This was perhaps one of those questions that nobody asked: does the Mazda CX-5 need more power?
Well, much to everyone’s surprise, Mazda Malaysia answered that clearly when it included the new 2.5T High variant pictured into the repackaged CX-5 line-up not too long ago. We sampled it just before prices were announced late last year and more recently over a weekend and, unsurprisingly, the results were rather interesting to say the least.
For us, our main gripe with the CX-5 over anything else lies in its cabin’s seemingly cramped real estate and less versatility over the class-leading Honda CR-V. Nevertheless, this was a quirk many willingly overlooked thanks to said cabin’s posh looks, plush build quality and respectable feature count.
That said, we aren’t ones to pass on the idea of adding more power to its package, and this particular Mazda crossover delivers its newfound pep rather well.
Predictably, when a turbocharger is cleverly adapted to its 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder heart to churn out hot hatch-like outputs, the results are easily positive.
Compared to the mid-spec – read: non-turbocharged – 2.5 High variant slotted just below it, this CX-5 feels more adept for highway cruises. Despite its size and bulk, its newfound power and torque punch enable easier overtakes and higher cruising speeds, thus making it a better mile-muncher of sorts.
Turning said affair into less of a chore are several clever electronic driver aids this premium-spec petrol-powered offering came brimmed with.
We’ll spare you the boring details and just note the critical ones, those being Mazda’s ingenious GVC Plus suite, as well as both lane-departure warning (LDW) and lane-keep assist (LKAS).
Though welcoming, this added zing in performance doesn’t shine as brightly when this CX-5 is tasked with the usual routine of the daily urban grind. For starters, despite having hot hatch power levels, its 1.7-tonne heft really shows here, meaning it won’t beat any mildly ‘warm’ hatches off the line at traffic lights.
Despite the added traction – and high-speed stability – granted by the all-wheel-drive (AWD) suite present, the thirst for petrol that accompanies it is guaranteed to thin out your wallet of precious bills with frequent visits to the pumps. Also, despite having an engine idling stop-start feature, it proved difficult to better an average of 10 litres per 100km when subjected to the urban condition.
The only saving grace to this is perhaps the amount of convenient tech Mazda packed this variant with to make urban routines both easier and safer. Notable highlights include Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) with pedestrian detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) function brimmed on top of a 360-degree parking camera, and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM).
That said, the absence of an intelligent or ‘active’ cruise control feature is a huge shame – it’s the only ‘smart’ feature lacking here. Apart from that and its rather princely price tag, this spicier flavour of the CX-5 isn’t a bad thing altogether. Surely, it’s still less of a ‘predictable’ choice than the aforementioned Honda rival.
To sum things up, this may be the peppy crossover some might want, but it is not what many need. After all, power isn’t everything… right?
Punchiest thing in segment with a posh cabin and loads of tech
Not the most versatile cabin in class, thirsty and pricey too