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Mazda CX-5 Review – Red, White and Blue

Now I’m not going to open the NZ flag debate again, (there has been far too much spent in terms of time and money on that) but what I will say is that our current Union Jack/Southern Cross one is in good company – most certainly when it comes to the colours. There are 192 flags in the free world, and the most popular (just under 40%) are 3 colour combinations. When it comes to flags, red is the most popular at a shade over 77% with runners up; white 73% and blue 53%.

The three colour combination of Red, White and Blue features in no less than 37 other countries and it’s a colour scheme that visually works strikingly well together, so it wasn’t that surprising Mazda were keen to loan me their new CX-5 LTD in a very distinctive palette.

There has been a fair amount of press about Mazda’s Soul Red Crystal Metallic paintwork and quite rightly, it’s lush. Hot on the heels of ‘Soul Red’, the Crystal Metallic has an endless depth to it and an outer glaze that really shines – virtually regardless of ambient lighting. An evolution of Mazda’s Takuminuri painting technology, its translucent layer features a highly saturated red pigment for a richer red and (in addition to the high-brilliance) the reflective coat features light-absorbing thin aluminium flakes that intensify shaded areas. The result boasts 20% greater color saturation and 50% more depth than its predecessor, and an all absorbing; yet vivid rouge.

In complete contrast, my CX-5 came with a pristine (and near saintly), pure white leather interior. Soft to the touch and striking to the eye, it offers a crisp wholesomeness that (with the sunroof open) brightens the dullest of spirits.

All this attention to detail and I haven’t even got to the SUV itself yet!

The CX-5 SUV makes up around a quarter of Mazda’s sold globally. It continues to win awards (over 90 to date) and win hearts along the way. I have been behind the wheel of the latest version a few times now (predominantly the diesel) but Mazda felt it was time to go LTD.  

 The SKYACTIV-G 2.5L is an in-line 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC S-VT petrol engine with i-stop. Giving up (albeit higher up in the rev range) 140kW and 251Nm and a reported fuel consumption of 7.5L/100km. It has a 6-speed automatic (SKYACTIV-Drive) that drives its i-ACTIV AWD feet and of course, has G-Vectoring Control (GVC).

This is all fine and dandy but I was keener to learn about what extra toys LTD gave me, and it would appear quite a lot. From the outside, you get 19-inch machined alloy wheels, daytime running lights (LED), Power-sliding and tilt-glass sunroof, Privacy glass, Power mirrors (body coloured, auto-folding with heating function) and a Remote-operated power tailgate.

The interior is certainly more involved (plenty more buttons to push). The front seats are electric, the driver gets 2-position memory function and 10-way power adjustment while the passenger gets 6-way power adjustment, both get heating though. That pure white leather (that includes Maztex deluxe leatherette on selected high impact surfaces). Having a white leather interior meant that I did have to keep an eye on my 6-year-old son and I refrained from eating chocolate on the move, but it didn’t cause me that many sleepless nights.

The LTD has Active Driving Display (windscreen projected HUD) and the sound system is Premium Bose with a 249-watt amplifier and 10 speakers (including subwoofer and two of them in the A pillar). And last but not least, it came with Mazda’s entire suite of help and safety including i-ACTIVSENSE – Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH) – Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go function – Smart Brake Support (SBS) – Smart City Brake Support – Reverse (SCBS-R) – Lane Departure Warning (LDW) – Lane-keep Assist System (LAS) – Driver Attention Alert (DAA).

I have already spoken highly about the CX-5’s ride and capability so I won’t go into that now, suffice to say, it’s very very good. But having the additional layer(s) of top of the line technology and luxury made a very good SUV even better. The LTD seemed to think of things that I hadn’t. The HUD read the speed signs and told me all about them. The Adaptive Cruise and GVC meant less need for braking or button fiddling. Great sounds. Comfortable seats, oh and THAT colour scheme…

Mazda believes that ‘color is an element of form’ and I tend to agree. What’s pleasing to the eye goes a long way to enliven your spirit. The CX-5 flies well as a ‘flagship’ vehicle for Mazda and this contrasting Interior/exterior seems to underline it. So with the Red Soul Crystal Metallic Paintwork, and the Pure White leather interior where is the blue? I hear you ask. Well, I have to say I was rather sad to hand it back at the end of the week!

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