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The 2019 Mazda CX-5 boasts the most engine choices for any SUV sold in Malaysia. From the naturally aspirated 2.0 and 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G petrol to the innovative 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D turbodiesel as well as the soon-to-be-launched 2.5-litre turbocharged SkyActiv-G petrol.
“2.0L underpowered lah”, “2.5L road tax expensive lah”, “Diesel very noisy lah” are not uncommon remarks from shoppers who are looking at a CX-5. Price point and features aside, here’s a guide on which engine option should be your pick.
Mazda CX-5 2.0L SkyActiv-G
Starting with the entry-level 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder SkyActiv-G petrol engine which is the most common engine option for the CX-5 sold in Malaysia.
Although only 1,998 cc in engine capacity, the 2.0-litre engine makes a healthy 162 PS and 210 Nm of torque thanks to its high compression ratio (14:1) and direct injection technology.
The engine doesn’t give you a shove in the back when you mesh the throttle which gives off the impression that it is underpowered. But in reality, it is fantastic for city driving with decent low-end torque and smooth power delivery which families would appreciate.
Getting up to the national speed limit is no sweat for the 2.0L but only at high speeds (above 130 km/h), it starts to show signs of struggle. Hence, you will need a fairly long stretch to achieve its claimed top speed – not that you should – of 182 km/h.
For everyday use in the city, the CX-5 2.0L is more than sufficient but not as enjoyable to drive if you cover long highway miles often.
Mazda CX-5 2.5L SkyActiv-G
There is a larger engine option for those who crave for a bit more grunt, measuring 2,488 cc in capacity and also naturally aspirated. Power increase is not substantial over the 2.0-litre, but the effects make this engine a compelling option.
Power is now up to 192 PS and 257 Nm and top speed is raised to 196 km/h. Like the 2.0L, this 2.5L is a smooth operator in city driving and you will not notice the difference in power.
On the highway, however, it’s a different story. The 2.5L is much more willing to take you up to speed even past 130 km/h. Overtaking and maintaining speed also requires lesser effort from the 2.0L.
Unless highway miles take up a substantial amount of your daily commute, the 2.5L does not have much of an advantage over the 2.0L. Road tax and annual insurance premium are also costlier due to its larger engine capacity.
Mazda CX-5 2.2L SkyActiv-D
The CX-5 2.2D is the only diesel-powered Japanese SUV in Malaysia. The 2,191 cc capacity turbodiesel pumps out a healthy 173 PS and 420 Nm of torque, the latter peaks at 2,000 rpm.
The SkyActiv-D is a unique oil burner as it boasts the world’s lowest compression ratio (14:1) for a diesel engine. The benefits of it is cleaner emissions and a more refined engine.
At speeds, the 2.2D is a joy to drive thanks to heaps of torque to lug the SUV around. Acceleration force will also put a big smile on your face, perfect for the boy racer turn family dad. It is also fairly quiet with minimal rattling often associated with diesel engines.
The only flip side is the 2.2D only runs on Euro 5M rated diesel which is not widely available in regions outside of larger cities. The reason being the engine is unable to filter the high sulphur content of Euro 2M grade fuel which will cause the combustion chamber to clog up and degrade the engine performance.
Mazda CX-5 2.5L Turbo SkyActiv-G
The latest addition to the CX-5 powertrain line up is the 2.5L Turbo SkyActiv-G which will be introduced to the market soon. It is the same engine found on the CX-9 2.5T, making the same output of 230 PS and 420 Nm.
The beauty of the 2.5T motor is how Mazda has tweaked the engine to perform like a naturally aspirated engine. The seamless power delivery masks the fact that it is a forced induction unit.
There is no sudden surge in power like a conventional turbocharged engine but instead a smooth build-up of torque as you climb up the rev range. This set up is very mindful of passenger comfort.
On the CX-9, the 2.5T was not as fuel-efficient as the 7-seater SUV weighs substantially more. In theory, the 2.5T should be less of a fuel guzzler being a lighter body but that will be assessed in due course.
Which Is My Pick?
Our pick of the lot would be the 2.5T which has more than enough torque to bring out the dynamic talent of the CX-5 yet its linear power delivery does not compromise city driving comfort.
But if the majority of your commute time involves being navigating through city traffic, the 2.0L will more than suffice. It’s smooth, has sufficient performance for interstate highway travels and doesn't inflate your annual road tax and insurace bill.