While acceleration is rapid when needed, it’s the strong low-speed response and tractability in everyday driving that’s most appealing. Coupled with a smooth six-speed automatic, the performance delivery is progressive and feels civilised.
But this comes at the cost of fuel consumption. Our test car averaged 9.2L/100km, and while the best spell returned a respectable 8.1L/100km, short trips and stop/start city driving saw fuel use at one stage climb to 11.8L/100km. Fortunately, CX-5 runs on 91 RON petrol, unlike many turbo engines which require more expensive premium grades.
The 2.5T, which is available in GT and Akera grades, expands the CX-5 range to 14 models and broadens the appeal of what is already Australia’s top-selling mid-size SUV. Mazda has most bases covered with five equipment grades, ranging from $29,770 to $49,670 plus on-road costs.
There is now a choice of four engines, with the 2.5T joining the SkyActiv-G 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engines and the SkyActiv-D 2.2-litre diesel. A six-speed automatic is available across the range, with a six-speed manual option in the price-leading 2.0-litre Maxx version. The 2.0-litre models are front-wheel drive, and everything else is all-wheel drive.
While the new turbo-petrol engine is the headliner of the 2019 update, equipment levels, safety features and cabin presentation have all been given a boost across the range. Mazda’s MZD Connect infotainment system now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s a cleaner look and better feel to the switches and controls.
The quality and attention to detail in the fit and finish of our GT test car would put some luxury cars to shame, although the white leather option will be a matter of personal taste.
CX-5 isn’t as roomy as some of its peers, but as this is only an update, cabin and luggage space are unchanged.
Superb on-road driving dynamics also play a key role in CX-5’s appeal and Mazda has kept it ahead of the pack with suspension upgrades and an evolution of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system.
These changes enhance cornering ability and improve the vehicle’s stability, but the most noticeable difference is a more comfortable, well-controlled ride. The lane-keep assist system is switchable, and its use will be a matter of driver preference, as the system’s operation tends to change the steering’s excellent road feel.