Winner of the Japanese Car of the Year Award 2012-13 and ranked as one of the five finalists for the 2013 Green Car of the Year Award at LA’s 2012 Auto Show. When Auto Trader had the opportunity to test drive the Mazda CX-5, we were interested to see how it would combine Mazda “Zoom Zoom” with safety and Eco-friendliness. My first car was an old Mazda 323 (1992), and I remember how attached I became to it, the seats were comfy, it was roomy enough to fit 5 (sometimes 6) friends comfortably on designated driver night; it was straight- forward and down-to-earth but didn’t put you in the un-cool category.
At a starting price of 94,000/-dhs the CX-5 is the first Mazda to feature the companies KODO – Soul of Motion design theme which takes its inspiration from the movements of animals. From the front, the car features newly styled headlights, grille and distinctive wings, which gives the sense of an onwards and upwards stance. The interior is driver friendly and Mazda’s use of finishing materials such as soft-touch fabrics and well-finished synthetics bring about a sense of quality. The 3-spoke steering wheel adds a dash of athleticism whilst the 17 cubic feet of boot space and rear seat folding combinations emphasise its practicality. As Mazda’s current contribution to the compact SUV market the CX-5 wheelbase is only 2 inches shorter than its big brother the CX-7 and the interior is virtually the same size, solidifying claims that the CX-5 could end up replacing the 7.
Mazda has utilised their unique SkyActiv values in the overall build of the car, which increase the efficiency of engine and transmission whilst reducing the weight of the body and chassis, these have led to increased performance and fuel savings. In addition safety features such as the High Beam Control System, which automatically switches between low and high beams, by using a camera on the windscreen to detect headlights at a distance of 600m have been fitted.
So we get the safe and sustainable design bit, but does the CX-5 deliver on the “Zoom Zoom”? The 2.0L 4 cylinder engine with ultra-high petrol compression reduces internal friction and increases torque, which ultimately does lead to enhanced fuel economy and lower emissions. The six speed automatic gear box selects well and has sharp enough reflexes to get you out of taxing situations and what it lacks in power at the lower-end is made up for when needing a burst of acceleration at speed. Ultimately though this car is engaging and has drivability stamped all over it.
In a lucrative market segment containing competitors such as the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V as well as the new RAV4, the CX-5 definitely offers plenty of rivalry and a distinctiveness that has led to high sales figures and revised targets. Mazda expect to have sold 190,000 units by the end of the current fiscal year and with such good sales, Mazda plans to increase production by 20% in March 2013. So it very much looks as if the ‘Sustainable Zoom Zoom’ in question, has certainly hit the right note.