Daytime running lights:
Keyless entry:
Powered boot / tailgate:
Parking sensors:
Apple Carplay:
Android Auto:
USB: 2+2
Autonomous Emergency Braking:
Blind spot warning:
Lane departure:
Airbags: 6‍‍


Front & rear


Warning & Assist



words by KON

The original CX-5 marked the beginnings of Mazda’s SkyActiv-driven revolution, one which has led to an elevation of the brand from standing distinctively left of its Japanese peers right to the doorstep of the Germans.

It was, incidentally, Mazda’s first foray in the mid-sized SUV segment, but the CX-5 was the model that paved the way to a complete overhaul of the entire range from the diminutive little Mazda2 all the way up to the full-sized Mazda6.


A second-generation CX-5 has arrived. Predictably, given the predecessor’s short model cycle, the new one carries over much of the original’s engineering, but that’s no bad thing – freed from the burden of working from scratch, Mazda engineers were able to focus their effort and resources to thoroughly refine what was already an excellent product to start with.

2018 Mazda CX-5 2.2 Diesel FWD

Majority of CX-5 sales in our market will likely be driven by the pair of 2.0-litre petrol variants at the base of the model range. Both models start things off with a generous suite of equipment, meaning the 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel models higher up the range only matter if you’re after extra performance.

For this review, we are testing the diesel model – the only one that offers the option of all-wheel drive, though our test car is one that notably eschewed that choice. The price gap is a cool RM10k and even though Mazda does not up your equipment count in other aspects, the AWD system is still money worth paying if you’re intent of having your CX-5 propelled by diesel torque.


Such was the success of the predecessor that there was little need to revamp what was already a well-received styling template. Embarking on an evolutionary path, the new CX-5 presents itself to us in a familiar silhouette, but with more intricately-carved details.

Slimmer head and tail lamps give more emphasis to the car’s visual width, and the three-dimensional effect of the front grille is quite something to behold. Mazda’s curious practice of offering rim sizes two inches apart continue, but even at 19 inches, the vehicle looks distinctly under-tyred.

Inside, the cabin’s build quality approaches premium levels with excellent fit and finish matching a selection of materials that is peerless within its price point and good enough to ask serious questions at traditional luxury marque. Attention to detail lavished upon the cabin construction is beyond question, but it is lacking a little in flair. The all-black finishing chosen for our market hardly helped enhancing a high quality yet sombre ambiance.


Those accustomed to the driving sensations of the previous-generation CX-5 will immediately find themselves in largely familiar surroundings albeit with enhanced levels of comfort and much-reduced noise levels. The latter was a well-documented complaint of recent Mazda cars and was identified as a key improvement area in developing the new model.
The predecessor’s dynamic vivacity is largely preserved and the addition of G-Vectoring Control, particularly in tandem with the heavy yet torquey diesel engine, is a highly-welcomed enhancement. It crucially eliminates the diesel car’s inherent nose heaviness and gives the handling a natural, more direct feel.

The Mazda SkyActiv Diesel engine is a wonderfully refined power unit and revs with the kind of smoothness one previously associates exclusively with petrol powerplants. It revs eagerly, and unlike most turbodiesels, its torque arrives not in a sudden brutal punch, but in a smooth relentless wave.

Still, with 420Nm on tap from as low as 2,000rpm, two driven wheels are extremely easy to overpower, especially with a bit of moisture on the road. So, although the CX-5 handles competently with power going only to the front axle, the diesel engine’s torque is best shared across all corners.


Whilst the CR-V maintains its unassailable segment lead, the CX-5 has done well to quickly establish itself as the next alternative for buyers ready seeking a more stylish and dynamic option.

Gains have been made in the area of practicality though. Regular highway munchers will certainly appreciate the added hushness and there are more examples of little touches of convenience that we previously would not have expected of a Mazda.

If you’re in the market for a handsome SUV, the Mazda CX-5 offers that to you with little compromise in practicality and, more importantly, a palatable price tag.


Suitable for Uber/Grabcar?

Ulu Yammable?

Balik Kampung?

Qualify for EvoEnduro?


2,191cc, four-cylinder
Turbocharged Diesel
173hp @ 4,500rpm
‍‍‍420Nm @ 2,000rpm

6-speed auto, FWD‍‍‍

Brakes (F/R)
Vent Disc / Solid Disc‍‍‍

Suspension (F/R)
MacPherson Strut / Multi-link‍‍‍

Shadowed by reliability concerns, but chassis is perhaps the most talented in the segment. - BOBBY‍‍‍‍‍‍


Volkswagen Tiguan

Honda CR-V‍‍‍‍‍‍

Such a complete all-rounder that no segment rival offers a blend of abilities that come close.‍‍‍‍‍‍ - BENG

Peugeot 3008

USP is design. Body shape is conventional SUV, but impressive styling details, both inside out ‍‍‍- KON‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍



‍‍‍‍‍‍For more information on the Mazda CX-5.

‍‍‍“A car that's supposed to price compete against the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, but comes with interiors that would put a ‍‍‍Jaguar to shame, and handling characteristics that easily matches up to a BMW.”
- Bobby