1500 km behind the wheel of the outsider SUV option in 2023

Driving “different” does not necessarily mean driving “extravagantly”. In order to stand out in family SUVs, it is not necessary to prefer the very ambitious appearance of Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage. As for the Peugeot 3008, His rather aggressive style no longer surprises anyone, because you meet him on every street corner. Despite its sober and elegant design, it is the exact opposite of the Mazda CX-5, which remained restrained on our roads. Part of what makes him atypical, and arguably endearing, is this lack of popularity. Because despite its age – this second generation was launched in 2017 – this CX-5 still knows how to take.

The leap he was able to make 6 years ago in terms of production quality and material selection is still eye-catching today.. Even if the set is not highlighted by the colors offered in the catalog: black or very dark brown… And then, to be honest, the Mazda SUV will not attract “geeks”. Because these are the many needles you’ll find behind the wheel on a dashboard that combines digital and analog. In addition, they may find it difficult to touch the 10.25-inch multimedia screen, because it will not do anything, since it is a wheel placed on the center console that controls the entire system. It also offers fewer features and is also less playful with its presentation and graphics than the competition. The CX-5’s interior isn’t very “2.0,” we’ll get to that.

Mazda CX-5 saloon.© Mazda

On the other hand, it loses the originality it gained in ergonomics and ease of management. To simplify multimedia, the CX-5 does not require a half-day RTT to understand all functions. Similarly, we remember that changing the temperature of the air conditioner or the volume of the radio are theoretically simple actions… So many possibilities are also possible with a good driving position. A welcome feeling that the Japanese do not forget, either in the back, with a bench seat with a slightly short seat, there is enough legroom for adults. It is enough to calmly think about family trips, especially with a deep trunk and flat contours, it knows how to swallow enough luggage and the amount of storage on board is average.

Surprising and pragmatic, the CX-5 also drives. It is not unpleasant, and the Japanese still do not stand out as a good compromise between control and comfort.. This is more so because it does not use any controlled damping. A little noisy, the suspensions absorb road imperfections with dignity, despite the 19-inch wheels offered with the Homura finish. Not rude, the CX-5 hasn’t learned anything about good manners. Its 150 or 184bhp 2.2 biturbo diesel, like our test version, has never been a discretionary model, and its tone is reminiscent of an agricultural environment rather than a car.

Powerful diesel!

Mazda CX-5.
Mazda CX-5.© Mazda

Fortunately, it delivers all the muscle a guy this size needs with its solid performance, two-stage supercharger. In any case, it’s enough to shake the front axle on Toyo tires of our non-all-wheel drive test version. Under load, the torque of 380 Nm is still active, especially when the terrain is emphasized.. And an automatic transmission with 184 horsepower, so as not to play too much low revs in its handling.

If it’s not too greedy in the absolute sense, the 2.2 is penalized by the automatic gearbox, which has only 6 reports on the secondary network and on the expressways. At 130 km/h the engine revs to 2,800 rpm, while its competitors rev just above 2,000 rpm with most 7 or 8 gears. Nothing prohibitive, because on 1500 km of highways and mountain routes, with four passengers on board, we averaged 8.5 l/100 km.

Finally, this 2.2, which is also available in a 4×4 version, remains the best option to manage the costs per 100 km of this CX-5, which currently cannot rely on any hybridization.. As it is, the Japanese, despite the weight of the years, remain the outsider’s choice. Well built, livable, reliable and with a solid engine, it remains the most relevant Mazda estate.

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