One of Australia's best-selling mid-size SUVs for a decade, the Mazda CX-5 is always going to be a great choice if you value stylish good looks and an exceptional driving experience.
That said, there are some nippy hybrid options out there, as well as SUVs that arguably offer better value. Here we take a look at the 2022 CX-5 in more detail, as well as consider some alternatives that could be a closer fit for your needs.
As you might expect from an SUV that's somewhere in the middle of its cycle, upgrades and modifications for the 2022 CX-5 are fairly minor. Features to look out for include:
- the turbo-petrol engine (which is one of the most powerful out there for a mid-size SUV).
- the significant list of electronic features, in particular the customisable driver display.
- sporty, urban and rugged trim choices enable drivers to customise their CX-5 as they wish.
Exterior and Interior
The front end has had a bit of an upgrade, featuring slender, slit-like headlights and a larger grille, along with a gently domed bonnet. Skillfully shaped bodywork, a roof-level rear spoiler and twin exhausts enhance complete the sporty, slightly aggressive vibe. If you want a vehicle that has an intimidating street presence, the CX-5 doesn't disappoint.
Mazda uses Kodo "soul of motion" design principles to good effect on both the interior and exterior of the CX-5. Well-known for attractive, high-end interiors, this 2022 CX-5 has a cabin that's spacious, beautifully appointed and incorporates high-end materials, particularly in the higher specs - the option of Nappa leather upholstery in the Akera variant, for example.
Despite a wide range of features, the dash and central console manage to avoid looking overcrowded. Heated front and rear outboard seats provide optimal comfort. Rear row air vents are a thoughtful touch for passengers, transforming the rear of the CX-5 into a pleasant space to spend time in.
A 438l boot space (with a handy powered tailgate) ensures sufficient space to meet the needs of most families.
Drivers can choose from a 2.0l naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine (115kW and 200Nm of torque), a2.5l naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine (140kW, 252NM of torque), a 2.5l 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine (170kW and 420Nm of torque), or a 2.2l diesel engine that offers 140kW and 450Nm of torque. Front-wheel and AWD options are available, paired with either an automatic or manual transmission.
Fuel efficiency is quoted at 6.9l/100km for the 2.0l, 7.4l for the 2.5l and 8.2l/100km for the turbo. Diesel drivers and expect 5.7l/100km.
Reviewers love the driving experience in the CX-5. Benefiting from excellent handling, a well-balanced suspension and responsive controls, this is a driver's vehicle that offers an exhilarating and engaging experience behind the wheel.
Whilst it's hard to fault the CX-5's performance, the lack of a hybrid option is lamentable. At a time when the majority of other car manufacturers have already launched several hybrid models, Mazda still only has one available, and the CX-5 isn't it. If fuel economy and opting for greener transport is a priority for you, there are more suitable options out there (take a look at the hybrid RAV 4, for example).
Overall the CX-5 has a good range of tech, including an impressive 10.25" infotainment screen in the Akera (lower specs have an 8" screen), keyless locking, a pushbutton start, powered tailgate, dual climate control (in the higher specs), and a customisable driver information screen. This last feature is really handy, as drivers can edit the screen to only display the features of most relevance to them.
Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatible, the infotainment screen also incorporates digital radio and sat-nav. It's hard to see how the tech could be improved, although a wireless charging facility would have been a useful addition to the features on offer.
The CX-5 incorporates a wide range of autonomous and physical safety features. Mazda is rated as the world's fourth safest car manufacturer, so it's little surprise that the CX-5 has a 5-star ANCAP rating.
A base-spec CX-5 Maxx will cost $31,390. At the other end of the price scale, an Akera will cost $53,680.
- powerful turbo-engine option.
- plenty of features.
- excellent driving experience.
- one of the more expensive options in the mid-size SUV category.
- no hybrid version.
- focused on the needs of the driver, rather than the passengers.
Stunning to look at, exhilarating to drive and packed with tech, the CX-5 is an attractive investment that has plenty of appeal. It may lack a little practicality, compared with more rugged offerings such as the Honda CR-V or the Subaru Forester.
Drivers hoping for a hybrid option will also be disappointed. Overall, the CX-5 is a hard SUV to better, but it's possible to find equally good options (albeit with a different focus) for less.
Other Options to Consider
If you like your driving, but also want the fuel economy and planet-friendly technology of a hybrid, the 2022 Rav4 is going to be of interest. This is a punchy, sporty SUV that's got enough going on under the bonnet to satisfy the most dedicated petrol head. Outselling the CX-5 in 2021, the Rav4 is a modern, forward-looking mid-size SUV that's definitely worth considering.
When it comes to value, you can't do much better than a Tucson. Despite the 2022 base-spec Tucson starting at just $26,195 (as against $31,390 for the CX-5), it still provides many of the key features you'll find in the CX-5.
The Tucson was in the top 20 best-selling vehicles here in 2021, so it's clearly a popular choice. If budget is a consideration, you may wish to consider sacrificing a little styling and a few features to save some cash. The Tucson is 5k cheaper, with very little difference in what you get for your money.
A seven-seater that still fits in the mid-size SUV category, the Honda CR-V is designed with practicality in mind. Little touches make a big difference. The rear doors open to 90 degrees, which is perfect if you're trying to juggle a car seat in and out of the vehicle.
A low boot lip (not to mention a powered tailgate) and excellent all-around visibility are other attractive features. Overall, the CR-V is a well-equipped workhorse that's an excellent family vehicle.