There are so many SUVs to choose from these days. The simple reason for this is simply because manufacturers are giving consumers what they want, a vehicle that is tall and mighty, spacious, as well as has the ability to pretty much do everything.
If we had to pick a word to describe an SUV from the lingo of the cycling world, an SUV would be an ‘N-1’, a common term referring to a single bike that can do it all.
With so many available models and brands to choose from this can get a bit tedious, especially when trying to find the correct one to fit your lifestyle. What if you’re looking for one under RM180,000 with a good amount of space to carry your bike, absolutely brilliant driving dynamics for those spirited drives as well as an exterior and interior that can fit in well with those posh events you have to attend to? Then look no further, because Mazda’s CX-5 is ready to serve you.
The CX-5 range actually starts its pricing at RM133,000 and this will get you a basic 2WD 2.0-litre model, but the ones that are most desirable in our opinion is either the RM161,300 2WD 2.5-litre GLS or the RM165,000 2WD 2.2-litre diesel GLS model.
Without a doubt, the best engines you can have for the CX-5 are the 2.5-litre petrol or the 2.2 diesel, but for drivers who are more conscious about fuel economy and unwilling to pay more for road tax, the 2.0-litre can still do a fine job. The 2.5-litre petrol engine is the highest spec for the petrol line but the 2.2-litre diesel is not. However, we feel that it is still the best option (we will get into details later).
No matter what engine choice you go for, the CX-5 will still come with this absolutely amazing drivability. It’s driving dynamics is one of the best for an SUV that has box standard shocks and springs.
It’s stable, sharp around the bends, and provides a smooth drive with great comfort when traversing through bad roads. There is no ‘crashy’ feeling or annoying noises, just smooth and quiet thuds.
It feels nimble too, a trait that has been carried forward from the previous generation CX-5. Whilst other SUVs feel like a sports utility vehicle (SUV) to drive, the CX-5 does feel more like a vehicle that is closer to the ground like a saloon.
Interior wise, the CX-5 is more reminiscent of a continental vehicle rather than one that came from this side of the planet. The quality of materials utilised inside this Japanese SUV can really give their German counterparts a run for their money.
With soft touch materials everywhere as well as a classy yet simple design theme, the CX-5 is a very nice vehicle to just be in. The seats are comfortable too, although some reviewers have remarked that the CX-5 is not the roomiest inside. We couldn’t really see where they were coming from, but then again we’re fairly used to smaller SUVs in general.
The boot is huge and with the seats folded down you can expand the cargo space quite well. We managed to fit a medium sized Polygon Siskiu T8 in the car, which is a big feat.
For those of you not familiar with the Siskiu T8, it is a 29er full suspension mountain bike with really wide handlebars and tyres. It’s not a small bike by any means, and the fact that the CX-5 managed to swallow it inside its boot and cabin is a testament to how well designed the interior space is.
We could definitely fit more than two road bikes comfortably in the car, and we managed to fit two mountain bikes as well.
Now that ‘room for bikes’ is a tick in the box, let’s explore the engines. The 2.5-litre SkyActiv is one of the nicest naturally aspirated engines around. It is refined and has tons of power. On paper, the engine has 192hp and 257nm of torque, but in reality it feels like there is infinitely more.
The way that the engine delivers power is also addictive, it feels like a better and modern version of Honda’s 90’s VTEC engine, almost as if it has a turbo. The 2.2 diesel on the other hand is also a gem. With 420nm of torque, many vehicles will find it hard to beat the diesel powered CX-5 at the lights.
This coupled with the SUVs impeccable driving dynamics does make it one fun car. The reason why we say that the 2WD diesel variant is better (even though we test drove the 4WD version) is because it doesn’t feel so hunkered down to the ground.
With 17inch wheels and the lightness of a 2WD drivetrain, it’s a better option for most. The high spec diesel CX-5 comes with a heavy all-wheel drive system as well as 19 inch wheels, which do make it feel heavy and return a bumpy ride amongst many other things that heavier cars come with.
All in all, no matter what spec you choose, the CX-5 is a really outstanding SUV. Compared to the other SUVs in the same range it does have something special about it.
In fact, the only SUV that poses a threat to it in terms of ownability is its old self, the previous generation CX-5.
Verdict: We love the 2.5 2WD petrol and the 2.2 AWD diesel, but would rather buy the 2.2 2WD diesel variant.
CX-5 2.2 AWD (GLS)
Engine: 2,191cc, 4-cyl turbo diesel, 173hp, 420nm
Fuel Economy: 6.2l/100km
Performance: 0-100kph in 8.4 sec, top speed 208kph
Price: RM 175,000
CX-5 2.5 2WD (GLS)
Engine: 2,488cc, DOHC 16V 4-cyl with VVT, 192hp, 257nm
Fuel Economy: 8.3l/100km
Performance: 0-100 kph in 8.5sec, top speed 198kph
Price: RM 161,300