Mazda just keeps chipping away at the CX-5 SUV. Launched in 2017, it’s already been updated to feature a more powerful turbocharged engine, a new infotainment system, and a more luxurious range-topping model.
For 2022 though, it’s been treated to a more comprehensive makeover. There’s a new Touring variant with tougher looks, while the luxurious Akera and sporty GT SP now look more different to each other.
Under the skin, the car has a stiffer structure and revised suspension. Mazda has put time into cutting the amount of road noise that seeps into the cabin on less-than-perfect road surfaces, and the six-speed automatic transmission has been massaged for 2022.
There’s no revolution here, but that wasn’t really necessary. The Mazda CX-5 was already one of the best mid-sized crossovers on sale in Australia, and the update does nothing to diminish that.
Mazda has trimmed the CX-5 range from 16 models to 12 in 2022.
The base Maxx is now only offered with a 2.0-litre engine and front-wheel drive, the diesel Maxx Sport and Touring are gone, and the GT model has been axed.
Prices are up across the range compared to the 2021 model, although that’s far from unusual as carmakers battle parts shortages and shipping challenges caused by COVID-19 and, more recently, war in Ukraine.
On the sales charts, the CX-5 goes head-to-head with the Toyota RAV4. Its prices range from $34,400 to $52,700 before on-roads, while the Hyundai Tucson is priced between $34,900 and $53,400 before on-road costs.
2022 Mazda CX-5 pricing:
- Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0 FWD manual: $32,190
- Mazda CX-5 Maxx 2.0 FWD: $34,190
- Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5 FWD: $37,990
- Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5 AWD: $40,490
- Mazda CX-5 Touring 2.5 AWD: $42,380
- Mazda CX-5 Touring Active 2.5 AWD: $42,680
- Mazda CX-5 Touring Active 2.2D AWD: $45,680
- Mazda CX-5 GT SP 2.5 AWD: $48,790
- Mazda CX-5 GT SP 2.5T AWD: $51,290
- Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.5 AWD: $50,680
- Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.5T AWD: $53,180
- Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.2D AWD: $53,680
All prices exclude on-road costs
CX-5 Maxx highlights:
- 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/65 tyres
- Automatic LED headlights
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Power-folding mirrors
- Rear seats with reclining function and 40/20/40 split-fold backrest
- Black cloth seat trim
- 8.0-inch touchscreen (MZD Connect)
- 7.0-inch digital instrument binnacle
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- AM/FM radio, DAB+
- Electric parking brake with Auto Hold
- Leather-wrapped gearshift and steering wheel
- Push-button start
CX-5 Maxx Sport adds:
- Dual-zone climate control
- Paddle shifters
- Rear-view mirror with auto-dimming
- Rear seats with centre armrest storage and USB charging ports
- Satellite navigation
- Traffic sign recognition
CX-5 Touring gains:
- Body-coloured, heated mirrors with auto-fold
- Black Maztex/Grand Luxe synthetic suede seat trim
- Keyless entry
- Front parking sensors
- Wireless smartphone charging
- Reversible cargo floorboard
CX-5 Touring Active adds:
- 17-inch alloy wheels (grey metallic)
- Green accented seat trim
- Side mirror caps in piano black
CX-5 GT SP brings:
- 19-inch alloy wheels (black metallic)
- 10.25-inch widescreen infotainment display (Mazda Connect)
- Adaptive Front-lighting System (bending lights)
- Black headliner
- Power sliding and tilt-glass sunroof
- Hands-free kick-operated power tailgate
- Heated, powered front seats with driver memory
- Black leather seat trim with contrast red stitching
- Premium Bose 249-watt amplifier and 10 speakers (including subwoofer)
CX-5 Akera adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels (brilliant dark)
- Surround-view camera
- Adaptive LED headlights w/ glare-free high beam
- Ventilated front seats
- Heated outer rear seats
- Dark Russet Nappa leather seat trim
- Heated steering wheel
- Ambient lighting
- Frameless rear-view mirror
- Real wood trim inserts
- Unique overhead console
All versions of the Mazda CX-5 wear a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing carried out in 2017.
The CX-5 scored 95 per cent for adult occupant protection, 80 per cent for child occupant protection, 78 per cent for pedestrian protection, and 59 per cent for safety assist.
Dual frontal, side chest and side head (curtain) airbags are standard across the range, as are:
- AEB (Forward/Reverse) w/ pedestrian detection (Forward)
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane departure warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Driver attention alert
- Auto high-beam
- Adaptive cruise control (6MT)
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go (6AT)
- Rear parking sensors
- Tyre pressure monitoring
Very little has changed in the range-topping CX-5 Akera for 2022. That means it’s still a beautifully-appointed place to spend time, with lots of expensive-feeling materials and an old-fashioned sense of luxury.
The driver sits in supportive, powered seats trimmed in waxy Nappa leather, and the thin-rimmed steering wheel is a quality item. It smells expensive when you open the door.
The driving position itself is good, with plenty of adjustment for different-sized bodies, but the sunroof fitted to the Akera does eat into headroom up front. If you’re tall, it makes things feel a bit more claustrophobic than they really should.
The use of quality materials extends beyond the seat trim. The dashboard is finished with real wood trim, the climate dials are knurled metal, and everything that turns makes a lovely click-clack when you operate it.
There are a few hints as to the car’s mainstream roots inside, however. Mazda’s digital dashboard is basic compared to what’s on offer in Volkswagen Group products, for example, and the rotary controller for the infotainment system is an older unit than that used in the Mazda 3 and CX-30.
Speaking of infotainment, the widescreen Mazda Connect system is a big step forward from the sluggish MZD Connect system that featured across the CX-5 range until 2021. It’s fast to start and has slick animations, but the fact you can’t touch the screen is a bit confusing.
Although the inbuilt interface is simple enough to navigate using the rotary controller, Apple CarPlay is far more intuitive when you can touch its big, colourful icons. It looks like the system in the newer CX-60 uses a touchscreen, which is a step in the right direction.
It’s also disappointing Mazda hasn’t rolled out its 10.25-inch system across the 2022 CX-5 range, and instead reserves it for the GT SP and above.
There’s plenty of storage space up front. Along with twin cupholders behind the shifter, there’s a wireless charging pad at the base of the dash, bottle holders in the door pockets, a central bin beneath the armrest, and a spacious glovebox.
Rear seat space is acceptable, but it’s not standout. The CX-5 has never been one of the most practical mid-sized SUVs, and this update – given it’s a refresh, not a proper overhaul – does nothing the change that.
That’s not to say it’s terrible. There’s enough legroom, kneeroom, and headroom for kids and shorter adults back there, and the bench is generously padded if you’re sitting in the either of the outboard positions. Things aren’t quite as rosy perched atop the harder, slightly raised central seat.
The windows are reasonably tall, so enough light gets back there to keep little kids happy, and the heated rear seats in the flagship Akera are a premium touch. Air vents and USB ports round out the rear-seat amenities in the Akera.
There are two ISOFIX and three top-tether points for mounting child seats.
As for the boot? With a claimed 438 litres of space with the 40/20/40 folding rear bench in place, it trails bigger rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson on paper. In practice, it’s a flat and broad space with enough room to comfortably swallow a set of golf clubs or a week’s shopping.
The luggage cover is smartly designed. It doesn’t need to be removed to load the car, instead lifting with the tailgate.
Folding the rear seats frees up 1342L of space. Beneath the floor is a 17-inch spare wheel across the CX-5 range.
The base CX-5 Maxx is powered by a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol developing 115kW of power and 200Nm of torque.
There’s a choice of three engines on models above. There’s a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol bumping outputs to 140kW and 252Nm, while GT SP and Akera models can be had with a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol outputting 170kW and 420Nm.
Finally, the 2.2-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel continues for 2022, available on Touring Active, GT and Akera grades. Outputs are 140kW and 450Nm.
Although the base model is offered with a six-speed manual, the rest of the range is six-speed automatic only.
2.5L naturally-aspirated models are available with front- or all-wheel drive, the more expensive diesel and 2.5-litre turbo petrol are all-wheel drive only.
With the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine fitted to our tester, the CX-5 is one of the punchiest mid-sized SUVs money can buy… at least, before you start looking at more serious metal like the Volkswagen Tiguan R.
It’s a lovely engine, with bags of low-down torque and a smooth-moving six-speed automatic transmission conspiring to make it feel effortless essentially all the time.
You can load the car up with four people and their stuff, and it doesn’t get strained or thrashy. It just gets on with the job, something that can’t necessarily be said for the harder-working, higher-revving naturally-aspirated petrol engine options offered elsewhere in the range.
There’s no learning curve here. Mazda sets its auto start/stop up to active only when the driver presses the brake firmly, which means the car doesn’t cut out unless you actually want it to, and the automatic transmission will feel natural to drivers hopping out of an older car in a way a dual-clutch might not.
Mazda has put lots of work into making its cars more refined, and it’s paid off in the CX-5. It’s one of the quietest mid-sizers out there, with little more than a muted grumble from the engine sneaking into the cabin.
Road and wind noise are impressively suppressed, even on some seriously average rural roads. Mazda points to sound deadening as one of the things it’s worked on with this update, and whatever it’s done has worked.
Anyone spending long hours on the highway will appreciate the smoothly-tuned adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, which don’t try and wrestle the wheel from your hands as you drift towards the white lines.
The ride is good for the most part. It’s reasonably taut, but it never gets uncomfortable over potholes or speed bumps.
Some sharper bumps – highway expansion joints, for example – can upset it slightly, which is common among small and medium SUVs riding on flashy wheels.
The trade-off is an SUV that’s fun to drive on a twisty road, without the cumbersome, top-heavy feeling you get from some of its rivals.
Although it’s still light enough to make parking a breeze, the fact the steering has a bit of weight to it off-centre inspires confidence. It’s just a nice car to drive, the range-topping CX-5.
The CX-5 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and five years of roadside assist.
Services are priced between $324 and $386, with 12-month or 10,000km intervals.
These service prices don’t include items like cabin air filters and brake fluid, which are replaced every two years or 40,000km at an additional charge.
Claimed fuel economy ranges from 5.7L/100km in the 2.2-litre diesel, to 8.2L/100km in the 2.5-litre turbo petrol. Petrol models drink 91 RON regular unleaded.
Mazda hasn’t messed too much with the CX-5 formula, but it didn’t really need to.
It’s not the most spacious or practical mid-sized SUV, but it remains one of the nicest in which to spend time.
The interior is finished in some lovely materials at the top end, the days of noisy Mazdas on the highway are long gone, and the option of turbo petrol or diesel engines means there’s something for everyone. It’s still priced in line with its closest rivals, too.
We’ll need to spend time in the new CX-5 Touring Active to see how it stacks up, but the new addition to the range seems sensible as well.
Although the new, more luxurious CX-60 is likely to start stealing the headlines when it touches down later in 2022, the cheaper CX-5 still has plenty to offer. I’ll take my Akera 2.5T in Soul Red Crystal, please.
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