130000 km with Mazda CX-5 – Review

Mazda CX-5. What makes it there? It is neither a granturismo car nor a premium one. But for the money that it costs, it is unbelievably complete car…

It is also very stylish and positioned high above ordinary ‘shit’ and just under the premium segment,

a good choice when you need something more, but cannot afford the premium. Having really good assistance systems, drivetrain and big engines, so it is an alternative when you can’t stand the mainstream 1.0 turbo drivetrain.


Moderngranturismo Graph and explanation:


The second generation is suprisingly a comfortable, well insulated car. Not very sporty though, with G-Vectoring, however with the character that sometimes likes to be pushed.


Exterior design


CX-5 First Generation Facelift 2016

CX-5 First Generation Facelift 2016

Generally speaking, Mazda looks much better than it costs. I would say it looks even as good as some italian projects. It is also often the designer’s private choice.  The exterior design is really smooth and light with the first generation, and more aggressive with the second generation. Personally, I’m not really happy with that change, but I know people like it. One thing is sure: the car can’t stay invisible. It draws attention and catches the eye. Definitely, the exterior is exposed, and you get here the best of what you can have for such money.


Interior design


CX-5 First Generation 2013

CX-5 First Generation 2013

As I have seen a skyactive car for the first time, I was impressed. I didn’t expect Mazda to be able to make such good interiors. They have changed their target and said ‘we want to make it better’. So easy. Mazda interiors are nowadays much better than Subaru’s or Honda’s ones. That is of course not a premium and you can still see some costs reductions, that you don’t see in European middle-class cars, but the CX 5 interior is much less problematic than the new BMW X1: the parts are less noisy. It is perfect, as for a Japanese car. The materials’ quality is pretty well, and they are mainly soft.

The design is rather simple and looks better with white leather. But that simplicity is the strong advantage of Mazda. It is getting old slower.

CX-5 Second Generation 2018

CX-5 Second Generation 2018

The second generation is different, and the interior is very neutral, that is rather invisible, there is nothing  I don’t like about it. The head-up display works well, and the infotainment screen is a little bit too small.

The highest trim is equipped with BOSE audio system. With the first generation the main advantage of that was the Audiopilot2 function. Because of poor acoustic insolation – the noise cancelation system was the important way to have the “silent” car. With the second generation, it is mainly a very good audio system that I often listen to for 8 hours in a row…

Steering wheel is rather too hard, although it is comfortably small. Buttons are generally good quality, contrary to other Japanese car, which is their big problem.

There are lots of very interesting solutions like the trunk rollo which goes up with the trunk door or the clean doorstep.




If you want to buy Mazda, it has to be a petrol engine.

There are two reasons for that: Mazda petrol engines are famous and really good, and Mazda doesn’t have a premium acoustic insolation. If you bought diesel it wouldn’t be silent enough (but if you know me you know already that I think that diesel is not the comfortable choice for almost any car).

CX-5 First Generation 2013

CX-5 First Generation 2013

Driving Cx 5 is rather more relaxing than sporty. But not really calm.

Mazda has that DNA that pushes you a little bit to use the high RPMs, because it is the high RPM Japanese engine. If you want it accelerate, you have to let it go high.

On the other hand, that is also the high compression engine and it is way much better at the low RPMs than at the older construction. That means you have also some torque on the low RPMs even if it is no kick like in turbo engines. You can also drive it in a completely different way than a turbo engine. The high RPMs “don’t make a hole in the tank” and that is convenient to accelerate aggressively and then only to save the speed.

The 2.5 aspirated engine with its 192 PS is powerful enough for that car but doesn’t make it really quick. Mazda doesn’t plan to give it turbo one in Europe. Actually, I want to drive the 6 -second cars (to 100 km) and Mazda CX 5 is only 8 seconds.

The engine is a good compromise between being silent and having good sound. Exhaust is optimal for such a car.

The 2.0 160 PS engine is not enough for that car. Especially with the manual gearbox. Nobody wants to shift very often, but if you want it move you have to.

CX-5 Second Generation 2018

CX-5 Second Generation 2018

Actually, there is the 2.5 Engine with active cylinders deactivation system available. And you can’t feel when it takes place. The infotainment also does not inform you when it happens. Wrong. I want to know it, but I will come back to the infotainment later. From my statistics, I had the 8.3 litres on 100 km on the 2.0 and I have 8,7 litres at 2.5 engine.

With the new cylinders deactivation system, that small difference should be even smaller. Even if that is most reliable reason to buy 2.5 because it isn’t hungrier at all.

Manual gearbox is typical Japanese one and is working gorgeous. The operational travel is short, and you always find the position easily. But that is manual gearbox and except for the MX 5, it is already dead.

The Automatic one is correct. There are only 6 gears and the gearbox works quickly enough in most situations… until you want to drive in a really sporty style. The manual shifting doesn’t work at all, gearbox reacts very slowly. But that is a conventional gearbox and there should be no problems with it when you drive that car more than 200 thousand kilometres.

The 4×4 drivetrain is really good. And I am saying that as a Subaru owner and somebody who drives white roads often and aggressively.

We test the Drivetrain seriously...

We test the Drivetrain seriously…

So, if you go very wild it is possible to drive CX-5 sidewalls on the dry pavement. There is enough torque on the rear wheels.

At the normal mode the drivetrain is very neutral, to feel the torque at the rear you must switch off the TCS system.

