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Getting Activ – 2022 Mazda CX-5 Activ Review

This year the Mazda CX-5 celebrated its 10th anniversary. Having been with us for a decade, it has managed to carve out its own niche within the vastly competitive mid-sized SUV market. A mix of premium cabin surroundings, refined power units and a price tag not completely out of reach for most has made the CX-5 an immensely strong seller.

For 2022, Mazda have given the CX-5 a 10th birthday treat by injecting some new features, further refinement and an entirely new model grade in the form of the CX-5 Activ AWD featured here. This brings the total spec levels of the CX-5 family up to seven including both FWD and AWD versions.

The range starts at $42,690 plus ORC for the entry level FWD 2.0L GLX Petrol and culminates in the flagship AWD 2.5L Turbo Takami at $64,690 plus ORC. The AWD Activ sits bang in the middle at $51,390 plus ORC.

Now at first glance, it doesn’t appear that much has changed for the new CX-5 over the previous generation. Take a second gander however and you notice a new 3D textured front grill, restyled headlights with squared off LED running lights, cleaner cut taillights and my Activ test car features a hint of subtle lime green in the aforementioned grill. The Activ also gets blacked out door mirrors and 19-inch machine cut alloys.

To top it all off, we have this new colour called Zircon Sand Metallic. A mix between desert army beige with a hint of green added, it makes a pleasant change from the barrage of silver and black we see too often.

Under the bonnet sits Mazda’s proven 2.5L SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder petrol engine with power rated at 140kW and torque at 252Nm. A six-speed automatic transmission is able to send that power and torque to all four wheels thanks to i-Activ AWD. Mazda claim combined fuel consumption figures of 7.4L/100km. During my week with it I was able to average as low as 8.4L/100km. This was a combination of city driving and open road excursions. The CX-5 Activ will also emit 172g/km of CO2.

All CX-5s get a five-year warranty, five years roadside assistance and the three year/100,000km not cost servicing plan which is nothing to be sniffed at. Mazda will also fund five native NZ trees with every model sold as part of their Trees That Count campaign.

The new CX-5 also gets a revised drive mode set up called MI Drive. This means a more simplistic way of selecting different drive modes by just flicking a switch. The Activ and the Takami grade also get the addition of an off-road mode which, as you might imagine, reigns in that 140kW and AWD to ensure you get the best performance when off the beaten path. While I don’t expect that many new CX-5 buyers will be roughing it on a daily basis, its nice to know you have it on tap.

Inside, the Activ gets all the familiar surroundings unique to a CX-5. The switchgear feels so much better put together than others and, believe it or not, is actually satisfying to touch. That lime green continues in earnest on the inside too by way of detailing on the leather/synthetic suede seats and around the air vents.

These seats give a good deal of support and comfort up front and those in the back do the same. While the steering wheel does feel good in your hands, it does feel a bit last week when compared to others in Mazda’s family.

The Activ is the first model in the CX-5 family to get the larger 10.25” infotainment screen. Anyone familiar with Mazda’s systems will take to this like a duck to water and even those who haven’t will find it very clear, concise and intuitive.

You get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as standard along with Sat Nav, dual zone climate control, a head up display, USB ports front and rear, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, forward obstruction warning, lane departure warning, smart brake support, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, traffic sign recognition and lane keep assist to name a few. If you want features like a sunroof, BOSE stereo, heated seats and a 360-degree camera, the you had better look at the Limited or higher.

Mazda have also provided new features to aid in luggage space. There is now a two-piece reversible load space floor board which can either be secured in line with the tailgate sill to aid in loading, or set lower to increase carrying capacity.

As the Activ is focused more on the great outdoors than others in the range, it comes with a floorboard with water resistant side. This means it will be more than ok to store your saturated boots after fording that stream under the gaze of Mt Ruapehu. Storage space sits at 401L with the second row in place and at 1,310L with it folded down.

Mazda have reworked the CX-5’s body and underpinnings in keeping with the latest generation of their Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. The body and suspension have been strengthened and revised to give more comfort and refinement over the previous generation. Honestly, it does show when on the move.

While that 2.5L Skyactiv four cylinder still doesn’t have the greatest engine note at low rpm when you get up to speed, it is much quieter. Plus, when you are pootling along at 50km/h in built up areas or suburbia, there is significantly less road noise. The revised springs also produce a car which is much more supple and comfortable too.

Utilising MI-Drive, switching between comfort, sport and off-road modes is dead easy. Sport mode raises the revs and means you can cover more ground more quickly, but most of the time I found myself staying in comfort settings. The Activ is a great cruiser and thanks to a good ride, I would happily saunter to Greymouth and back.

In terms of driving engagement, its not bad either. Flick up and down via the paddles and each change is crisp and incredibly quick and the Activ can hang in the corners too. There is a bit of body roll yes, but overall, the new CX-5 is more than capable in the twisty stuff.

These upgrades are a fitting 10th birthday present to Mazda’s CX-5. The Activ grade also makes for good buying when you factor in its levels of kit, engine and its ability to rough it, sort of. Basically, the C-X5 has raised its game and its place amongst the market’s top sellers will more than likely continue.

RATING: 8/10

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