Mazda CX-5 2.0 Sport Review: So Right, Just Torque Light
It’s refreshing when one first gets into the CX-5. It’s very obviously Japanese, but the build quality, ambience and design all feel a cut above what we’re used to, especially in this segment.
The switchgear, materials and ambience feel original and distinctly Mazda. Being a brand that always forges its own path rather than competing with the mainstream, it has really proven to be just as good, if not better, than the competition despite being different.
The facelifted CX-5 takes all that’s good from the predecessor and adds several niceties. Headlights and tail lights have been changed. There is now a little grille accent that tells you which of the three variants you’re seeing - green for basic, grey for Luxury and red for Sport.
On the inside, some optional extras are now standard, such as the driver memory seats. Sport comes with ventilated seats too, which is a nice touch. The seats themselves have been designed to hold the pelvis in place such that the spine maintains an S-curve. I love it that Mazda can geek out with such details and it is a testament to the level of care and engineering goes into its vehicles.
However, it must be said that its touchscreen looks a little dated now, both in terms of the design as well as resolution. It also can’t be ‘touched’ when the car is on the move, which is a little annoying especially with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, but I can understand the safety concerns.
The Sport trim comes with blacked-out 19-inch rims and truthfully, I prefer smaller rims in general. However, despite this the ride is exceptionally composed. Apparently, Mazda has engineered the suspension so as to minimise fore and aft head movements and really, it works (check out our reel for a live demonstration).
On the move, the car is surprisingly nimble. Steering feel is meaty and confidence-inspiring, and when you pick up the pace the car will keep up with you without much complaint. In fact, it is rather fun to hustle it down a nice road. The gearbox is decently responsive and quick, too.
The fly in the ointment is the engine. Yes, it is a high-compression motor which is rather unique and innovative, but in practice it is buzzy in operation and always makes its presence felt. When stretched, the motor can be quite tuneful, however it never feels quite enough for the fairly sizeable SUV. I’d much rather see a turbo petrol or, even better, a turbo diesel under the bonnet which would suit the CX-5 much better.
Overall, the CX-5 is a really accomplished car and I genuinely felt like it was very complete. It’d be great to see more engine options, perhaps for the next generation, being offered in Singapore!
Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club