2018 Mazda CX-5: Pretty, Practical and Nearly Perfect

    Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 6 months ago

    Mazda’s stylish CX-5 has been a strong seller for the Japanese car company. Now coming on its second year on the market, the momentum hasn’t seemed to stop. It’s not hard to understand why either. After spending a week with the 2018 CX-5 GT, we walked away impressed. But there are a few small things we’d like to see changed.

    It’s hard not to be taken aback by the styling of the CX-5. Mazda’s current lineup, blessed by the company’s KODO design language, looks far more upscale than the brand’s market position, and the CX-5 is certainly no exception, especially in the GT trim level our tester was equipped with. The vehicle’s sharp design is accentuated further by LED lighting and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Eternal Blue Mica paint on our car shined with hues of blue, silver and turquoise in the sun. But the CX-5 is a looker in virtually any of Mazda’s colour choices.

    The real gem of the CX-5 GT though, lies under the hood. Mazda now includes their 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine on the GT trim. This engine now features a fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system, shutting down two of its four cylinders at cruising speed, which, on paper, reduces fuel consumption and as wear and tear. The engine does a good job of keeping fuel consumption low (for a vehicle of this size and weight,) but does feel sluggish at times. The turbocharged 2.5L fitted to the larger CX-9, would, in our opinion, fit the GT trim much better and further set it apart as the flagship CX-5. But the engine is otherwise, smooth, quiet and efficient.

    Mazda has always prided themselves on keeping driving fun, and that’s more than evident in the CX-5 GT. Buyers shouldn’t expect sports car handling, but it’s still very engaging for a vehicle of its class. While the ride is stiffer, it’s still comfortable and manageable with less body roll during harder cornering. Competitors like the Honda CRV will have a softer ride, but you also lose the fun nature you get in the Mazda. A toggle switch for a “Sport Mode” makes the throttle a little more aggressive and makes the transmission hold gears longer.

    Inside the CX-5, the cabin is comfortable and quiet. The GT trim adds leather sport seats that are supportive and comfortable. We especially love the white finish paired with the blue paint on the outside. Headroom and leg room for front and rear passengers was excellent in our testing. The cabin is also quiet with great visibility for the driver. Mazda’s infotainment system is pretty universal across their lineup, and while it does take some getting used to, it’s fairly intuitive once you learn its quirks. Getting to that point though, admittedly, can take a while. We’d also like to see Android Auto and Apple Carplay capabilities built in. Another sore spot was cargo space. While it’s certainly not bad, we felt the available cargo space in the CX-5 was a bit lacking, especially when you look at other competitors.

    Mazda’s best selling SUV looks fantastic, drives well and hits nearly all the marks. Despite the small gripes we had with it, we think it presents excellent value for money and delivers well on most fronts.


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