As the saying goes, buy what you can afford. But there’s usually a pick of the range, the sweet spot if you will, for any car. And we think the Mazda CX-5’s sweet spot is the 2.0G 2WD High variant, here's why.
Powertrain - Do you really need the extra power?
The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated (NA) engine makes 162 PS/213 Nm and is mated to a 6-speed automatic. For daily driving, it’s perfectly adequate. Nothing outstanding, but it gets the job done.
Power delivery is linear, the engine is happy to rev, plus the 6-speed automatic transmission is ever-ready to shift down upon throttle depression. This calibration makes the CX-5 feel rather lively off the line and light on its feet.
The extra muscle of the 2.5-litre NA engine is useful when ferrying a few passengers onboard. But the larger engine isn’t as keen to rev and the difference between the 2 naturally aspirated engines isn’t night and day.
The 2.2-litre turbodiesel is actually a gem of an engine, but it requires Euro 5 Diesel to run optimally and not every station has it. Which means it requires planning and can be a bit of a hassle depending on where you live.
The range-topping 2.5-litre turbocharged engine is hilariously quick, but it’s rather thirsty. Plus, the brakes and suspension weren't beefed up to accommodate the extra power, so they don't work quite as harmoniously with the engine as lower powered variants.
So, we’d pick the 2.0-litre engine for its rev-happy character, lower annual road tax and slightly better fuel consumption.
Features - Everything you'd need is in the 2.0G 2WD High variant
The entry level 2.0G Mid variant, priced at RM 132,403, gets fabric seats with manual adjustments, reverse camera, with the usual suite of passive safety features such as 6 airbags, ESC, TCS, etc.
Moving up to the 2.0G High variant, it gets keyless entry, powered tailgate, leather seats, powered front seats, 360-degree camera, and crucially, there’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). We think it’s worth forking out the additional RM 15k for these features.
The 2.5G NA variant adds 19-inch wheels, which look good but isn’t as comfortable as the 17-inch items and it’s more expensive to replace. It adds Driver Attention Alert and the AEB works to detect rear objects.
We would like to pick the 2.2D variant for its additional torque, adaptive LED headlights, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. But as mentioned earlier, sourcing for Euro 5 Diesel may be a hassle depending on where you live.
Then we have the range topper – the 2.5G Turbo. It gets all-wheel drive but remains largely identical to the 2.2D feature wise. This would the pick for those who frequently travel on highways. But to drive in town, it’s a little overkill and it’s rather thirsty.
Conclusion - The 2.0G 2WD High hits the sweet spot
We think the Mazda CX-5 2.0G 2WD High variant hits the sweet spot in the Mazda CX-5 range. Its power is adequate for daily driving and has all the features you need such as keyless entry, powered tailgate and seats, and most importantly, it has AEB.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference. Perhaps you’d prefer more power and have less restriction on budget, then the turbocharged variants make a lot of sense. But for many, especially city dwellers, the Mazda CX-5 2.0G 2WD High is a good bet.