Review: 2018 Mazda CX-5 2.2D 2WD

Cockpit:

Seating position is great via the multi adjustable seats and steering wheel. Driver’s seat is electric with a full range of adjustments, while the passenger seat is pure manual and with no option for seating height. Rear seating is well planned and comfortable with more than decent leg and headroom for most adults.

Built quality is good. Everything from the door panels to the dashboard to the centre console sees vast improvements from previous gens. You’d be pleased with the underlying details such as the metal rimmed a/c vents which is a cool touch as well as upholstery stitching that help heighten the perceived value of the CX5.

Ergonomics are a little odd in the CX5. Firstly, there’s this hump beyond the instrument cluster that slightly obscure view out the windscreen. It’s not the biggest deal and hardly makes a difference when driving but you do notice it, as my 2 unassuming guests, Angeline and Mark Darwin who had a go in the CX5. It was one of the first things mentioned.

The boot will take some getting used to, to operate in real life. I am unsure if it’s this unit in particular but the bootlid does require actual effort to open. I initially thought it came with power boot but it’s not the case. I’ve came to accept it’s just a damn heavy bootlid.

But get it open and you’d be impressed with the CX5’s bootspace. Just about everyone was intrigued by the real estate offering, so another plus point for the CX5. Also, there are 2 nifty handles that can be pulled to magically drop the back seats for extra cargo space. The rear cargo shroud extends right up to the bootlid, just under the rear windscreen so there’s nothing to slide up or down to hide your precious cargo. When the bootlid is open, the entire bootspace is presented in full and when the bootlid is closed, your cargo is fully hidden beneath the clever shroud.

2018 MAZDA CX-5 2.2L SKYACTIV-D 2WD

Engine: 2,191cc; 4-cylinder SkyActiv-D
Power: 173 hp @ 4,500 rpm
Torque: 420 Nm @ 2,000 rpm
Zerotohundred: 9.5 seconds
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Sport mode
Weight: 1,784kg
Price: RM164,579.10
Website: Mazda Malaysia : CX-5

The Drive

Ride feels spot on for an SUV, plush yet supple. It is definitely right up there with the best Japanese SUVs today. What’s most apparent is how nimble the CX5 is in the urban which greatly improves the daily commute. There is a sense that Mazda had spent considerable effort to deliver the excellent ride and handling.

It felt confidence inspiring and planted. Blemish littered KL roads are surprisingly well absorbed by the CX5 and remains composed be it in the urban or highway commute. Underpinnings provide a sense of heavy dutiness, fit for the long haul as well as family / cargo. There is no unwelcomed body shake, vibration or flex no matter the driving condition.

The usual benchmark drive up Genting Highlands via Karak cemented the impressions above. While there is considerable roll noticed en route the high speed twisties of Karak Highway, the CX5 remain unfazed, composed and stable which was impressive for an SUV.

This talent extends right up to the peak of Genting Highlands as its light footedness directly increase the joy of driving the SUV. There is none of that shitty on-braking dive or in-between transition wobble that many city-bound SUVs exude. It even handle the horrendous speed humps happily well.

The plush mountain drive reaffirmed my thoughts on the well sorted CX5 suspension. Yup, definitely heavy-duty and expertly tuned. I’m not saying it’s gonna trump a Trueno at touge but it sure is enjoyable to drive. The chassis has to be one of my favourite feature of this well packaged Mazda SUV.

Power

No complains here as power is more than adequate for the daily grind or holiday run. Torque is instantaneous when throttle pedal is squeezed and provides considerable amount of go which proved to be perfect for city use or the traffic light duel. However, this commendable acceleration does taper off after 120m/h on the highway. While speed takes time to climb beyond that, I’m happy to report that the CX5 is more than capable at hovering 170km/h at the Karak Highway with ease.

I hardly fiddle with turbo diesels but the last I drove one was just a couple months back, in the new Toyota Hilux. While there’s no cure to the inherent engine rattle, insulation and sound dampening does help to cut the noise. The CX5 is well sorted in this aspect and delivers good NVH with decreased sensation of the dreaded diesel rattle.

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