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2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5L review

By David Bonnici, 15 Nov 2018 Car Reviews

2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5L review

The Mazda CX-5 remains Australia’s biggest selling SUV, so we jumped into the mid-spec Touring to see if the popularity is justified

The second-generation Mazda  CX-5 is Australia’s biggest-selling SUV, ahead of the sharply-priced Mitsubishi ASX, and its key mid-sized rivals including the Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4.

A major part of its popularity is due to a decent standard equipment list that includes autonomous emergency braking and plenty of choices including a diesel and two petrol powertrains paired with front- or all-wheel-drive (AWD).

The mid-spec CX-5 Touring is arguably the pick of the CX-5 bunch in terms of value, offered as two versions; a 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel, both of which drive all-four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Read next: Mazda CX-5 gets turbo engine in US. Are we next?

We tested the 2.5-litre petrol that’s $3000 cheaper, not much thirstier than the diesel and the better buy if most of your driving is around town.

PRICING

The Mazda CX-5 Touring price sits in the middle of the CX-5 range, with the 2.5-litre petrol version retailing for $38,590 before on-road costs. That’s about $10,000 more than the entry-level CX-5 Maxx FWD manual, with about half that premium justified by a more powerful petrol engine, automatic gearbox and AWD traction – before you factor in significantly more creature comforts including the premium-look interior.

The 2018 Mazda CX-5 range is priced as follows:

  • CX-5 Maxx FWD 2.0L manual  - $28,690
  • CX-5 Maxx FWD 2.0L  - $30,690
  • CX-5 Maxx AWD 2.5L - $33,690
  • CX-5 Maxx Sport FWD 2.0L - $33,990
  • CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD 2.5L - $36,990
  • CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD 2.2L diesel - $39,990
  • CX-5 Touring AWD 2.5L - $38,590
  • CX-5 Touring AWD 2.2L diesel - $41,590
  • CX-5 GT AWD 2.5L - $43,590
  • CX-5 GT AWD 2.2L diesel - $46,590
  • CX-5 Akera AWD 2.5L - $46,190
  • CX-5 Akera AWD 2.2L diesel - $49,190

The only extra-cost options are premium paint; Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey cost just $300 more than the other five standard colours.

Read next: 2018 Mazda CX-5 pricing and features

The Mazda CX-5 Touring’s price tag compares well with similarly equipped and powered medium SUVs, including the new Subaru Forester 2.5i-S ($41,490) and the Volkswagen Tiguan TSI132 Comfortline ($41,990).

It’s 2.5-litre petrol engine consumes regular-unleaded at an official combined rate of 7.5L/100km, which isn’t bad when compared with the 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel’s 6.0L/100km.

The Mazda CX-9 is covered by Mazda’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Detailed information about the entire CX-9 range can be found in the Mazda CX-5 Range Review.

STANDARD FEATURES

The Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with some decent kit for a sub-$40k SUV, which includes:

  • 7.0-inch touchscreen with rotary dial
  • Reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors
  • Satellite navigation
  • Head-up display
  • Cruise control
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Keyless entry/start
  • Dusk-sensing LED headlights
  • Rain-sensing windscreen wipers
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear-cross traffic alert
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • ‘Martex’ faux leather upholstery
  • Heated, auto-folding exterior mirrors

Read next:  2018 Mazda CX-5: Which spec is best?

SIZE

The CX-5 measures 4.56m long by 1.84m wide and has a 2.7m wheelbase, which makes it one of the roomier medium-SUVs, with plenty of leg and headroom in both rows.

The 442-litre boot space isn’t the biggest in class, but it does have a broad floor space. The second row seats split-fold 40-20-40, so that you can carry longer items while still seating two rear passengers comfortably.

SAFETY

The CX-5 Touring comes with mandatory stability control, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and six airbags including side curtains protecting both rows.

Its autonomous emergency braking, which Mazda calls SmartCity Brake Support uses camera-based sensors to scan the road ahead for cars and pedestrians and functions at speeds up to 80km/h. The system works in reverse up to 8km/h to help avoid parking bingles.

The second-generation CX-5 received a five-star ANCAP rating in September 2017.

COMFORT

The CX-5 Touring’s seats are trimmed with part real, part synthetic leather, which provides a premium look, while plush cushion bases and backrests providing good comfort and upper-back support.

The interior design is refined with tasteful use of metal finishes, stitching and soft touch surfaces.

Boot sizes of Australia’s best-selling SUVs

Noise levels in the cabin, which was the main flaw of the previous model, have been reduced significantly, with both tyre and wind noise well subdued and the 2.5-litre petrol engine goes about its job reasonably quietly.

The ‘MZD’ infotainment works well but lacks the convenience of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone pairing, however this can be added with a new retrofit kit for about $495.

Ride comfort is good without being outstanding. There are few issues around town, but the ride is busy over rougher roads producing side wobble particularly in the rear seats and secondary bounce after you negotiate bigger bumps.

That said, it handles like a car and has a great driving position, and there’s plenty of storage space, including the centre console bin and a nook in front of the gear shifter to help reduce cabin clutter.

Mazda claims that it designed the CX-5 from rear to front, and that’s evident from the amount of leg room and wide door openings, which open out almost 90 degrees to make getting in and out easy, as well as strapping in little ones.

Rear-seat passengers also benefit from air vents, and a fold-down centre arm rest with two cup holders and shallow tub with a lid to place devices, where you can also plug in to two USB sockets.

ON THE ROAD

The CX-5 is one of the more enjoyable mid-sized SUVs to drive with great steering and dynamics.

Cornering grip is excellent too, helped by Mazda’s ‘G-Vectoring Control’ that automatically and imperceptibly reduces engine power slightly as you turn into a corner. This sures up grip and feel at the front end.

Read next: Three of the best family cars you can buy in 2018

The handling can be let down by the ride on less refined roads, which is busy over smaller bumps and never seems to settle.

The 2.5-litre petrol’s free-revving nature is enhanced by a Sports driving mode that takes the engine revs to redline before changing gear. This is good out on open roads or freeway entrances, but you’ll find it too revvy for driving around town.

The CX-5s AWD system is good for light-duty off-road work such as gravel or snow covered roads and gentle tracks.

The Mazda CX-5 has a modest 1800kg braked towing capacity.

THE VERDICT

Nothing about the CX-5 really stands out, but it ticks enough boxes across the board to justify its continued dominance, winning the mid-sized and overall SUV sales battle on points.

Part of this is due to plenty of choices for buyers in terms of powertrains and specification grades, suiting a wide variety of needs and budgets. It’s within the CX-5’s broad menu that the  2.5-litre petrol Touring represents the sweet spot in terms of value, performance and features.