Friday, November 10, 2017

Bucket Seat: Mazda CX-5 DE Akera 2.2L AWD


So a few weeks back I got my first Mazda on test, venturing into the unknown since I have never driven a Mazda in my life and haven't been in the inside of one that was made in the last five years, you could say my knowledge on the brand was pretty low. I know in the past and in some aspects of the current generation, they borrow or share a lot with Ford vehicles, most notably the BT-50 bakkie and the Ranger but in terms of the other models, one really cannot tell. Anyway, I was scheduled the new all new Mazda CX-5 DE Akera 2.2L AWD, immediately I visited the website to find out what exactly I was getting, Medium size SUV, all wheel drive, 2.2L diesel engine and top of the line spec in the range, so I was looking forward to receiving this car, from the pictures and the massive billboard I pass on a daily basis of it, it looks like quite a stunner so I was counting down the days till the day I got it. 


DESIGN

The CX-5's design is a show stopper, the angles and edges to this car is like no other on the road, while form is still practical, the extrusions to this car make it that dramatic. Mazda call this design language, "Kodo" which means "Soul of Motion", the design is unmistakably Japanese, with the narrow but sharp LED headlights, large diamond like grille with flowing edges that run to the back and tie in with the rear lights which also are narrow and sharp like the front. The 19" rim dark rims really added character to the Eternal Blue colour in which I had it in. It's a joy to look at this car, and even while I had it, I did tweet that I envy the people who see me driving it because the car looks that good. Not to say the inside was bland, it too was great. In a weird way, the interior felt very German. With similarities to certain German manufacturer which they have no ties to, it was odd but for me, long as it looked good, was of good quality and worked, it was fine by me. The layout of the interior was good, with everything in its place or within arms reach of the driver. 


PERFORMANCE

Having the diesel option of the engine variants was up my alley as with medium to big SUV's, I prefer having the high torque option. Mazda say that the Skyactive-D 2.2L is clean-running and has the lowest compression ratio in the world at 14.0:1 for such an engine. This translates to less friction and inertia for higher revving and more power. The engine produces 129kW and a torque factor of 420Nm, all this power hitting all four tyres is simply magic, really lives up to their "Zoom-Zoom" motto. Though it was fun to drive and had power on demand, I did find the CX-5 very thirsty. For a 58L tank, the claimed fuel consumption is 6L/100km but I only managed about 500km on 1 tank. Granted I was heavy footed with it most of the times, I still thought it would return much better consumption. Other than that, I can't fault it, handling was excellent, cornering was great, that AWD drive really works well on all surfaces, also the engine is very quiet but has a nice grunt to it when you need that extra power.


COMFORT

With the CX-5, you're not going to run out on space, the car is well designed on the inside and gives the passengers maximum space in the cabin. The car can carry 5 grown adults in comfort, with dual climate control air-conditioning from the front passengers, and the option of heated seating with air-con vents at the back for the rear passengers. The CX-5 comes with a glass sunroof, to enjoy the views on your journey be it in the sun or in the bush. The boot space is huge and even comes with a retractable cover should you not want the contents to be in direct sunlight or keep away from prying eyes.  


TECHNOLOGY

As I said from the beginning, this was new waters for me, not knowing what Mazda have done or are doing, I had no idea what technology was going to come in this car so I was just expecting the norm, bluetooth telephone and audio at most but from what I saw, really blew me away. It offered most of the bells and whistles any luxury European manufacturer would off and in some cases, they do it better. Since I'm Indian, lets start off with the sound system, it came with a Bose speaker system, not sure how many speakers as I could only count 10 and I'm pretty sure there were more. The quality of the sound is second to none with Bose and the placement of the speakers in the cabin gave everyone, an optimal sound experience. Next up, the heads-up display, while not projecting onto the windscreen but rather a cool pop-up visor on the dash, it gave all relevant info one would need when driving. The active warning senses are damn reactive and gives sufficient warnings, for example of the car in front of you suddenly slams on the brakes. The lane departure feature was one I was very impressed with, like Ford, the steering did vibrate and sort of guide you back into your lane if it picked up that you were straying off, but while the car may not be autonomous, I did try letting go of the wheel (on an empty road) and it kept the car perfectly in lane, it did start shouting me after about 20 seconds for me to hold the wheel again though. 


VERDICT

From having not driven a Mazda to getting behind the wheel of this CX-5, colour me impressed, they seriously have blown me away with this one and I seriously underestimated the brand and I will eat a plate of humble pie for it. They really have a great vehicle in this, while this is in essence the range topping vehicle, for all the normal things it does it right. The ride comfort is great, the car goes like a dream and everything else is just a bonus if you ask me. The price isn't that bad as well, considering what you are getting.  


SPECIFICATIONS

 Engine
 2.2L 4 cylinder, Skyactiv D Turbo Diesel
 Gear Box
 6 Speed Automatic
 Power
 129kW
 Torque
 420Nm
 Fuel Comsumption
 6.0L/100km
 0-100kph
 9.5 Seconds
 Price
 R561,700




















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