Mazda plays its trump card in the CX-5 Akera

No matter what brand and type of vehicle you prefer to drive, the latest Mazdas demand attention, and the new CX-5 Akera, especially, stands out in every way.

Autodealer recently spent a week in the CX-5 range-topper. Everywhere we went people complimented on just about every aspect of the car. From salesmen at dealers we visited to friends and acquaintances, they all had the same to say: “The CX-5 Akera is hard to trump”.

Bold, inside and out

Constantly facelifted and updated, the current CX-5’s overall shape did not change much from the version on sale for the last several years, except up front where it now sports a new grille and sleeker headlights. The result is a progressive look, but it is not all just for show, because the new headlights are technologically advanced LEDs and so are the fog lights. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels round off the package.

Mazda has also upped the ante inside the cabin where it fine-tuned the CX-5 to make it more user-friendly for driver and passengers.

But how do you improve on a car that is already a firm favourite with buyers, as it offers the A to Z in terms of luxury and comfort? You look at those places often overlooked, and that is exactly what Mazda’s decision makers did. The current CX-5 has more padding on armrests, the rear doors open wider for easier access to the back seat and the passengers in the rear now also have their own USB port.

The Akera also received an electric tail gate, which can be opened and closed by pushing a button on the key fob.

Doing it in style

Owning and driving the range-topping CX-5 can be best described in a real-life scenario. Walking to your car after exiting the mall you open the tail gate from five metres away and casually load your groceries, after which you head for the driver’s door as the boot closes itself again. No need for a key to open the driver’s door, because the CX-5 has keyless entry and you just place your thumb on the door handle’s sensor for it to open.

Once strapped into the plush leather seats, just push the start button on the dash and up comes the heads-up display. Although a diesel, Mazda has added more insulation between the cabin and engine bay, so one hears almost nothing until MZD Connect starts playing your selected playlist on your smartphone. And can it play? The Akera has a ten-speaker Bose sound system that includes a big subwoofer inside the spare tyre.

Rear-view camera and sensors all around make for a smooth exit and off you go with the 2.2 turbo-diesel proving torque by the bucketload. Passengers will be amazed at the fine job Mazda did with the interior, as all but the darkest corners inside the cabin are covered in soft-touch plastics and the dash and doors feature neatly stitched leather inserts that match the seats.

Refined diesel

The CX-5 Akera’s drivetrain, as a whole, is refined and smooth as silk, and again one can clearly see, or in this case ‘feel’, why the Mazdas of late are so popular.

Turbo-diesel power of 140kW and 450Nm of torque are distributed to all four corners through a slick six-speed auto box and the suspension soaks up potholes and speed humps with ease.

The seven days I spent with the CX-5 Akera proved that, although not the most frugal in its segment, it is also not overly thirsty, using on average 7,2 litres to 100km while doing a combination of highway and urban driving.

Having such a big turbo-diesel under the bonnet comes in handy when taking to the open road with four passengers and all their luggage, and fuel consumption basically stays the same, something down-sized engines cannot copy.


As far as the new look is concerned, the badge on the grille could have been a tad smaller, as it now reminds one of a bit of a snout, but the rest are all just a lot of pretty.

Mazda’s system for connecting smartphones to the vehicle’s onboard infotainment system is a pain sometimes, as it constantly reminds you that if you do not look at the road but on the big screen instead, you might crash.

That is not a bad thing, but wastes time. All-wheel drive in this application does give you a sportier drive and plenty of traction, but is somewhat of an overkill as far as off-roading is concerned, because the CX-5 is not suitable for anything rougher than a rutted dirt road.

Two-wheel drive would have done the job equally well. But, with that said, if you recently bought a premium crossover then feel free to curse yourself for not having included the CX-5 Akera in your test drive list. It comes standard with more luxury features than premium cars in a higher price range, and the Mazda’s build quality is just as impressive.

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