Jinba-ittai at its finest
Jinba-ittai, is a Japanese philosophy that Mazda has adopted, which in essence means, unity between rider and horse. This concept extends to how they build their vehicles, especially the new CX-5.
This is a vehicle that I have always been impressed with, primarily because of the Skyactiv engine. While many manufacturers are looking to capitalise on the new craze around the electronic vehicles, Mazda believes more can be done with the traditional combustible engine to make it run efficiently.
This provided the impetus for the company to develop their Skyactiv engine. I must give them a lot of credit for being persistent, especially after the faux pas with the rotary engine used in the RX-8.
This time around, they were determined to get things right and in 2012, the company gave birth to their Skyactiv engine. Ironically the two Litre version of this engine first premiered in the Mazda CX-5 in 2013 and is still used in the vehicle.
Does it still measure up?
The first time I test drove a CX-5 was in 2014 and I was impressed with how the engine performed, but my greatest caveat was that it was a new engine. The true test on any engine is how well it endures over time.
So the first thing I did before reviewing the new model, was to call some of my mechanic friends to ask if they had gotten any negative reports. None had anything bad to say, with the exception that it is one of the more complicated engines, which usually requires the attention of a specialist, and not a ‘street-side’ mechanic.
In the current model, the engine does the most to keep fuel consumption down, for example combustion duration is shortened to intensify air flow and increase injection pressure.
All this sounds good, but how does it feel?
The 2-litre engine is very capable and acceleration comes on very smoothly, but if you want it to perform in an aggressive manner, prepare to floor the pedal a lot. There is also a sport mode, which keeps the rev counter at a high mark to ensure the vehicle provides power on demand. All this is channelled through a six-speed automatic transmission with a twin-clutch gearbox.
For the more conservative drivers, there is the auto start/stop button which, when activated, turns the engine off when the vehicle comes to a stop, and on again when the brake is released.
The ride is very comfortable thanks to the suspension system and G-Vectoring control, which creates a great dynamic between G-force, acceleration, braking and turning. Basically, it ensures that there is no body roll and optimum control for the driver when taking corners. This is very crucial for any SUV, due to their high ground clearance, which can cause instability when turning at high speeds.
While driving on the highway, the Lane-Keep Assist system was very active and accurate. Whenever the vehicle was drifting over a defined white line, its sensors recognised this and tilted the steering in the proper position.
Another nifty feature is the adaptive LED headlights, which provide glare-free high beam for upcoming vehicles in the opposite lane. This helps with the constant dimming when driving on poorly lit roads, especially if you are a considerate driver.
The interior mimics that of most European manufacturers, which means its very clean and elegant. Buttons are placed in a symmetrical manner, that are simplistic and easy to reach. The main staple of the interior is the MZD Connect, which control’s all multimedia information, like bluetooth and the navigation system. These functions can be maneuvered by a dial on the centre console, behind the gear lever.
All this led me to my final thoughts as to ‘why aren’t these vehicles more popular among buyers?’ The fuel consumption is excellent and the durability of the engines have proven to be great. Maybe Mazda will have to shift some of its resources from research and development into marketing.
Black leather seats
Adaptive Driving Beams
10 Bose Premium Audio Speakers
8-Way Driver/Passenger Power Seat Adjustment with Lumbar Support and Memory Settings
19” Aluminum Alloy Bright Wheels
Cost of tested model, $6.7m
Vehicle provided courtesy of Executive Motors Ltd. Telephone 929-5274, email@example.com