At first glance, you may not categorize me as a ‘car person’. But trust me, behind the wheel I like to go fast as much as the next person.
Imagine my delight, then, when I was offered the latest Mazda CX-5 Limited Diesel to test drive for a week. Seven days of cruising around the city sitting high and mighty in one of the chicest vehicles to hit the market in 2017? Sounds like my idea of heaven.
From the second I picked up my new wheels for the week, I was in awe. After adjusting my seat to the optimum driving height (thanks to the clever 10-point seat adjustment system), I sank into the luxe black leather seat and decided I never wanted to leave (yes – it’s that comfortable).
Cruising back to the office in the limited-edition Mazda CX-5 drew attention for all the right reasons. I must admit, I did feel that bit cooler coasting down Ponsonby Road in my Sonic Silver whip. A new front grille gives the vehicle a super modern update, while 19-inch alloy wheels and blacked out privacy glass complement the chic aesthetic and flowing lines of the CX-5.
Designed with speed and grace in mind, the vehicle follows a revolutionary design philosophy to represent the boldness, elegance, and maturity setting new standards for the next generation of SUV’s.
A world away from what I’m used to driving, the spacious interior meant there was plenty of room for my gym bag, handbag, and laptop case which I dutifully tote around day in and out.
I mean, I practically had moved in. I explored all nine of the separate storage compartments with such delight and decided on a use for each – sunglasses, phone, cup of tea, you name it – there was a spot for it. The new Mazda CX-5 boasts an increased capacity in every sense, so you can fit in more than ever before.
My day-to-day is always so jam-packed, so I like to make my schedule work for me by multitasking like a pro. I often use my commute from to Cockle Bay (a lengthy drive from Auckland’s CBD) as the chance to make any important calls via a hands-free system. I synced my iPhone using MZD connect, allowing me to safely access my contacts, social media, and music.
Each phone call was mega clear and sounded great through the 10 Bose™ speakers seamlessly distributed throughout the cabin’s interior.
Aerodynamic considerations meant the CX-5 was incredibly quiet to drive, too, with no road, tyre or wind noise interrupting any of my calls.
As digital editor, it’s important for me to be ‘always on’, so knowing I can charge my phone in the car is a must for me. Thankfully, the Mazda CX-5 has not one but four USB ports available in the front and rear rows, so my phone never ran out of juice. Yas!
My partner and I recently got engaged (YAY!) and we’d set aside our Saturday morning for some venue scouting. We piled into the car with all matter of bridal magazines and punched in a West Auckland address using the in-built satellite navigation system to set our destination.
Accessed via the centre console, a round dial allowed me to scroll through the various menu options – music, communication, then navigation – clearly visible on the large upright touchscreen on the dashboard.
My car-mad partner sulked most of the way there about not being able to drive the car himself (#sorrynotsorry), while I was busy paying attention to the full colour Active Driving Display – an absolute must on unfamiliar roads. This clever feature is carefully positioned in the driver’s line of sight to display crucial driving information like the speed limit, your current speed, and any road conditions to be aware of.
But this is not the only safety tech employed to assist the driver in avoiding any potential hazards, or to minimise damage as a result of unavoidable impact. i-ACTIVSENSE technology such as the Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) uses a Stop & Go function which helps reduce stress in stop-start traffic. This smart addition automatically adjusts vehicle speeds to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead – perfect while cruising the open road out to Kumeu! MRCC is able to bring the car to a complete stop in traffic, and take off once again when the traffic is moving, providing the stop is less than three seconds. If the stop exceeds three seconds, the car can sense other drivers initiating acceleration before taking off. This ‘set and go’ feature made our cross-town drive more stress free!
A lazy lie in was on the cards for this morning, complete with breakfast and bed from my willing fiancé. A Sunday well spent brings a week of content, as they say!
Come my Sunday afternoon food shop, I was grateful for the super roomy boot space. I filed several bags in with ease (and room for more had I decided to get totally carried away). Impending rain made me all the more grateful for the power liftgate function, which gently closed the boot without assistance at the touch of a button.
Like most people, I hate Mondays. I hate Mondays even more when I sleep through my alarm and have to sit through traffic for an hour and a half to get to work. I discovered the Mazda CX-5 employs a number of i-ACTIVSENSE safety features, which were put into play come Monday morning, when heavy rain and plenty of traffic made my journey in to work a rather long one.
We all know braking in the rain can be dodgy at the best of times, but my mind remained at ease thanks to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) which instantly brakes the inner rear wheel to offset understeer, or the outer front wheel for oversteer. Plus, you won’t skid, either, the Traction Control System (TCS) reduces torque to driven wheels to minimise skidding, whether the road is wet or dry!
I was glad I never needed to use the Advanced Smart City Brake - Mazda's autonomous emergency braking system – my following distance always allowed ample room! But definitely good to know it was there should I have run into any trouble!
If I had my time again, I’d want to learn how to drive in this bad boy. That isn’t to say the compact SUV isn’t for the experienced motorist among us, rather it plays host to several driver assist programs that make navigating your way around both the city and open road a breeze.
i-ACTIVE AWD monitors and predicts road conditions so the CX-5 can adjust its performance accordingly. One of my favourite features was the Electric Park Brake using the Auto Hold button, meaning I could take my foot off the brake at the lights without fear of rolling backwards.
Nervous drivers will appreciate the Blind Spot Monitoring system, which employs radars on all external mirrors blind spots to detect any unseen vehicles. Especially useful when trying to change lanes! An LED icon on the relevant mirror flashes, while accompanied by beeping alerts.
Another favourite of mine was the Lane Departure Warning, which uses a widescreen mounted camera to monitor road lane markings. An audible warning sounds if you’re about to stray from your lane, and will act if it determines the vehicle will leave its lane by applying a degree of corrective steering.
And as for the G-Vectoring Control! Needless to say, my fiance couldn't get over how smooth my driving was in the CX-5.
Honestly, driving this car is an actual dream.
My last day in the Mazda CX-5 was by far the worst day, ever. No exaggeration, the thought of giving the car back induced all kinds of ‘back to my tiny car’ dread. While I’d racked up some serious mileage during my week-long sojourn, I was amazed to discover how cheap it was to fill up at the end of the week. I spent $52 filling the tank, which is far less than what I’d spend on my little Suzuki Swift.
Not surprising, the Mazda CX-5 Limited Diesel uses a mere 6.0L per 100km! Just one of the three engine types available, the new wave of CX-5’s offer improved acceleration response and enhanced fuel efficiency, meaning it’s better on your wallet. Both petrol and diesel engines offer maximum torque all while using minimal fuel. Stoked!
And just like that my week of bliss was over, and I’m converted. I’ve already alerted everyone with ears that my next car will be a Mazda CX-5 – that’s how much I loved it. I’m having withdrawals already…
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