Cars > Launch

The new Mazda CX-5 AWD Turbo is made for enthusiasts

Do you want a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive crossover?

Don't worry, the CX-5 is here to stay. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The Mazda CX-5 is the automaker’s best-selling crossover since its introduction in 2012 with three million units sold worldwide. But as the brand shifts upmarket with newer SUVs, many people were wondering about the fate of the model. We saw the updated version launched late last year in other markets, and it was inevitable that our market would eventually receive it. Which we did—officially—just today.

In an interesting move, Mazda will let you pick between the two. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The CX-5 model range will be condensed down to three variants: the 2.0L Sport, the 2.5L AWD Sport, and the AWD Turbo. Sorry, diesel fans.

In a rather interesting move, the facelift will only be available on the top-of-the-line trim, which will be sourced from Japan. Meanwhile, the pre-facelift look will be found on the two lower grades and will be sourced from Malaysia.

Do you like the new design direction of Mazda? PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The facelift isn’t a massive departure from the Kodo design like on the CX-60, but it has plenty of notable changes that make the vehicle look sharper for the new decade.

First, the grille receives a 3D-effect design and a more angular shape, and the headlights and the taillights have new “quad-LED DRL” designs. Plus, the body cladding is now color-matched. It also rides on new bright-silver 19-inch wheels, and two new colors are introduced: Polymetal Gray (a first for the crossover) and Zircon Sand (a darker shade of beige that’s reminiscent of, well, sand). Of course, other finishes like Soul Red Crystal and Machine Gray are present.

Sometimes, you don't need to reinvent the wheel to update something. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Unfortunately, we’re not getting the new widescreen Mazda Connect infotainment seen in the US-market CX-5 facelift (we still have the older eight-inch screen), but there are plenty of changes found within the full-featured cabin that still has the premium features like the 10-speaker Bose sound system, a 360° camera, and a heads-up display.

These include deep-red Nappa leather upholstery, woodgrain trim with satin chrome accents, ventilated front seats, paddle shifters, a wireless charger, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a frameless rearview mirror.

The front seats have also been tweaked to conform to the body’s natural form, reducing head movement and long-term driving fatigue. The rear seats also fold in a 40:20:40 split arrangement, allowing for more flexibility when carrying passengers and cargo.

You get the full suite of Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features, such as autonomous emergency braking, radar-based adaptive cruise control, driver attention alert, and lane-keeping assist on top of existing features (rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring).

This should be the zoom-zoomiest crossover from Mazda at the moment. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Mazda has dropped the Skyactiv-D diesel mill in favor of the 2.5-liter turbocharged in-line-four Skyactiv-G. We’ve seen this engine in previous models, and we’ve noted how potent this powertrain can be with its Dynamic Pressure Turbo for instant torque even with low rpm. Mated to an excellent six-speed automatic transmission, it sends 250hp and 434Nm to all four wheels. The sprint to 100km/h is done in 7.7 seconds, which is pretty damn quick for a compact crossover.

The chassis also received updates like increased rigidity and updated springs and dampers for better ride comfort, handling and reduced cabin noise. Also, the G-Vectoring Control Plus system should ensure smoother cornering and more stability at higher speeds.

If you've been clinging on to that old Forester XT, consider looking at this as a replacement. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

If the formula sounds familiar to you, this is exactly what the Subaru Forester XT was before—a sporty crossover with a turbocharged powertrain that had enough oomph to satiate the enthusiast who had to buy a “family car” because the wife told him to. With no direct successor and alternative in sight for that car, longtime owners who cling to their aging turbocharged crossovers are the main demographic for this vehicle (besides those who want a luxury-oriented compact crossover).

With a price tag of P2,380,000, it’s definitely pushing on the premium side of the segment, but it should offer the famed driving dynamics of the brand with a dash of luxury. But if you don’t want or need all the features offered in this latest variant, the 2.0L Sport or the 2.5L AWD Sport is yours for P1,890,000 or P1,990,000.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.