Better diesel, 360 camera, better HUD, price cuts for #1 SUV

The second-generation Mazda CX-5 has only been on sale since March last year, but the company has already rolled out a series of updates to keep the market's best-selling SUV at the top of the pile.

With brand new Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester models coming, and a revised Hyundai Tucson near, it's a timely tweak, with the focus on cabin tech and drivetrain engineering.

The headline act is Mazda's revised 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine expected to account for a modest 15 per cent of sales, or about 300 units per month.

Changes include the adoption of more rapid multi-stage combustion, necessitating new combustion chamber and piezo injectors. There'a also a new two-stage twin turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, and a slightly higher combustion ratio (from 14:1 up to 14.4:1).

The result is a hike in peak power from 129kW to 140kW, and a maximum torque increase from 420Nm to 450Nm - at 2000rpm. That's 50Nm more than an Audi Q5 TDI offers.

Mazda also claims to have improved NVH suppression, reduced engine knock, and cut fuel use to 5.7L/100km (down 0.3L) on the combined cycle.

On the petrol side, Mazda has added cylinder deactivation on the 140kW/252Nm 2.5 engine to slightly reduce fuel use – basically when the engine's load is low, you're running on two cylinders – while the base 2.0-litre engine gets the most minor power hike, up 1kW to 115kW.

Other tweaks include the addition of a 360-degree overhead camera view in addition to the reversing camera, on the top-of-the-range Akera. On top of this, all grades from Touring upwards get a new head-up display that projects onto the windscreen rather than the old flip-up separate glass screen.

Impressively, despite the improvements, Mazda has also cut pricing largely across the 12-variant range: the Maxx Sport and Touring drop $400, while the GT and Akera are $800 less.

Interestingly, Mazda expects the high-end CX-5 GT to account for 23 per cent of sales, behind only the Maxx Sport (33 per cent). The flagship Akera is projected to make up 20 per cent of sales, the Touring 15 per cent and the price-leading Maxx just 9 per cent.

Mazda also reckons 58 per cent of the 2000-monthly sales target will be the 2.5 petrol engine with all-wheel drive, with a further 15 per cent for the revised diesel/AWD. The smaller 2.0-litre petrol and front-wheel drive combination will make up the remaining 27 per cent.


2018 Mazda CX-5 pricing (MLP):

GradePowertrainDrivePrice
Maxx2.0 petrol 6MTFront$28,690
Maxx2.0 petrol 6ATFront $30,690
Maxx2.5 petrol 6ATAWD$33,690
Maxx Sport 2.0 petrol 6ATFront $33,990 (down $400)
Maxx Sport 2.5 petrol 6ATAWD$36,990 (down $400)
Maxx Sport 2.2 diesel 6ATAWD$39,990 (down $400)
Touring 2.5 petrol 6ATAWD$38,590 (down $400)
Touring 2.2 diesel 6ATAWD$41,590 (down $400)
GT2.5 petrol 6ATAWD$43,590 (down $800)
GT2.2 diesel 6ATAWD$46,590 (down $800)
Akera2.5 petrol 6ATAWD$46,190 (down $800)
Akera 2.2 diesel 6ATAWD$49,190 (down $800)

2018 Mazda CX-5 spec breakdown:

Maxx

  • 17-inch steel wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Power folding mirrors
  • Cloth seats
  • 7-inch screen with MZD Connect
  • DAB+
  • Bluetooth/USB
  • Keyless push-button start
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward and reverse AEB

Maxx Sport extras

  • Satellite-navigation
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Auto headlights
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
  • Climate control
  • Rear seat USB/armrest

Touring extras 

  • Power mirrors
  • Head up display
  • Faux suede/leather seats
  • Proximity key fob
  • Front sensors
  • Traffic sign recognition

GT extras 

  • 19-inch alloys
  • Remote, electric tailgate
  • Sunroof
  • Front seat position pre-sets
  • Leather trim (white/black)
  • Bose audio, 249W/10 speakers

Akera extras 

  • 360-degree monitor
  • Radar-activated adaptive cruise
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Driver attention alert/monitor
  • Lane departure warning and assist
  • Higher speed threshold on AEB