It didn't take Mazda long to plug the hole. Its rampant CX-5 has been selling up a storm since day one, but there was one recurrent criticism - many felt its 2.0 litre engine was a bit underdone.
Mazda has given it a heart transplant from the new Mazda6, and this 2.5 litre engine is just what the doctor ordered.And while few can find complaint with the rest of the package, that little bit of extra shove helps bring the CX-5's power and torque up to the level of newer SUV competitors from Ford, Mitsubishi, Honda and Toyota.
The other change comes in the form of the new range-topping Akera model, which adds the safety equipment of the GT model as standard. So, how does this one fare?
Quality: No qualms with quality; well-constructed and finely-finished plastics impart a very 'well-hewn' feel to the interior. The supple leather trim with contrasting red stitching looks and feels great too.
Unfortunately, seat trim aside, there’s not a lot to differentiate the top-shelf Akera model with lesser models in the CX-5 range. The plain door-trim and sombre centre console don’t really feel very special.
Comfort: The front seats are well-bolstered and the driver gets power adjustment.
But even with a reach-and-rake adjustable wheel, the ergonomics are not ideal for shorter drivers (I couldn't get fully comfortable) and taller passengers complained that the front of the seat squab is too high.
In the rear, adults will fit just fine - three across is a little snug, but not unbearable. The seat base though is a tad short for adult legs, perhaps making it better-suited to kids and young teens (and it's high enough to give them a good view through the side glass).
Equipment: Standard features include auto wipers and auto bi-xenon headlamps, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, multi-function steering wheel, heated front seats, leather trim and a powered driver’s seat.
There's also keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth, foglamps, sat-nav, sunroof, front and rear parking sensors and Bose audio system with USB input.
Storage: Rear seats can be folded in three sections from the boot or back seat, with a flat floor revealed when all seats are stowed. Seats up, there’s 403 litres of space, expanding to 1560 with the rear bench folded.
The centre-console cubby is just the right size for your phone and wallet, the glovebox isn’t oversized, but there’s a healthy amount of space throughout (and two cup holders).
Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013