Mazda CX5 Maxx AWD
BY THE NUMBERS
- It costs: $35,983
- It has: A 138-kilowatt 2.5-litre four-cylinder with a six-speed auto
- We got: 10.5 litres per 100km in the city, 7.8 in the country. The official combined figure is 7.4.
The CX5 grew on me. It’s easy to drive and the elevated driving position gives good visibility all around. The generous dimensions return plenty of room front and rear, and good cargo space. The reversing camera makes parking less of a handful.
I liked the seating, the clarity of the instruments and having solid power that’s always available. This one was fitted with Mazda’s optional safety package, which includes blind spot and cross traffic monitors and a warning system when braking is needed. It adds about $1230. It should be included as standard.
The thing I disliked intensely is that, despite a navigation option on the menu and among the buttons on the console, navigation is optional. Press the Nav button and you get your latitude and longitude and a message saying a dealer can fit navigation for you. Hand over $578 and he’ll slip in the chip. If you refuse the optional navigation, the car will remind you of this for as long as you own it.
Mazda’s CX5 dominated the medium SUV market last year, with 25,136 sales. That’s because it’s a really good thing. It’s also well-specified, well-priced and offers a comprehensive range of two and four-wheel-drive models, petrol and diesel; from $31k up to $55k.
The Maxx is the entry-level model and 4WD adds about three grand but it’s a very basic 4WD system – to the point where Mazda calls it all-wheel-drive. It’s for the better bush tracks only. But all-wheel-drive gives a safety edge in the wet and on unsealed roads.
For the city, this is a great package. The motor is willing and energetic, the six-speed auto is beautifully smooth and the fuel economy is okay for an AWD.
It’s a comfortable cruiser in the country, although the ride can get a little sharp over rough surfaces. There’s little sign of top-heaviness and it hangs on to corners with security and dexterity.
- A great compact SUV for city slickers