I purchased the Mazda in September 2014 after looking around at many different vehicles of all types and not just SUVs.
In point of fact I was somewhat against buying an SUV as I have always enjoyed driving agile and responsive sedans and hatches with great steering and chassis balance and I did not feel that the gap could be overcome.
However I had heard and read so many good reports on the CX-5 I asked the dealer for an extended test drive.
It wasn't until I had driven the Mazda for a day in the area and roads on which it would be used that I came to realise its considerable talents. I needed a spacious and flexible vehicle that would seat 4 adults in comfort, while also having flexibility for carrying all manner of things from time to time.
I also live in an area with lots of hills and steep climbs so I needed an engine with excellent torque. Most of my driving involves 20 minute plus journeys as well, so the decision to buy the Diesel engine Maxx Sport was an easy one and it has proved to be an ideal choice.
I can do a week's worth of driving, which is usually about 350KM, never wanting for power or performance in any situation and my long term average fuel consumption is 7.5 L/100KM.
Steering and handling are truly a revelation, not just for an SUV, but by hatch or sedan standards as well. In fact, the CX-5 drives more like a medium sized hatchback. It has excellent steering feel and feedback, agile handling and great roadholding.
Every other SUV I tried felt seriously compromised in comparison especially in regard to steering feel. Most of them felt lifeless, numb and far too compromised for my tastes and standards.
The transmission is also a standout and always seems to find the right gear for any given situation. It has none of the jerky hesitancy of DSG type transmissions and is light years ahead of the dreadful CVTs that plague most other Japanese cars these days.
I really don't see why more manufacturers do not refine and improve the "regular" torque converter transmissions and I firmly believe they are superior to both "DSG" and CVT 'boxes in every situation. Mazda has really nailed this brief and shown that this type of transmission is still relevant and even desirable, into the future
Negatives are very few, but every car has them and the CX-5 is no different.
The ride on many urban roads is very firm and sometimes uncomfortable but this is the trade off for superior body control and handling and it is one I am happy to make.
The seats are also far too firm and can result in the anaesthetisation of your posterior ( otherwise known as numb bum ) after an hour or two and this may well be my biggest point of disappointment with the vehicle.
The low beam headlights are also disappointing and the front on styling is not exactly inspiring, but these are relative nit-picks in what is an outstanding overall package.
Servicing is 9 months/10,00KM, which could be less frequent and the OE Yokohama tyres were completely worn after 20,000KM as they are a very soft compound.
These have now been replaced by the truly excellent Goodyear Efficient Grip SUV tyres which have at least equal ride and silence, but also superior steering feel and handling. They also seem to be wearing a lot better and look to be good for 45K+ and these are highly recommended for any SUV/CX-5 owner.
Taken overall, I really cannot think of a vehicle that better suits my needs in ANY area. Performance, economy, steering, handling ,safety, flexibility and value for money are all outstanding
When I purchased the Mazda,I had no idea it would turn out to be so ideal for my needs and although it has dispelled my SUV misgivings, there are still many other SUVs out there that I wouldn't consider owning due to their dynamic compromises.
I love driving first and foremost and the Mazda carried me across that Rubicon and that is why I like it so much. It is easily the most satisfying urban/on road based SUV on the Australian market for daily driving, unless you have $100K+ for a Porsche Macan, which is 100% sublime but until I win lotto the Mazda will do just fine and for once, all the hype is well deserved