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CX-5 closes petrol gap
The CX-5 Akera replaces the Grand Touring model — and Mazda has got it right.

Mazda received a lot of love from buyers and motoring writers last year for its CX-5 mid-sized SUV. Much of the praise was directed at its excellent diesel variant, though, as the 2.0-litre petrol engine was deemed inadequate.

As covered in WestWHEELS previously, Mazda rectified this a couple of months ago with the introduction of a bigger 2.5-litre powerplant and while the diesel may still be the CX-5 engine of choice, the gap is nowhere near as big as it used to be.

Around town it offers more than enough kick, plus its claimed combined fuel consumption of 7.4L/100km is still more economical than similarly sized engines in the new Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

But regardless of which power source is under the bonnet, the CX-5 is a quality vehicle. The key is the effortlessness of it all - be it parking, overtaking or handling twisty roads, it's such a breeze to drive you feel like you could do it all with your eyes closed (Note: please don't test this theory out).

There's a lot of leg and cargo room (I fitted a lawnmower in), with the rear seats easily lowered with the pull of a lever.

Add some roof racks and even the most outdoorsy of families will have room for themselves and their gear for holidays.

They'll also be in comfort - the CX-5 seats are well-designed and, in some variants, electrically adjustable and heated - while the infotainment console is easy to use and Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB compliant.

Mazda also launched a new top-spec model when it brought in the new engine - the Akera.

Essentially, it's the previously top-of-the-range Grand Touring model with the safety and driver assist package included.

In the larger CX-9, features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear-view camera and parking sensors helped it feel like a much smaller SUV; in the CX-5 it makes you almost feel like you're in a small passenger car.

The Akera also has auto high- beam control, while hill-start assist and emergency brake assist are standard across all variants.

In some cars, technologies such as these can be intrusive, but Mazda has got it right.

VERDICT
The Akera might cost more than its top-spec competitors and the diesel CX-5 is still arguably the best engine but the new 2.5-litre petrol unit solidifies the CX-5’s position at or near the top of the sub- $50,000 mid-sized SUV heap.

  • MAZDA CX-5*
Model: Akera AWD
Price: $45,770
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 138kW/250Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Thirst: 7.4L/100km

COMPETITORS
TOYOTA RAV4
Model: Cruiser AWD
Price: $42,990
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 132kW/233Nm
Thirst: 8.5L/100km
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars

MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER
Model: Aspire AWD
Price: $43,490
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 124kW/220Nm
Thirst: 7.5L/100km
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Safety: Five stars

HONDA CR-V
Model: VTi-L
Price: $42,290
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 140kW/222Nm
Thirst: 8.7L/100km
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars