Mazda CX-5 facelift review: Activ improvement

Leow Ju-Len


mazda cx-5 luxury singapore

A facelift freshens up the looks of Mazda’s mid-size crossover, but it’s what’s inside that counts

SINGAPORE — In many ways, Mazda is the most European of Japan’s automakers. If you need an example, just look at the facelifted CX-5.

Before that, how can you tell if you’re looking at a facelift model? Easiest way, if you ask me, is to look at the grille: instead of a honeycomb pattern, it now has horizontal slats. Much classier than before, to my eyes, particularly since they’re painted metallic grey as well.

mazda cx-5 singapore front

Here would be a good place to mention the various versions on sale, because the basic 2.0L Standard, at $152,888 with COE, comes without the redesigned lamps.

Add $8,000 for an upgrade to the Premium version, and you get powered seats (with memory), parking sensors front and rear, a fancier sound system and keyless engine starting. You also get redesigned lamps with LEDs in them.

A further $6,000 (we’re at $166,888 now) gets you the 2.5L Luxury model you see here, and the range topper is a 2.2L turbodiesel with all wheel drive, for $187,888.

As for those new lamps, there’s a sort of smile-shaped LED strip inside them now, giving the Mazda daytime running lights with a “visual signature”, to use designerspeak. You’ll find the same thing on the Mazda6, incidentally.

mazda cx-5 singapore

At the opposite end, new taillights (also rich with LEDs) more or less complete the exterior revamp.

But that’s not where the Mazda folk called it a day and went out for an early round of sake.

If anything, the interior has changed much more. It’s still sporty and driver-centric, but noticeably more upmarket now. The parking brake has become an electric, button-operated item, and the dashboard has gained some metallic-looking strips.  With soft plastics and nicely-stitched leather, the CX-5’s cabin wouldn’t really wouldn’t look out of place in a BMW 3 Series.

mazda cx-5 dashboard singapore

The satnav system loses its buttons too, but only because it’s now fully-integated with Mazda’s rotary Human-Machine Interface controller.

That makes it a breeze to operate. Twist here, turn there, nudge the knob this way or the other, and you can usually find want you want pretty quickly.

mazda cx-5 hmi singapore

A note about the satnav: keying in destinations can be tricky, because you have to enter a town name, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. In what town, for example, do you find the CarBuyer HQ on Tagore Lane?

Another thing I would have changed is the lack of rear air-con vents, which might put off some family buyers. Mind you, the air-con system itself is plenty powerful, and as a car for family use the CX-5 has other strengths.

The long wheelbase (at 2,700mm, Mazda says it’s the longest in the class) creates plenty of legroom, and the way the roofline goes, there’s a large amount of headroom in the back.

mazda cx-5 facelift  interior singapore

The rear seats don’t recline but they do fold in a 40:20:40 split, letting you take boot space from 403 litres (even with a full-size spare tyre under the floor) to 1,560 litres. Mazda says you can heave two mountain bikes (with front wheels off) into there, but even with the seats upright the CX-5 will apparently swallow four Samsonites.

There’s nothing to complain about in terms of how the CX-5 drives, either. The suspension is taut while the steering is precise, with a satisfying amount of weight to the action. It rides much more comfortably on the standard 17-inch wheels than the 2.5 model’s 19-inchers, but overall the suspension doesn’t try to rearrange your spine.

Also worthy of praise is the six-speed auto, which is so smooth that it leaves you scratching your head as to how Mazda managed to make it work so silkily.

But here’s another thing to scrape your scalp about: is the 2.5-litre model is worth paying for? The engine’s extra poke over the 2.0  is noticeable, particularly around the mid-range of the rev counter,  but ultimately the two cars are pretty close on pace.

If anything, the 2.5 is a little too punchy, sometimes making the front wheels chirp as the tyres scrabble for traction.

mazda cx-5 engine singapore

Mind you, the 2.5 Luxury does come with a host of active safety features that the 2.0 doesn’t. They’re part of a suite of systems that Mazda calls “i-Activesense”, and basically they keep a watchful eye on your driving.

Start to stray into another lane without signalling, and the CX-5 warns you (either with a buzzer or by vibrating the steering wheel, it’s your choice) or gently eases you back into line.

new mazda cx-5 singapore

There’s a blind spot monitor that beeps to warn you if you’re about to swing into someone you didn’t see alongside you, too.

All that effort into preventing accidents is one of the things that makes Mazda very European, because carmakers there are now focusing hard on saving drivers from themselves (though if you do crash badly, the CX-5 has six airbags).

