Thursday, 24 May 2012

Petrol SUV with diesel economy, the Mazda CX-5

A chunky compact petrol-powered two-litre SUV that can do the business on the road yet return more than 47mpg sounds a bit too good to be true.

Well, it’s not fanciful make-believe, but very much what’s on offer from Japanese manufacturer Mazda, which is now rolling out its new-from-the-ground-up CX-5 crossover.

Getting fuel consumption somewhere in the mid-30s is very much the norm for this type and size of vehicle, but to return figures normally associated with diesel power is simply mind boggling.

And it’s all down to Mazda’s high-tech SKYACTIV package, a raft of new technologies which reduces the vehicle’s overall weight by the use of high-strength lightweight steels for the body and chassis and the development of advanced engines with world-beating compression ratios mated to efficient transmission systems.

There is only one petrol engine reserved for the CX-5, a normally-aspirated, lightweight, all-alloy 162bhp two-litre unit, good for a top speed of 124mph. It is available with manual transmission only.

The start/stop engine is fitted with direct injection and with a compression ratio of 14:1, it has the highest compression ratio of any petrol engine in the world – better than that of any F1 racing engine – yet weighs 10 per cent less than Mazda’s outgoing two-litre engine found on the brand’s other model ranges and produces 15 per cent more torque while using a similar amount less fuel.

In entry-level SE-L trim, the CX-5 comes with lots of standard features, including 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, electric windows, cruise control, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, trip computer and six-speaker CD/radio sound system.

Move up to Sport trim and gain full leather upholstery, xenon headlamps a reversing camera, 19-inch alloys and an upgraded stereo. An integrated TomTom sat-nav system can also be added to both trim levels.

The CX-5 also comes well equipped in the safety department. Traction and stability control and anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist are fitted as standard, as are front, side and full-length curtain airbags.

Also featured is Mazda’s smart city brake low-speed accident avoidance system which automatically brakes the car if it detects a collision is imminent.

Mazda’s are always a joy to drive and the CX-5 carries on the tradition. Quiet and polished on the hoof, the power delivery feeds in smoothly with little fuss, while the ride comfort is up with the best in its class.

More involved drivers will also enjoy the slick gear shift carried over from the evergreen MX-5 roadster.

Price-wise, the CX-5 is on a par with others in its class, but its superior fuel-economy and low CO2 emissions will give it a massive edge when it comes to running costs over the long term.


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