Motoring: The 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT is a costly ride
Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ
The 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT is a fast and smooth ride, though it can be costly if you're not careful
The event was held in sunny San Diego, Calif., and the drive route for the event took us through interesting scenery. Based on this experience, I came away thinking, that this new CX-5 is a very good vehicle — but did wonder how it would work on more familiar roads, and during a Canadian winter?
So, very recently, I got to spend some time with a 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT, to see how it gets on locally.
Styling: Let's begin with the looks. Things usually look good under the California sun, and the CX-5 was no exception. Surprisingly, I think this new CX-5 looks even better on Canadian roads. It is an attractive vehicle, and the more you look at it, the more premium-class style details emerge. Trust me, if this CX-5 had an Audi badge, it'll be worth a lot more than it is.
Interior: Step inside, and things only get better. Not only does it look like a premium vehicle, it has all the technology you'd desire (in ‘GT' trim, at least), and offers plenty of space with comfort.
My tester had features that are most desired during a Canadian winter, such as heated seats and a heated steering wheel. The only thing I wish it had, was a remote starter, so the car could start warming up before you step inside.
Apart from that, I like Mazda's current infotainment system, which is easy to use, and even the stereo proved to be very satisfying.
Powertrain: The new CX-5 is available with a choice of two engines. The base GX trim gets a 2.0 litres, four-cylinder motor that serves up 156 horsepower and 150 pounds per foot of torque. Most CX-5 models (including my ‘GT' trim tester) come with a 2.5L, four-cylinder motor that produces a much more entertaining 187 horsepower and 186 pounds per foot of torque. All CX-5 models with the larger engine are only offered with a six-speed automatic transmission — although, you can choose between an all-wheel drive model, or one that just powers the front wheels.
Driving Dynamics: My tester featured all-wheel drive, with the 2.5L motor, and the automatic transmission. Typically, vehicles in this class feel sluggish to drive, but not the CX-5. It picks up speed well, and best of all, at highway speeds, it feels smooth and relaxed. Part of the reason for that is a well-engineered powertrain, but also because Mazda engineers paid a lot of attention towards sound-proofing the cabin, so it does its best to dampen road or wind noise — hence this is a vehicle you can relax in.
On the highway, I found it to be really good. I would set the speed for the adaptive cruise control, and activate the lane keep assist system — both systems work really well on the CX-5. Then, the vehicle would just keep a safe distance between it and the car ahead, and keep it in its lane. This surely takes most of the stress out of a long distance drive.
When you feel like driving it yourself, and find yourself a twisty road, you'll see that the CX-5 handles surprisingly well for a vehicle of its type — so, unlike most medium sized SUVs, the CX-5 is fun to drive.
Fuel Economy: If you start having too much fun, your economy will suffer. I averaged 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres during my test week, which is on the high side, but I think I know what could be the cause of that. First of all, my tester was very new —it had less than 500 kilometres on it when I picked it upso the engine hadn't fully loosened up. Plus, as I mentioned, I did have some fun with it, so that also hurt the economy. I bet, with some mileage, and softer running, the CX-5 GT would average closer to 8.6 litres per 100 kilometres.
Pricing: The CX-5 range starts from $25,800 for the GX model. The top, GT trim, starts from $35,000. My tester had the optional Technology Package, which gave it stuff like pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a lot more, for $1,600.
Verdict: For an as tested price of $36,600 — the 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT does give you a lot for your money. It looks good, has a wonderful interior, and is nice to drive. It does pretty much everything I asked of it, so, if I was given one to drive for the next year (rather than drive a different vehicle every week) I'd be fine with the CX-5 GT. So, if you haven't put the CX-5 on your shopping list, go test drive one, I think you'll like it.