MAZDA CX-5 – ALL THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS?

Synergy’s Content Editor Jonny Edge drives 500-miles in a Mazda CX-5 and ends up reflecting on curry…

 

I want to start this particular review by talking about Chicken Tikka Masala. Like most people across the nation, I absolutely love a Tikka Masala. It’s the perfect mixture of meat and spices in a delicious sauce. Whenever I end up having one – my waistline may give away how frequently that actually is – I find myself wondering if there’s any way to improve this famous recipe. Countless curry nights have passed since I first had that thought and I’m still no further to making this popular dish any better, but I know how I’d make it worse – I’d turn it into a Crumble.

 

‘Worse’ is all a matter of perception, of course. Some people might think a Tikka Masala Crumble is absolutely the way to go – the future of curry. I could hire these people to be a part of my team and they could help spread the word that this is what we do, what we believe in and is the direction that we want to take Indian cuisine in.

 

 

You’re probably wondering what on earth this has to do with the Mazda CX-5 I’m supposed to be reviewing, which is fair enough. You see, what Mazda has done with the CX-5 is make – in motoring form – my Tikka Masala Crumble.

 

All the ingredients are exceptional. It has an eye-catching, dynamic design, a beautifully finished interior, engaging and responsive handling, an easy to use infotainment system and a 6-speed manual gearbox that feels much like the one found in the firm’s MX-5 sports car. However, Mazda, having its own ideas that it’s very clear about, has decided that the 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine that powers it should not have a turbocharger. This is the crumble topping on an otherwise exceptional curry.

 

Now, Mazda has made its reasons for not using turbocharging public in the past, with various engineers and bosses of certain departments giving the reason that turbocharging isn’t a complete solution or that it prevents the CX-5 from driving like a Mazda. The problem is, I don’t want the CX-5 to drive like a Mazda – I want it to drive like a <INSERT GERMAN MARQUE HERE>.

 

 

At this point, some of you might be a bit confused. Is it a power issue? No, the CX-5’s petrol engine delivers 163bhp, more than enough for a car that has few to little sporting ambitions. The problem is where the power is located – 4,000rpm. This means you have to rev the CX-5 like an old-fashioned hot hatch to get it to start moving anywhere, great fun in a hatchback or a sportscar, much less fun in a big, comfortable SUV. The lack of low-down grunt means the CX-5 takes a while to gather pace and when fully-loaded with a cargo of 4 humans and a boot full of coats and water bottles it feels underpowered, even though it isn’t.

 

To give you an idea of why this is important, we’ll look at the Audi Q3, a benchmark SUV that the Mazda is knocking on the door of in terms of a high-quality overall product. The key figure here is ‘rpm for maximum torque’ – in the Q3 1.4-petrol it’s 1,500rpm, in the CX-5 it’s 4,000rpm. This turns the comfortable and incredibly quiet CX-5 into a noisy, shouty car every time you want to go up a hill or overtake a slower vehicle – it spoils it.

 

Thankfully, the bizarre decision by Mazda to go without turbocharging doesn’t ruin what is a hugely impressive machine. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I arrive home from the Synergy offices blown away by the quality of a car that wasn’t manufactured by a famous premium marque. The interior is better than what you’ll find in a Jaguar or BMW and the standard equipment is not only generous, but superb in quality too and the refinement is Mercedes-esque. It’s absolutely fabulous.

 

 

For the money, this could well be the most refined and best finished SUV on the market, on another level to the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson. This car is going to surprise a lot of Synergy customers with its huge quality, and actually, if you live in an urban environment and don’t need to carry too much, the fact that the petrol engine needs revving so much to produce probably won’t bother you in the slightest. Unfortunately for me, over 500-miles of motorway, A-road, B-road and Lake District mountain passes it left me frustrated. So close to the perfect recipe Mazda, so close…