach in a fish them out.
Door pockets also offer decent storage up front, but rear passengers will only be able to fit a water bottle in their doors.
The H6 is cavernous for a mid-sized SUV with large and wide seats up front and excellent leg and headroom in the second row. The H6 doesn’t come with a third row which is shame because there’s room for one.
A 600-litre cargo capacity is big for the class and cabin storage is good with two cupholders in the second row, another two up front, a large space under the floating centre console, although the door pockets could be better.
Second rowers will be pleased with directional air vents back there, plus two USB ports. There are another two USB ports either side of the floating centre console, too.
The leatherette upholstery in the Lux I tested was easy to keep clean and would suit families better than the cloth material used in the Premium.
You’re going to notice the high load lip on the boot and for people as tall as me (191cm/6'3") the opened tailgate and your head may meet occasionally. Still the H6 is super practical.
Price and features
Though Mazda has slightly increased the pricing of its CX-5 for the 2020 model year, there's still a wide selection of grades available from $30,980, before on-road costs, to $51,330.
Our test car, the AWD Akera grade paired with a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine, is priced at $50,830, making it the second-most expensive variant available.
Standard features across the range include an 8.0-inch multimedia display, 17-inch wheels and push-button start, but our test car was also kitted out with dual-zone climate control, satellite navigation, a powered tailgate, head-up display, leather interior and power-adjustable mirrors.
However, it’s the huge array of standard safety equipment that stands the CX-5 apart.
All CX-5s, including the entry-level Maxx, are fitted with features such as adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking, which are sometimes relegated to higher grades or options in competitor SUVs.
The Akera grade also gains 19-inch alloy wheels, ambient interior lighting, heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats, as well as a frameless rearview mirror, heated steering wheel and woodgrain interior panels, It’s these small details that elevate the CX-5 from its peers.
There’s equipment here that is rarely seen in anything outside models from the big three German brands, and though a Mazda badge doesn’t quite hold that level of cache, the CX-5 is also not priced quite as highly as a BMW, Mercedes or Audi, either.
Whether you agree with Mazda Australia’s decision to push some models upmarket with higher price points and more equipment, there's no denying the blend of luxe and value presented in the CX-5.
You’re saving a decent amount of moolah choosing a Haval H6 over, say, a Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 or Nissan X-Trail. The H6 entry-grade is called the Premium and lists for $30,990 drive-away, while the mid-range Lux is $33,990 driveaway.
Both come in front wheel drive only. If you’re after all-wheel drive you’ll need to step up to the top-of-the-range Ultra for $36,990 drive-away, or pay $2,000 less and have it in front-wheel drive.
In comparison the RAV4 and CX-5 ranges start more than $3K higher than the entry-grade H6 and don’t get the same level of features. Let me show you what you get for your money.
Coming standard on the Premium are two 10.25-inch displays with Apple CarPlay, six-speaker audio, digital radio, air-conditioning, proximity key with push-button start, a reversing camera, paddle shifters, LED headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the Lux adds dual-zone climate control, privacy glass, power adjustable driver’s seat, the front seats are also heated, leather steering wheel, 360-degree camera and roof rails.
The Ultra brings in a 12.3-inch media screen, power adjustable front passenger seat and both front seats are now heated and ventilated. There's also wireless charging, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, an electric tailgate, and auto parking.
That’s incredibly good value. Normally things that are cheap (like a Jetstar flight) offer nothing in return (like a Jetstar flight). Yep, nobody is going to accuse you of being ripped off here.
Engine & trans
We’ve tested this engine before, and while nothing has changed on the powertrain front, we’re still big fans of this mill’s effortless oomph.
As one of the most potent petrol engines you can get in the mainstream mid-size SUV class, coming away from the line is expectedly brisk and the engine will enable a zero to 100km/h in an almost-hot-hatch-bothering 7.7 seconds.
