2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade Review

Mazda CX5 AWD SUV Update

2018 Mazda CX5 Overview

Mazda launched their all CX5 in April 2017 to great sales success and positive reviews. With the new model came a host of new technology and innovative features. So you may ask, why just 12 months later are Mazda updating the CX5?

Well the all new CX5 was pretty bloody good. What Mazda have done is focus on two key areas as well as some price reductions. That’s always a handy feature.

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

The two key areas are

  • Improvements to the engines in power and fuel efficiency and
  • Improvements in safety features.

The CX5 is available in five model variants, two engine options and two drivetrain options. Prices range from $28,690 – $49,190 MLP.

The small/mid SUV segment is becoming more crowded, yet Mazda have maintained sales dominance in the segment. These changes are aimed at improving an otherwise excellent product and remaining at the front of the growing pack behind.

This segment represents about 20% of the total growing SUV segment, so its importance is not to be underestimated.

More than 140,000 CX5s have been sold since it first appeared in 2011.

2018 Mazda CX5 Range

As mentioned the Mazda CX5 comes in five models

  • Maxx
  • Maxx Sport
  • Touring
  • GT
  • Akera

The various combinations and pricing are best explained in the following table;

MODEL ENGINE  DRIVETRAIN MLP
 Maxx  2.0L GE 6MT  FWD $28,690
 2.0L GE 6AT  FWD $30,690
 2.5L GE 6AT  AWD $33,690
 Maxx Sport  2.0L GE 6AT  FWD $33,990
 2.5L GE 6AT  AWD $36,990
 2.2L DE 6AT  AWD $39,990
 Touring  2.5L GE 6AT  AWD $38,590
 2.2L DE 6AT  AWD $41,590
 GT  2.5L GE 6AT  AWD $43,590
 2.2L DE 6AT  AWD $46,590
 Akera  2.5L GE 6AT  AWD $46,190
 2.2L DE 6AT  AWD $49,190

MLP is Manufacturers list price and doesn’t include things such as stamp duty or dealer delivery, registration or insurance etc. For a RDAP see your local dealer. It does include GST and LCT.

This indicates price drops across the range: the Maxx Sport and Touring variants will retail for $400 less than the previous model, while GT and Akera will retail for $800 less than the previous model

2018 Mazda CX5 Exterior

Nothing has changed with the exterior for the 2018 update. This is a good thing as the CX5 looks great as it is.

The CX5 maintains crisp clean lines with a family nose and bonnet as well as a blend of both masculine and feminine characteristics.

Obviously the external features change a little as you walk up through the range from MAXX to Akera. But the base model still has the same look and feel as the range top Akera.

Available with a choice of eight contemporary colours including  Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Eternal Blue Mica, Machine Grey Metallic, Sonic Silver Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica  and Jet Black Mica

In short the Mazda CX5 looks very stylish and gets a big tick from me for looks

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

2018 Mazda CX5 Interior

Again there are no changes to the interior for the update.

There are a couple of thoughts that first spring to mind when you sit in the CX5. Thoughts such as refined, functional, spacious and comfortable.

Obviously the top spec models have more bells and whistles, but even the entry level spec conveys these same four attributes.

Front occupants have enough room, although very tall drivers will look for a touch more seat travel. However the seats are supportive right from the Maxx to Akera.

The leather on the GT and Akera and additional adjustable lumbar support is worth the extra expense.

The thick steering wheel frames the three dial instrument binnacle. As for the dash dials, centre is speedo, left one is tacho and the right is the MFD.

Note that the active driving display, or as others call it, head up display, can polarise out which was a surprise as the GT we had for the COTY seemed different. Maybe I had different glasses on.

2018 Mazda CX5 UpgradeI do like the layout of the centre console/stack. It all seems to function pretty well.

The rear seats are sculptured for two people but will take three at a pinch and have a recline function.

Again they are pretty comfortable and have adequate head, shoulder, and knee and foot room for normal sized passengers.

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

The front centre armrest and storage is handy. It’s fair to say that the rear seats are amongst the most comfortable in the segment and the doors open wide for easy entry and exit. The rear wheel arch does restrict this slightly though.

There are air vents back there as well as USB ports. They will fold almost flat in a 60/40 configuration to increase the already adequate boot space.

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

The boot is larger than you might think and a handy shape for odd sized items and ranges from 442 – 1342L of volumetric space.

Interior trims include Black cloth, Black Maztex/Black synthetic suede, Black leather and a Pure White leather option, which looks smart but I really question white as a trim option in what is essentially a family car.

2018 Mazda CX5 Features/Technology

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

Maxx Features:

  • 17-inch steel wheels with 225/65 tyres
  • Headlamps (LED)
  • Power mirrors (body coloured with electric folding)
  • Front seats with: height adjustment and seat back pockets
  • Rear seats with: reclining function and 40/20/40 split fold backrest
  • Seat trim: Black cloth
  • 7-inch full colour touch screen display (MZD Connect)
  • Audio system with: AM/FM tuner, Digital radio (DAB+) and 6 speakers
  • Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio capability
  • Internet radio integration (Stitcher™ and Aha™)
  • Multi-function commander control
  • Advanced keyless push button engine start
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Parking sensors (rear)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Reverse camera
  • Smart City Brake Support [Forward/Reverse] (SCBS F/R)

Maxx Sport Features

As per Maxx, plus:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Front fog-lamps (LED)
  • Headlamps auto on/off
  • Wipers (front) 2-speed with rain sensing function
  • Rear-view mirror with auto dimming function
  • Air-conditioning (dual-zone climate control)
  • Rear seats with: Centre armrest storage and USB input
  • Satellite navigation

