After 3 years of ownership, and with the warranty coming to an end, I decided it was time to replace our 2012 CX-5 GT Diesel.
I had been happy with the CX-5 and it was difficult to think of another car that better suited our needs. The CX-5 had the right combination of features, performance, economy, size and practicality for our young family. The only other medium SUV that interested me was the Subaru Forester XT Premium, but at over $50k (plus on road costs), it was over our budget. In the end I decided to get the updated 2015 CX-5 GT.
As much as I loved the performance and economy of the diesel, I chose the 2.5L petrol this time as it is more suited to the type of driving we do, which is predominantly short trips around the suburbs. The diesel has a DPF which requires longer trips on a regular basis to ensure it is cleaned effectively, and we found that we weren’t doing that as often as we liked.
At $43k (plus ORC) the petrol GT was also $3k cheaper than the diesel, and with a change-over price of under $10k after negotiations (and selling our old CX-5 privately), the deal was done.
What was immediately noticeable about the petrol engine was the lack of midrange urge compared to the diesel. On our first long drive, we found that the car had to work hard up hills when it was fully loaded with the family. In contrast, with 420Nm of torque at 2,000rpm, the diesel just got on with the job and made it look easy. Hill? What hill?
Fuel economy was also better in the diesel than in the petrol. We were getting around 8 I/100km with the diesel in normal suburban driving conditions, and we are now seeing around 10 l/100km with the petrol in the same conditions.
I began to wonder if I had made the right choice. Perhaps I should have just paid the extra and gone for the diesel instead!
But as time went on, the car started to loosen up and I got used to the more peaky power delivery of the petrol engine. Off-the-line response is actually very good under light-to-medium throttle, which makes it feel spritely around town where we use it most. Given the chance to rev, the top-end urge of the petrol engine is quite strong. It is silky smooth at normal revs too, whereas the diesel could be a bit gruff at times. I’m really enjoying driving it now.
While it may not be as fuel efficient as the diesel, it is similar to what we were getting in our previous SP23 manual, which is pretty good considering the CX-5 has an automatic AWD drivetrain and is both larger and better equipped. The lower servicing costs and pump price of petrol also offset the diesel’s economy advantage.
Apart from the petrol engine, our new CX-5 has the latest 2015 updates, which included a more upmarket interior, updated MZD Connect infotainment system with rotary controller, driver’s seat memory that can be linked to each key, electric folding mirrors, front and rear LED lights, transmission sports mode switch, improved suspension tuning and better noise suppression. These add to the previous CX-5’s class leading attributes to make it a brilliant all-round package.
The new interior oozes quality and elegance, while the updated infotainment system is well featured and easy to use. I love the rotary controller and find myself using it a lot more than the touchscreen as you can go by feel rather than taking your eyes off the road.
The CX-5 has always been good dynamically, and the latest update improves on that again to give it a sophisticated blend of bump absorption and balanced handling.
Styling is subjective, but I think the CX-5 still looks good, and the subtle styling tweaks of the 2015 update have freshened it up a bit. I went a step further and fitted a set of 20″ wheels and sports springs for a more aggressive stance. I think it looks fantastic, but I could be biased!
With these changes, handling has been further improved and it now feels chuckable, agile and flat through corners in a way that is more hot hatch than family SUV. The trade-off is a slightly firmer ride over bigger bumps, but it is not crashy or harsh.
For the ultimate CX-5 experience, the diesel is still the pick due to its superior performance and economy. But if the diesel is not suitable for the type of driving you do, the 2.5L petrol version remains a highly competent package that looks great inside and out and should provide years of fuss-free ownership.