Overtaking at freeway speeds is also easy, with the smart-shifting automatic transmission smoothly kicking down a cog for some extra shove.
Speaking of, peak torque is available from 2000rpm, making the CX-5 a delight to drive at slower speeds instead of a slow-moving bothersome chore.
However, we reckon the six-speed auto need another gear for freeway driving, just to keep revs and engine down a little more.
If the flagship 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine isn’t your speed, there are other powertrains available in the CX-5 range, including a base 115kW/200Nm 2.0-litre petrol unit that is paired to a six-speed manual gearbox and an automatic-transmission-only 140kW/252Nm 2.5-litre petrol.
Diesel is also offered in the CX-5 range, an increasingly rare occurrence as the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Subaru Forester are no long offered with oil-burning options, and in Mazda’s case is a 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre twin-turbo unit.
However, unlike the three aforementioned mid-size SUV competitors, Mazda does not offer its CX-5 with any sort of electrified powertrain.
One could argue that in 2020, Australia is yet to fully embrace the electric vehicle future, but for those wanting the latest in hybrid or plug-in powertrain technology, the CX-5 does not yet have an answer (like most competitors).
The same four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine is in all three grades. It’s a 2.0-litre and makes 150kW/320Nm.
This engine had no problems pulling the H6 around when I tested it with my little family onboard with good acceleration and smooth shifts from the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
When pushed hard the four-cylinder responds well, but it’s on the noisy side.
The car we tested was the front-wheel drive Lux, but we’ll be able to review the all-wheel drive version when it arrives in our garage soon.
On paper the all-wheel drive Haldex system in the H6 looks promising and in this generation the SUV has a rear differential lock for better off-road capability. That said, the H6 is not an off-roader in the Toyota LandCruiser sense, and you should keep your adventures in it mild rather than wild.
There’s no diesel in the H6 line-up, nor will you find a hybrid variant or and electric version of this SUV at this stage.
Braked towing capacity is 2000kg for all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive H6s.
Official fuel consumption figures of the 2.5-litre turbo-petrol CX-5 peg it at 8.2 litres per 100km, but with our short stint in the car we managed 9.8L/100km.
To be fair, our driving consisted mainly of inner-city suburban streets and a brief stretch of highway driving, as well as some hard acceleration.
For those looking for a more frugal CX-5 though, the diesel engine is also available that will sip just 5.7L/100km, while the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol units are also less thirsty at 6.9 and 7.4L/100km respectively.
Again, a petrol-hybrid option here would help lower fuel-consumption even more, so if stretching your dollar further at the bowser is a concern, you may want to look elsewhere.
In my testing of the front-wheel drive I measured 9.1L/100km at the fuel pump. That was after an even split of motorway and urban running.
Thirsty work considering most of the time it was just me and an unloaded car. Add a family of four plus holiday gear and you can expect that mileage to be worse.
It’s here that the H6 is showing a weakness in its offering by not having a hybrid powertrain in its Australian range.
The big headlining change to the new CX-5 is the added off-road driving mode added to AWD variants.
Dubbed ‘Off-Road Traction Assist’, the system locks the rear differential at the push of a button, enabling torque to be sent to the wheels that have grip.
In theory, the system is designed to better allow the CX-5 to get out of a sticky situation, such as deep mud or some particularly tricky terrain, and in practice it does what’s advertised.
Don’t get us wrong, the CX-5 isn’t transformed into a Jeep Wrangler or Toyota LandCruiser because of the new feature, but it certainly helps that Mazda has added extra go-anywhere assurance to its popular model.
Also keep in mind that the CX-5 will still be limited by ground clearance and its approach angle.
On the occasion that the CX-5 ventures down an unsealed road or rough terrain in inclement weather when venturing to a remote Airbnb or holiday home, the Off-Road Traction Assist button will surely be a welcome addition.
Aside from the new off-road mode, the CX-5 drives largely the same as before – for good and bad.
