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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


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | February 5th, 2018




It was almost a year ago, when I first got to drive the all-new, second generation model of the Mazda CX-5.

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.
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