REVIEW | Mazda's CX-5 is a bit long in the tooth, but still makes a relevant point

2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)
2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)

• Mazda's CX-5 2.2DE AWD Akera gets reviewed by the Wheels24 team.

• The CX-5 is one of the cornerstone SUVs in its segment.

• In 2019, Mazda refreshed the CX-5's interior.

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Name a popular SUV, and the Mazda CX-5 might not be the first name to roll off your tongue. That honour will likely go to the Toyota RAV4 or Volkswagen Tiguan. The CX-5? Well, it's one of the oldest vehicles in its segment and not a first-choice option for many.

Yet, when it comes to the cornerstone SUVs, the CX-5 is one of those to step up to the plate.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)

But it doesn't look old

Give the CX-5 a glance and you'd probably say that there is nothing old about it. And we'd be inclined to agree. A few years ago, Mazda adopted a new design language, called KODO. By using skilful and dexterous design cues, KODO has withstood the test of time brilliantly.

Despite being a few years old, the CX-5 still looks fresh among its newer competitors. And for that, Mazda deserves all the credit.

Our test unit is the 2.2DE AWD Akera model and has several design elements to make it stand out as the top model. Features like the imposing grille, sharp headlights, dual exhausts, and chrome inserts around the windows make this SUV appealing.

Do you own a Mazda CX-5? What are some of the best ownership experiences about it? Email us.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)

Here's the catch

In 2019, Mazda updated its CX-5 and gave the interior a new makeover. Around the air vents, Mazda brought about chrome accents, as well as on the door handles. The dashboard surface is also cleaner and smooth to the touch. All the seats are covered in leather, but the front units have warmers. 

On the steering wheel, drivers can operate various media functions and cruise control.

But while the cabin is a lot fresher than before, the CX-5 still makes do with Mazda's somewhat outdated multimedia system; not the one found in the new Mazda3. Even though it incorporates satellite navigation, the system is showing its age and is not as intuitive as the new one.

If you can live with the system and turn a blind eye to its shortcomings, the rest of the cabin will impresses with standard features like a sunroof, all-round electric windows, electrically adjusted front seats, and six airbags.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)

Revs a bit high

A 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine powers the CX-5 AWD Akera. It's not a bad unit and has sufficient shunt when you lay on the throttle. But while impressive, maximum torque of 450Nm is available at a relatively high 2000rpm. And at 120km/h, engine revolutions are around the 2400rpm-mark, which generates some engine noise when running at the national speed limit.

The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, but gear changes happen at greater comfort when the 'box is left to its own devices. The paddles behind the steering wheel do aid a more intimate driving experience, but not greatly.

The CX-5 Akera sends power to all four wheels and will, according to Mazda, return 5.7-litres/100km. During our test, however, that figure hovered around the 7.5-litres/100km-mark.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)

In summary

The Mazda CX-5 may be one of the longest-serving SUVs in its segment, but there are several points to make it relevant against its newer rivals. From the enticing exterior design to the spacious and well-equipped cabin, this Mazda makes a good case for itself.

Yes, some factors count against it, but those are the minority. 

In all, the Mazda CX-5 is still a relevant vehicle in its segment and deserves a second look if you are in the market for an accomplished SUV.

The CX-5 2.2DE AWD Akera retails for R634 000 and comes standard with a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and three-year/unlimited km service plan.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5 (QuickPic)

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