We bought this car whilst looking for a do-it-all, all-rounder; a comfortable tourer with solid dynamics, with good standard kit (standard keyless start, touchscreen and reverse camera were rare for the class in 2013), whilst already being a Mazda fan, for their style, heritage and focus on the driver experience (I used to own a Mazda3).
This car has almost entirely exceeded expectations. The turbo-diesel engine, ride and handling in this car make this the most relaxed, assured vehicle I have ever driven or travelled in on the open Victorian roads. It’s a tidy handler around the suburbs too. We have driven the car with 4-5 people on board on the open roads (all seated in comfort) and at times with a trailer hooked up and it still feels powerful and confident. Some cars you load up with people or place on the open road and they feel overwhelmed; suspension sagging, visibly weighed down or underpowered. This is where this car performs best, taking everything in its stride whilst feeling completely unaffected. Overtaking is effortless, V6 Commodores keeping up with it when moving from the lights create so much noise, yet this'll pull away alongside them in relative silence. Fuel consumption has been great too, it’s just a shame you can’t get a manual transmission to go with that turbo diesel engine, for increased driving pleasure. Jumping back into our Mazda2 you are aware how well the ‘5 cuts noise, vibration and harshness, as well as the strength of its motor. The ‘5 has been 100% reliable over 60000km and it still feels well screwed together. Quality wise it has aged well too, no squeaks or rattles.
Sharper, more car-like steering, better over the shoulder visibility and rear air vents would be welcome additions in future models, our little Mazda2 is more engaging for chucking into corners and flicking it around for kicks. Longer 15000km service intervals as found in the Hyundai's and Kia's would be good too. There is some mild turbo lag noticeable during stop start driving, the 2.5 petrol might be more seamless for entering roundabouts from a standstill. We drove an IX35 last year and the steering was more engaging in that, it sat flatter in corners, had a better infotainment system as well having a bigger boot and full sized spare. During Ikea runs we have occasionally wished for the bigger load area of the CRV, but to it’s credit the ‘5 has never not fitted whatever we wanted to carry; flat pack sofa beds, shelving units, you name it. We would love the clearer, bigger touchscreen and MZD interface from the current CX5's, keyless proximity entry should be standard on the mid spec Maxx Sport models too. But this is nit picking for what has been a great car and all rounder. We would happily buy one again.