The other obsession that Continental carmakers have at the moment is  fuel efficiency, an area that the CX-5 excels at, too. It’s actually the first model crafted along the lines of Mazda’s “SkyActiv” philosophy, and it’s still pretty frugal. Unless we caned the engine, we kept things pretty close to the claim of 6.9L/100km.

SAM 3461

For all that, our recommendation is the 2.0L Premium. It’s even more frugal (6.4L/100km), rides better over bumps, and the engine should be a better match for the amount of traction available. But whichever version of the CX-5 you choose, it’s clear that the facelift has only served to hone a car that was pretty sharp to begin with.

And if you’ve ever eaten at a steakhouse in Tokyo or had a plate of spaghetti with mentaiko, you know that the Japanese can do European flavours well.

mazda cx-5 facelift singapore

Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0

NEED TO KNOW Mazda CX-5 2.5L Luxury
ENGINE       2,488cc in-line four, 16V, direct-injection
MAX POWER        192bhp at 5,700rpm
MAX TORQUE    256Nm at 3,250rpm
GEARBOX        six-speed auto
TOP SPEED      &nbs
p; 198km/h
0-100KM/H        9.2 seconds
CO2            160g/km
PRICE            $166,888 with COE

What does “SkyActiv” do?

To save significant amounts of fuel, you can take a magic bullet approach and equip your cars with a dramatic technology like hybrid drive. Or, to take Mazda’s approach, you could chip away at fuel consumption, introducing a number of small savings that together, add up to a meaningfully smaller appetite for petrol or diesel.

Much like BMW’S ‘EfficientDynamics’ catchphrase, Mazda’s SkyActiv is a sort of umbrella term for just such an engineering approach. It involves combing through every component of a car to look for weight reduction and improved efficiency, with the hope that small improvements in many areas will lead to big savings at the pumps, while making the cars fun to drive.

The CX-5’s petrol engines, for instance, run a very high compression ratio of 13:1, which apparently knocks 15 percent off their fuel consumption.

The automatic gearbox, meanwhile, locks up its torque convertor 90 percent of the time — that helps it feel more like a manual gearbox in terms of making the car’s power delivery feel direct, but it also shaves the fuel bill by a further 7 percent.

Weight loss is another area of serious effort. Mazda boasts that the power amp in the Bose sound system weighs just 900 grammes, for instance.

Around 60 percent of the car’s body is made of high-strength steel, a material so strong that carmakers can use less of it, compared to how much normal steel they would normally employ.

Add it all up, and the result is fuel consumption lower than you’d expect for a car of the CX-5’s size and performance. The approach shows that when it comes to what can be done to save fuel, the sky’s the limit.


About the Author

Leow Ju-Len

Related Models

Mazda CX-5

FROM $185,888


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CarBuyer – Revolutionizing The Online Car Marketplace In Singapore

Buy Used And New Cars Online
Start your car buying journey with CarBuyer as we connect you seamlessly to the industry’s best CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealerships. As a one stop car online portal you can now buy your new ride, be it a pre-owned car or a brand new car from trusted dealers all over Singapore, all in one place. Our ever expanding listing of quality and covet-worthy cars, new and second hand, from both owners and trusted car dealers, will leave you spoilt for choice. Refine your search by vehicle type, registration year, price, mileage, engine type, transmission, annual depreciation value and more to find the car that best suits your needs, taste and lifestyle. You can even search for your car by dealer or directly by owner.

Sell Your Car In An Instant With Confidence
We all know how selling a car in Singapore can be a daunting task especially for a first time car seller; from trying to get a valuation for your car, finding a trusted dealer, to getting the best quote on your vehicle. CarBuyer understands the hassle and even the costs involved and have as such partnered with Huawei to develop a FIRST in Southeast Asia AI car valuation tool that is able to provide a car’s resale value at the snap of a finger. Backed with a consortium of trusted CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealers you can be assured that you are getting the best price for your vehicle and do not have to worry about any hidden costs.

The Ultimate Car Shopping Experience Online
CarBuyer platform is the first of its kind to be backed by Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, enabling it to be able to offer users transparency and enhanced security, all with the one aim of enhancing customer experience. So come on over to buy and sell used cars online at the best prices at CarBuyer Singapore. Connect easily with dealers in real-time via our online video call feature, or schedule a test drive when you’re ready. Have some questions? Get them answered instantly with our chatbot moderated by our responsive team. Stay in the loop with our car-related tips, reviews and news. Learn the ins-and-outs of your car, as well as global and Singapore’s car updates at your own pace.