SINGAPORE — The new Mazda CX-5 goes on sale in Singapore today with four variants available. Mazda distributor Trans Eurokars bills the new Sports Utility Vehicle as “the most premium” in its class, though prices range from $131,800 to $149,800 (all prices quoted here include Certificate Of Entitlement), which should allow the CX-5 to cater to a wide spread of budgets.
The CX-5 was launched at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, a meaningful setting for Mazda here. It was the scene of Eurokars’ first product introduction after it was appointed Mazda’s distributor in Singapore in 2012.
That launch was for the original CX-5, a car that brought good fortune to the company; from less than one percent in 2011, Mazda’s market share has risen to eight percent.
In fact, Eurokars has grown Mazda sales every year since it took over the brand’s distribution, and sold 7,091 cars in 2016, an increase of 34 percent over the year before.
“It’s no mean feat that Mazda now ranks 3rd in Singapore in registrations,” said Ong Lay Ling, the group managing director of Eurokars.
The CX-5 also proved to be a success for Mazda. Minoru Takata (above), a program manager for the car from Mazda’s product division, called it a “mega hit” for the brand. Mazda had expected to sell 160,000 units a year of the last CX-5 but in 2016, the car’s final year of production, it sold 370,000 units worldwide.
Globally, the last CX-5 accounted for one-in-four Mazda sales.
But that simply means the new CX-5 has a tough act to follow. “Five years ago the CX-5 was the first of a new generation of vehicles that came with Kodo design and Skyactiv technology,” said Ms Ong, referring to Mazda’s styling direction and its approach to fuel-saving tech. “Today (the new one) is expected to raise the bar.”
Still, Mazda seems to have tread carefully with the new CX-5. “We were not trying to make huge changes,” says Takata-san. “Our aim was to polish and mature the strong points which the previous model had.”
Honing the design, taking the car’s fun-to-drive philosophy further but improving comfort for occupants were the main priorities, he told CarBuyer.
All variants sold here are front wheel-drive only (a sensible move for Singapore) with a six-speed automatic gearbox, paired with a choice of two petrol, non-turbo engines.
The 2.0-litre engine develops 165 horsepower and 210Nm of peak torque, enough to propel the CX-5 to 100km/h in 10.2 seconds. The claimed average fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km.
As for the 2.5-litre variant (194hp, 257Nm), it hits 100km/h in 8.9 seconds and draws from the tank at the rate of 7.2L/100km.
Like before, the CX-5 seats five people, though it’s gained air-con vents in the back and has newly-reclinable rear seats.
Dimensionally, the new CX-5 differs little from the last one, largely because it’s built on the same platform. It’s slightly lower and a teeny bit longer, mostly for the sake of a sleeker silhouette, but tellingly, the wheelbase remains the same, at 2,700mm.
Mazda says that increased high-strength steel content in the body has helped to make it 15 percent more rigid, while the suspension system has been heavily reworked.
The engines may be carried over from before in terms of hardware, but their software has been improved to make their power deliver more linear.
“This is not just a superficial update,” said Hiroshi Inoue, the excutive in charge of Mazda sales for the Asean region. “We’ve been steadily updating Skyactiv technology and Kodo design.”
The CX-5 2.0 Standard that serves as the entry-level model comes with a decently-long list of equipment — six airbags, keyless entry and engine starting, GPS navigation, auto headlights and wipers are all present and accounted for.
But eight grand extra buys the 2.0 Premium (at $139,800) which adds a powered tailgate, electric front seats, a Bose entertainment system, a basic head-up display system, blind spot monitors and a rear cross-traffic alert system (a feature that tells you if cars are coming, when you reverse out of a parking spot).
It’s this model that will likely be the most popular; for the last CX-5, the better-specced 2.0 model accounted for half the sales.
Moving up to 2.5 litres, the cheaper Luxury model costs $145,800 ($6,000 on top of the 2.0 Premium’s price). The “Luxury” trim package comes with a fancier head-up display and a small glass sunroof to improve cabin ambience. It also rides on 19-inch wheels (versus 17s for the 2.0 models), but the main benefit of spending the extra cash is likely to be from the punchier engine.
The top end 2.5 Super Luxury model is where things get interesting. For a further $4,000 it adds smart safety features that are fairly new to the Japanese car market.
It has a front and rear collision warning system, a driver attention (or inattention) alert feature, and a lane departure warning system (with active steering from the car that lets it gently guide itself back into lane).
Features like these go some way towards explaining Mazda’s conviction that the CX-5 is the most premium car in its class, but the CX-5 arrives at a crowded time for SUVs, particularly from Japan.
Next Thursday, Borneo Motors will launch the official import version of the Toyota Harrier, a sportily-styled SUV with five-seats. Priced at $150,988, it has a trump card in the form of a 227 horsepower, 2.0-litre turbo engine, and a suite of active safety features much like the Mazda’s. A lower-grade model with less equipment is undergoing approval for sale, and will add a cheaper variant to the Harrier lineup.
By the end of July, Kah Motor is expected to start taking orders for the new Honda CR-V. Its claim to fame? A three-row seating configuration that will let it carry seven people.
The intense competition in the SUV segment means buyers will have plenty to mull over, but one thing is clear. Given the success of the first model, whether or not the new CX-5 turns out to be the most premium SUV in its class, Mazda’s real goal is for it to be the best selling one.
The official Toyota Harrier goes on sale July 20th, but we have the details here! Click through to find out how it’s different from the parallel imported offerings…