The first CX-5 was very soft. Comfortable and effective off-road, but not very stable at the high speed over 160 kmh.

First generation facelift has got the 2,5 litres engine first, and became very hard. It is not very comfortable but very effective. Driving at 200 kmh is not problematic, even if the car comfort zone lays at the speed of 180 kmh for me. Off-road wouldn’t be comfortable for you. But the car has no problem even if one wheel has no contact with the ground.

Second generation lays finally in the middle. It is much more comfortable than facelift, and surprisingly more stable as well. That is so also because the second-generation body is lower and doesn’t catch so much air.

The start-stop works different and is patented there: works very gently. The system is reliable and you don’t need to have doubts to use it.

Second generation has also the G-Vectoring system, that control the engine to eliminate the body movements to make the driving more comfortable. That works, but I have the feeling that the gas pedal reaction is less dynamic, and the car is much slower than the facelift, because the body doesn’t react on the accelerations. It would be good to connect that function with the driving modes button and deactivate it when you want to feel the engine kicks.

On the other hand, the second generation is unbelievably stable on the corners and has a much better gearbox software, and the gearbox is more suitable for sporty driving.

And what is most important:

The Second Generation CX-5 has no acoustic insolation problems. You can finally park it in Europe and compare even with much more expensive cars at the segment.


Assistants situation.


CX-5 First Generation Facelift 2016

CX-5 First Generation Facelift 2016

In the case of CX 5 there is nothing missing. And the systems are very good when you compare it to the price that the Mazda costs.

For me only the full version is interesting. If you don’t have the full safety systems option, your car is less safe than full version.

First generation after facelift has:

Safety brake system, front and rear, with rear cross traffic alert – It should stop your car completely in case of emergency up to 30 kmh speed and prepare your car to emergency braking above that speed. And it works perfect even on a parking lots and saved my hood twice by the “stop and go” traffic on the motorway.

How was it? The traffic stopped when I was travelling at 120 kmh, Mazda was able to warn me before I touched the brake pedal. She reacts immediately. Then CX-5 have moved the brake pads just above the discs and increased the fluid pressure in the brakes installation. That causes full brake power immediately if you touch the brake pedal. You can save a lot of time on it and I was pretty sure I didn’t have enough place to save myself. Mazda  stopped much earlier than I’ve thought. When Istopped I had less than 1 meter and I was waiting what comes from the rear. I was lucky. There was the new Volvo.

My car wouldn’t exist today without that system. I would have problems with the insurance rate, ticket and other consequences… Think about it before your problems come.

Line keep assist with line departure alert – That is the reason I drive that car. Normally after 400 km trip I often needed the change. Not more. I can drive longer and I’m not tired, deconcentrated or asleep. It works because it helps you just a little bit, but enough to make you more effective. I advice you to change standard setting there: early action, and it will be much more effective. Together with:

Active Cruise Control – makes your car half autonomous. On the motorway you can relax, listen to BOSE and use only the blinker and steering wheel a little bit.

CX-5 First Generation Facelift 2016

CX-5 First Generation Facelift 2016

Of course, that systems are made to make you safer. Not to watch youtube during drive! But if you are so stupid, I advice you to go to the doctor or hell…

blind spot monitor – informs you if somebody appears on your blind spot, by the lights installed in the mirrors.

Adaptive LED lights – Even if you have only 8 mid range segments, and on/off mode for real long bulbs, it is enough to make it effective.

Second Generation:

There is next step and huge improvement:

mainly at the Line keep assistant and active cruise control. It works more naturally, less aggressively, and let you remove the hands from steering wheel for longer than 1 second without warning. The Traffic Sign Recognition System is new, and it isn’t state of art. It looks only at signs and doesn’t care what the navigation says. It often causes  the situation when the system doesn’t show you anything despite of being in the city and 50 or 30 zone. It should show the speed limit from navigation system and change it only when the sign shows something different than navigation. The Adaptive LED Lights are much better and have more segments.




Mazda has strange politics there. The aim is to make it very easy for the elderly or not involved customers. That works well, but holds me definitely out if the target group and I feel not good with it.

I remember my first CX 5 with a build-in TOMTOM . And then they gave me that lifting infotainment with many bugs, different navigation system and sweet graphics. I was not used to that in a Japanese car… something was not working… it is much better after 2 years of updates. Most of bugs are gone but also today there is an Android Auto missing. (Update: No more, Apple Car play and Android Auto are available as an option even for older cars)

One thing I love is the info screen where you can see the car status. The engine temperature. The battery and the air conditioning status. That informs you if the start stop system could be activated and if not, why not. Not a lot people do know why their start stop is not working. You can have it showed right there at that screen. The most common mistake is air conditioning out of “Auto” function, other reason is start-stop wouldn’t be activated after high speed passages.




CX-5 Second Generation 2018

CX-5 Second Generation 2018

The Mazda cx5 has won the complicated process to be my car over 5 years.

She made it because the car has an interesting design, is incredibly modern, has good interior quality , moreover, driving it, can be a little bit sporty because of big petrol engine and good 4×4 drivetrain.

The second generation is the new design language and finally doesn’t have a typical japanese car problem: It is well insulated, has good quality buttons. I definitely advise you to check that car  if you are searching for something it that segment.

And the best one, when it comes to its cost,  what you get is just like a big promotion… The Mazda residual wert is behaving much better than other manufacturers. Check before you leave it back after leasing.