Mazda CX-5 2018 akera (4x4)
Owner Review

2018 Mazda CX-5 Akera (4x4) review

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A recent phone call from my local Mazda dealer got me thinking. I answered the phone call and the salesman on the other end said "we've noticed your car is due in for a service on Thursday, would you consider trading it in?". Now, I've always loved the idea of upgrading my cars fairly regularly to stay up to date with all the latest technology and features that they have to offer, however, my honest answer was, "No".

I've had the CX-5 just over two years, and in those two years of clocked up just over 30,000km. I fell in love with the CX-5 back in 2012 when they were originally launched, but having just purchased an Audi A4, at the time I thought it'd be a bit absurd to trade it in. So I stuck with it, and had 6 years of trouble free motoring. Having had the diesel in the A4, I wanted to stick with what I knew and had learned to love, so really the petrol was out of the question in the CX-5 (partially because the 2.5 turbo wasn't available at the time). I fell in love with the instant torque in the diesel, and had heard amazing reviews about the fuel economy etc (later I'd learn that this wasn't always the case). I loved the technology offered in the Akera, so I wasn't even going to consider anything less. To be frank, I had basically bought the car before stepping foot into the dealer. I walked in Monday to look, and drive away Wednesday with my new car.

Fast forward two years, and I have been reflecting on the reasons I didn't take the salesman up on his offer of a 'fantastic trade in offer'. As a daily driver the CX-5 is far more comfortable than many other mid-sized SUV's that I have driven in the past. Jumping into the driver's seat you're greeted with a functional infotainment system, a simple dash cluster, and head-up display to avoid taking your eyes off the road. The leather seats feel premium to the touch and there's even leather look finishes with 'faux' stitching to the dash and doors. All the interior buttons and dials feel premium to touch, to the point they could be mistaken for a far more upper class model. The MZD system is simple to use, however can feel a bit delayed and laggy and requires regular software updates. I personally opted for fitting the Apple CarPlay to avoid the slow system.

The heated seats definitely heat up in a timely manner on a cool morning, however it's unfortunately lacking the ventilated seats that was later released on the updated model. The reversing camera quality isn't the best in class but it certainly does the job when combined with the front and rear parking sensors. There's plenty of cubby storage throughout the cabin and plenty of USB charging points with two for the front seats and two for the rear passengers. The rear passengers are greeted with rear air vents and a pull down centre armrest to make long trips comfortable. The standard Bose sound system is certainly sufficient enough to tune out when caught in bumper to bumper traffic during peak hour as well.

Boot space isn't class leading but the functionality of the 40:20:40 split folding rear seats make for an almost flat load space. The boot has a retractable mesh cover that is attached to the tailgate therefore it rises when the boot is opened. The electric tailgate makes it easier to load items in and out when your hands are full.

Standard features on the Akera include Radar Cruise Control, Active Lane Keep Assist and Blind-Spot Monitoring just to name a few, and these all come in handy during day-to-day town driving and the highway. Riding on 19-inch Toyo tyres there's almost no road noise that enters the cabin and that's paired with minimal engine noise, although at high revs the diesel note punches through.

The 2.2-litre twin turbo diesel is punchy, and provides ample torque and 'get up and go' when you need it. A mix of around town and motorway driving sees the fuel economy sit between 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres and 8.3L/100km which is considerably more than Mazda's claimed 7L/100km. However, a recent trip to the Atherton Tablelands saw fuel economy drop to 5.9L/100km.

Overall, the CX-5 in my own personal view would be one of the best mid-sized SUV's to come out of Japan. The sharp exterior styling paired with the sophisticated yet simplistic interior styling makes it stand out from the crowd. While the updated model that now receives ventilated seats, and a TFT screen in the dash cluster - among other minor creature comforts - has made the CX-5 stand out from the crowd, I found that these weren't necessities, and therefore I was happy to stick with my current CX-5 and kindly declined the offer of trading up to the 2020 model.