Mazda CX-5 11b

Mazda CX-5 Review : One-year Ownership Report

Rating: 8.5
$16,650 $19,800 Dealer
  • Fuel Economy
  • Engine Power
  • CO2 Emissions
  • ANCAP Rating
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Well, that went quick. The Spinks family has hit the first anniversary of buying a Mazda CX-5, so it’s a perfect time to reflect on the ownership experience so far.

The interior has all the classic signs of a family vehicle – an infant shoe here, a bib there, and the odd raisin to be found under a front seat – but apart from that, our CX-5 is still looking adequately new-ish.

And special kudos to the wife, Gloria – who drives it far more than I do – because there isn’t a single blemish on the 17-inch alloy wheels of our Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport.

At 12 months, it also means we’ve renewed our green slip and rego, and had our first service on the vehicle.

We skipped the six-month service on principle (with mileage still relatively low at that point) and held out for Mazda’s capped pricing servicing program (Service Select) to be expanded from just the Mazda 3 to other models mid 2014.

According to Service Select, our first service should cost no more than $296… And the total cost was $294.05, broken down into labour ($158.60), parts ($18.27) and engine oil replenishment and other lubricant top-ups ($90.45).

The service also included an update for the sat-nav, and the free wash and vacuum is always appreciated.

All doesn’t seem quite right with the update with the Tom Tom navigation, however. Some of our testers had mentioned to me there had been occasional issues with the nav on a recent CX-5 press vehicle, which contradicted the experience we’ve had on ours – until now. We’ll be following up with the dealer.

We know real-world fuel economy figures are always of great interest in our long-term reports.

We’ve been trying to lower the trip computer’s 9.3L/100km readout for months without success – in fact, the figure has jumped to 9.4 or 9.5 before dropping again.

For actual consumption, we’ve recorded anywhere between 7.8 litres per 100km to 9.7L/100km, with the former typically achieved when pretty much a full tank has been used for a quick return trip from Sydney to Canberra for family visits.

Those trips have been frequent due to a serious illness in the family.

It’s such trips where I have wondered whether we should have paid more for the diesel CX-5, as it would be preferable to do the Harbour City to Capital return run with more fuel in play. (It was refreshing on a recent long-weekend trip to Berry on the NSW coast to use only a quarter of a (bigger) tank in a Toyota Prado diesel.)

Other niggles? It’s still annoying that the sat-nav (new glitch aside) can’t be operated on the move, tyre noise could be quieter, auto on/off headlights (as opposed to auto headlights) should be standard, and the rear window shade accessory isn’t that effective at keeping the sun off little Sebastian’s face.

At least the sat-nav’s GPS speed read-out is handy for freeway driving. We use it as our guide rather than the speedo that is out by nearly 5km/h (overestimated at least, thankfully).

We’ve also yet to run out of storage options for various junk/drinks/phones on long journeys, while the ability to pair different phones for different functions – one for calls, one for audio selection – is always valued.

We’ll also never get bored of how satisfying the Mazda CX-5 continues to be to drive – even around town.

If I may make a big call, it steers better than a BMW X5 let alone rival SUVs.

I’d always prefer to have an abundance of torque at my disposal, but the all-wheel-drive petrol’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder and six-speed auto are not only a smooth combination but they also do a great job of maintaining momentum on hills.

Alborz and Tony aren’t fans of the CX-5’s low-speed ride. They’re right that there’s some firmness, but to be fair to the Mazda it’s set up for disciplined vehicle control – and even the wife has noticed how the body is far more settled than many other SUVs she gets to sit in.

It pays a greater dividend on trips across the countryside. The aforementioned Prado was a good example, because its lurching, roly-poly handling nearly made the wife sick despite the Toyota being driven below the actual posted limit. (But it came into its own when we did some off-roading.)

How long will we hang on to the CX-5? It’s a good question. Resale, as we expected when choosing the Mazda, is pretty good. Examples of 2013 Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sports with similar kilometres on the clock are going for between $31,500 and $33,000.

Still means up to nearly $5K down the gurgler in the worst-case scenario, though also in my thoughts is the first major update for the CX-5 since its 2012 launch – due in 2015.

The good news is that our spy photos suggest changes to the exterior design will be subtle. You don’t want it to look like a new-generation change that would add more ‘wrinkles’ to the outgoing model.

Less good is that the MY15 Mazda CX-5 can be expected to get the company’s MZD Connect system first seen in the latest Mazda 3. With the superior resolution, graphics and rotary controller, it’s something we’d definitely rather have in our CX-5.

Will be interesting to see how Mazda resolves the centre console set-up, though, as engineers told me the CX-5 missed out on the (pre-MZD) rotary controller that went into the Mazda 6 because the SUV needed cupholders.

So, any newer models that could tempt us away from Mazda if we were to change vehicles? Not yet in our price range (ruling out the Porsche Macan), though the Nissan Qashqai has come closest to ticking the right kinds of boxes.

Next year’s Land Rover Discovery Sport also looks intriguing, though the crucial question is whether it will start as low as the vehicle it replaces – the Freelander 2 (from $42,300).

I’ll let you know if we decide to stick or twist.