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DRIVEN in SA: Mazda's next-gen CX-5

2017-05-16 13:43

BRAND NEW LOOK: Mazda has given its new CX-5 a whole new look with stylish tweaks. Image: Quickpic

Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - Mazda South Africa has launched its second-generation CX-5 SUV.  

The Japanese automaker claims the new vehicle is has been refined on every level in terms of styling, driving dynamics and technology.

Prices start from R379 900 for the Active FWD to R557 500 for the top-of-the-range AWD variant. 

READ: Mazda launches its new CX-5 in SA - Prices and details

The local engine line-up comprises three options; SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre, 2.5-litre petrol as well as SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesel units. All 2.0-litre engine derivatives are available with both manual and automatic transmissions with the Dynamic derivative now offering an auto option.

 

New in SA

The 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines are available with an auto transmission. The 2017 line-up gains a new derivative, expanding the range from six to seven models. Mazda SA confirms the CX-5 will be available at dealership from June 2017.

Mazda launched its latest vehicle in Pretoria in May 2017, along with some activity at the Gerotek Testing Facility to showcase the CX-5's driving capabilities which included some skidpan driving on a very slippery area and driving both the old, and new CX-5 on the high-speed performance track.

The automaker claims the new SUV adopts the first of the SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics vehicle motion control technologies; G-Vectoring Control. This software-based system controls body roll for better handling, while suspension and powertrain improvements facilitate ride quality, claims Mazda.

In terms of styling, I am utterly in love with the SUV's new distinctive looks. The grill is totally different, as are the head and tail lights while bumpers and fog lights are different too. 

What's it like to drive? 

I tested the 2.0-litre petrol model mated to a six-speed manual 'box on the first driving stint. Gear changes are pretty smooth and the car picks up speed relatively fast and leaves you just enough power to overtake when need be. 

I also sampled the 2.0-litre auto version and I'd much rather prefer the manual unit; The 'box was confused as it searched for the correct gear. And, even when driving the old vs. new models along the performance track, I somewhat preferred the older version despite the new G-Vectoring control system. 

The 2.2-litre DE Active Auto seemed a lot more pleasant and I hardly experienced painful gear-searching as was the case in the 2.0-litre auto unit. 

The SUV is stable on the road and with Lane Keep Assist, it maintains and course-correct while driving. I always feel uneasy behind the wheel with these systems active but that's only because I want to be assured I'm in complete control of the vehicle The Lane Keeping Assist system is only fitted to the Astina Plus variant. 

A Lane Departure Warning creates an audible alert when the vehicle is about to stray from current lane is further enhanced by LKA which adds a slight amount of torque to steer the vehicle back into the lane (operates at speeds over 65km/h).

Vectoring Control system (GVC)

The G-Vectoring Control was born of Mazda's "human-centered development philosophy", says the automaker, and the idea of using the engine to enhance chassis performance. According to Mazda, it's the world's "first control system to vary engine torque in response to steering inputs. G-Vectoring Control detects steering inputs and slightly restricts engine torque output to shift vehicle weight forward slightly, adding more down force to the front tyres.

"A handling aid that aims to make racecar-like cornering precision something that every driver can enjoy, it leads to more direct handling and swifter reactions from the car which are interpreted more readily and accurately by the 'human body' - the driver - in control."

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