Steering is sharp, direct and communicative, while also being light and pleasant enough to manoeuvre around town.
However, the trade-off for a nice steering SUV is that suspension is still a bit too firm, for our tastes at least, which is of particular note in a five-seat family hauler like the CX-5.
Don’t get us wrong, its not back-breaking by any stretch, and on smooth surfaces, the ride is perfectly liveable.
Unfortunately, Australia – and in this particular case, Melbourne – is full of more than just smooth roads, with the occasional large dip and bump (not to mention the juttering of travelling over tram tracks) transmitted right to occupants.
Mazda said it has also improved the NVH levels of the new CX-5 thanks to extra sound deadening, but without driving the old car and new one back-to-back, it is a little hard to tell the level of enhancement.
However, we are happy to report road and wind noise was kept to a minimum in our time with the car, even at freeway speeds.
I’m still in shock. This is the biggest surprise. The H6 I tested was effortless to drive, with a comfortable and composed ride. I was not expecting it, not when most Havals I’ve piloted in the past have disappointed when it comes to the driving bit.
Sure, the engine isn't overly powerful, but it's responsive, and the dual-clutch transmission shifts smoothly whether driving in slow traffic or at 110km/h on the motorway
Sharp speed bumps taken a bit too fast in the front-wheel drive Lux I tested reveal only modest suspension travel, causing a reverberating ‘bang’ as the shocks and springs react. I’ve experienced the same thing in many cars I’ve tested – even properly prestige ones.
This though is one of very few complaints I have about the way the H6 drives, for the most part this SUV performs remarkably well with a (high) level of refinement I seriously wasn’t expecting.
I can’t tell you what the all-wheel drive version of the H6 is like to drive having only tested the front-wheel drive version, but we’ll no doubt have one in the CarsGuide garage soon.
Safety is where the Mazda CX-5 stands heads and shoulders above the competition.
Lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, driver attention alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control, as well as auto high beams, wipers and headlights, are all included as standard across the entire Mazda CX-5 line-up.
But wait, there’s more as our Akera test car also has front parking sensors, traffic sign recognition and a surround-view monitor to make parking a breeze.
New in the 2020 model-year upgrade however, is night-time pedestrian detection for the AEB system.
The list of safety equipment included in the CX-5, even at its cheapest, is the yardstick from which all other cars – including models from premium brands – should be measured.
No surprises then that the Mazda CX-5 carries a full five-star ANCAP safety rating when it was first tested in 2017.
The Mazda mid-size SUV scored 95 per cent in the adult occupant test, while the child occupant protection examination yielded an 80 per cent score.
As for the vulnerable road user and safety assist categories, the CX-5 notched 78 and 59 per cent respectively.
Is the Haval H6 safe? Well the H6 hasn’t been given an ANCAP rating yet, but this new generation car looks to be equipped well with advanced safety tech across all three grades.
All H6s come with AEB which can detect pedestrians and cyclists, blind spot warning and lane change assistance, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and rear collision warning.
The Lux adds adaptive cruise control, while the Ultra brings rear cross-traffic alert with braking, and an 'Intelligent Dodge' overtaking system.
Along with all that tech there are seven airbags on board, too. And for child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether anchor mounts.
Service intervals are every 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.
Basic service costs will alternate between $347 and $378 up to 160,000km or 16 years, but additional scheduled maintenance items will cost extra.
For example, the cabin filter will need to be replaced ever 40,000km, costing an additional $80, while spark plugs will need to be refreshed every 60,000km interval at a cost of $327.
As such, the first five years of servicing, by our calculations for the 2.5-litre turbo-petrol CX-5 Akera, will cost buyers $2092.
The H6 is covered by Haval’s seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km, although the first service is required at the 10,000km point, then 25,000km and so on. Servicing is capped at $210 for the first service, $280 for the second, $380 for third, $480 for the fourth and $210 for the fifth.