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

Touring Features as per Maxx Sport, plus:

  • Power mirrors (body coloured with heating and auto folding)
  • Active Driving Display (windscreen)
  • Seat trim: Black Maztex/Black Synthetic Suede
  • Advanced keyless entry
  • Parking sensors (front)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)

GT Features

As per Touring, plus:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres
  • Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS)
  • Remote operated power tailgate (open/close)
  • Power sliding and tilt glass sunroof
  • Front seats with: 2-position memory function (driver), 6-way power adjustment (passenger), 10-way power adjustment (driver) and heating function
  • Seat trim: Black leather or Pure White leather
  • Premium Bose® 249 watt amplifier and 10 speakers (including subwoofer)

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

Akera Features

As per GT plus:

  • 360° view monitor
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go function
  • Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH), hilo AFS
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS)
  • Smart Brake Support (SBS)

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

2018 Mazda CX5 Engine and Drivetrain

Here is where half the story lies. The slight improvements to the 2.5l petrol and more torque for the 2.2L GD Engines

The Mazda CX-5 comes with a choice of a 2.0L and 2.5L SKYACTIV-G petrol and a 2.2L SKYACTIV-D diesel engines.

These come in both FWD and AWD drivetrains and with a 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic and a 6-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission

The 2.2L SKYACTIV-D engine has increased maximum output from 129kW to 140kW and maximum torque from 420Nm to 450Nm.  The old engine was smooth, reasonably powerful and economical. The upgrade diesel engine is better.

The 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine has increased torque from 251Nm to 252Nm, while the 2.0L SKYACTIV-G engine has increased maximum power from 114kW to 115kW. As you would appreciate it is almost impossible to notice anything different about this engine.

There is no change to the 2.0L SKYACTIV-G petrol ENGINE.

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

2018 Mazda CX5 AWD Capability

The Mazda CX5 really is a city car with some AWD capability. If you limit your excursions to dirt roads, trips to the snow or to the beach then you will extract the best out of it.

If you expect more you will be sadly disappointed and you bought the wrong car.

The AWD system, which is advanced, also adds to the handling and safety aspects of the vehicle.

2018 Mazda CX5 What is it like to Drive

As there was no change to the 2.0L engine we didn’t drive it on the test. The 2.5L petrol engine is really the same as before.

This means that it is reasonably responsive, has adequate power for the size vehicle, and is quiet and not too bad on the fuel intake.

The 2.2L diesel engine is where the biggest gains have been made and the increase in torque from 420 to 450 Nm is noticeable.

The engineers will go into much detail about the miniscule multiple changes that have improved the engine. But for the rest of us it’s sufficient to know it’s much better.

The increase in torque and a relatively spread delivery means that the diesel CX5 is my pick of the bunch. In real world driving conditions you will never be found wanting more or really notice it is a diesel until you go to fill it up.

It’s quiet, almost no diesel rumble, responsive and powerful.

On the test we had the opportunity to experience back country roads, extended periods of gravel, suburban and freeway driving. I could go into detail, but let’s just say the CX5 handled it all with aplomb.

Especially on the extended corrugated dirt road. There was almost no rattle through the steering wheel, it remained composed throughout and while deep ruts tested the rebound, the suspension soaked most of the irregularities with ease.

On road there was little wind noise and almost no road or tyre drone. The CX5 provided an engaging driving experience that was smooth, comfortable and most of all reasonably fun.

2018 Mazda CX5 Upgrade

2018 Mazda CX5 Dimensions

The Mazda CX5 has an:

  • overall length of 4550mm,
  • wheelbase of 2700mm,
  • width of 1840mm,
  • Height of 1675mm,
  • Unladen ground clearance is 193mm,
  • Approach angle is N/A etc. ,
  • Wading depth is N/A,
  • Turning circle is 11.0m,
  • Towing capacity is 1800kg and tow ball rating is up to 150kg

2018 Mazda CX5 Safety

The Mazda CX5 has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating. It’s here where they have also upgraded the CX5.

This is a two edge sword. The entry level Maxx is equipped with a reasonable array of features.  However to access the full array of safety features buyers have to go for the Akers top spec model.

Maxx Safety Features include:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Parking sensors (rear)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Reverse camera
  • Smart City Brake Support [Forward/Reverse] (SCBS F/R)

The Touring adds:

  • Parking sensors (front)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)

GT adds:

  • Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS)

Then the Akera adds:

  • 360° view monitor
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go function
  • Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH), hilo AFS
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS)
  • Smart Brake Support (SBS)

2018 Mazda CX5 Conclusion

When Mazda introduced the new CX5 in 2011 they really tapped into the mind-set of the buying public. The all new model in 2017 was a great improvement. This upgrade is more of a tinkle with a few aspects.

Overall the Mazda CX5 is first class. It looks good, has a premium interior ambience, has room for four in comfort along with luggage and provides a choice of models/engines etc. for buyers.

Add to this the Mazda philosophy of an engaging driving experience and you have a medium AWD SUV that absolutely should be on your shopping list.

2018 Mazda CX5 Alternatives

  • Jeep Compass
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Subaru Outback
  • Kia Sportage
  • Audi Q2

What’s Good?

  • Ride and handling
  • Style and design
  • Interior ambience

What’s Not?

  • Reversed Tiptronic controls
  • Some Safety features only available on top spec Akera
  • Restricted AWD capability
About Rob Fraser 803 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, many years ago. He has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive.

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