By Breda Corrigan
A significantly updated version of Mazda’s stylish, spacious and dynamic SUV, the CX-5, is now on sale in Mazda dealerships across Ireland. The 2022 Mazda CX-5 introduces ‘Mi-Drive’ drive-mode selection, enhanced driving dynamics, new styling and stronger grade differentiation, improvements to on-board packaging and practicality, and an expanded range of safety features. The CX-5 accounts for almost 20% of Mazda’s new car registrations across Europe, and as such, is an incredibly important car for the Japanese vehicle manufacturer.
Next-Gen Skyactiv Architecture.
Mazda’s intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) enables the driver to select the most appropriate drive mode with one touch of a switch. Some model grades equipped with i-Activ AWD further benefit from an Off-Road Mode, which makes driving feel more natural on rough terrain and slippery surfaces. Mazda’s next generation of Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture has now been applied to the new CX-5, further evolving the bodyshell, suspension and seats to enhance ride comfort and reduce fatigue. Road noise has also been greatly reduced, particularly when driving on rough surfaces such as gravel.
New Look, More Variants.
The new Mazda CX-5 features new front and rear bumpers, a new front grille design, redesigned front and rear LED lamp clusters, even more safety equipment, and an expanded line-up (bringing the total number of variants to six), which features three new specifications: Newground, Homura and GT Lux, in addition to GS-L, GT and GT Sport. These new grades incorporate subtle individual differences to define their distinctive characters. Additionally, numerous interior elements have been refined and upgraded to raise the quality of both the cabin environment and its HMI technology. Connectivity has evolved to support both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, and the latest MyMazda App Connected Services features too.
Engine, Drivetrain and Transmission Options.
Powering the new Mazda CX-5 are a choice of 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G (petrol) and 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D (diesel) engines which produce 165PS and 150PS respectively. All CX-5 variants send power to the front wheels, with a 4WD drivetrain reserved for the range-topping GT Lux specification, in which case the diesel engine is boosted to 184PS. A six-speed manual transmission comes as standard across all trim levels, with a six-speed automatic available as an option in GT Sport, Homura and GT Lux variants.
Test Car Details.
My test car was a CX-5 Homura 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D six-speed manual, which was finished in Polymetal Grey metallic paintwork. With 150PS (148bhp) and 380Nm of torque on offer, the 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in just 9.9-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 204km/h. The Homuravariant boasts a sporty gloss black finish to the front grille, signature wing, lower bumper sections, wheel arches, door garnishes and door mirrors, giving the body a taut, athletic look. Stylish 19” alloy wheels are finished in black metallic paint, and the front grille incorporates red accents, while red stitching adorns the black leather seats, steering wheel, gear shift lever and door panels. Key standard ‘Homura’ specification includes electrically-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, black headlining cloth, DAB radio with premium Bose™ Centrepoint™ surround sound system, Bluetooth™, multiple USB ports, Multimedia Commander with a 10.25” colour display screen, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Smart Brake Support, Lane-Keep Assist, High Beam Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Mazda Radar Guided Cruise Control, black leather upholstery with heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and a keyless entry & start system, along with a host of additional comfort, convenience, infotainment and safety systems. The smooth, contoured body panels and attractive proportions of the CX-5 make it one of the most handsome mid-size SUV’s around, while its luxuriously-appointed cabin feels a class above many of its rivals too. The six-speed manual transmission in my test car was easy to navigate through, and it helps deliver admirable fuel economy of up to 50 mpg (5.6l/100km) on a combined WLTP driving cycle. On the road, the CX-5 performs every task asked of it in a confident and controlled manner. The steering is nicely weighted, neither too light nor artificially heavy, and as you navigate corners, the CX-5 feels like it is pivoting about an axis close to its centre, feeling light on its feet, yet dynamically precise in its road-holding ability. The brake pedal has a well-weighted feel to it also, and the overall ride quality in the CX-5 is smooth without ever feeling sloppy, while additional sound-proofing ensures the interior stays nice and quiet even at motorway speeds. Mazda engineers are justifiably proud of the new CX-5’s luxury car-rivalling cabin, which is tastefully designed and beautifully built, with plenty of upmarket materials and high-quality controls. The climate controls are mounted at the bottom of the centre stack, and they are easy to reach, without the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road. The CX-5’s boot space measures in at a respectable 522-litres behind the rear seats, with the added advantage of having a split false floor that can be a big help in securing bags of shopping, and the likes. For bulkier loads, the rear seats can be dropped to reveal a cavernous open space behind the driver and front seat passenger.
Verdict & Pricing.
Overall, the new Mazda CX-5 SUV is super-stylish, terrific to drive, and comes with an upmarket interior that offers excellent comfort and practicality. If Mazda’s aim was to deliver a premium yet affordable SUV, it has certainly hit the target. The new Mazda CX-5 is available to order in Mazda dealerships nationwide now. Pricing starts at €36,745 (ex-works) for the GS-L 2.0-litre petrol engine variant, rising to €59,370 for the CX-5 GT-Lux 4WD 2.0-litre diesel (184PS) automatic. Strong performance, excellent driving dynamics, and an upmarket, luxurious cabin should seal the deal for many potential buyers.