The Mazda CX-5 midsize SUV has received a significant update for 2021 as it attempts to claw back the top spot from its dominant Toyota RAV4 rival – plus an army of encroaching new rivals.
Mazda has added a brand new GT SP variant to the already broad CX-5 midsize SUV lineup, while also bequeathing the crossover with a suite of equipment upgrades across the range.
The new CX-5 GT SP variant is available in Polymetal Grey colour with other finishings such as black mirror caps and 19-inch wheels. Mazda continues the darker theme inside with a combination of Maztex synthetic leather and suede upholstery.
Mazda has placed the new CX-5 grade towards the top of the range with a starting price of $47,490 before on roads, sitting beneath the top-spec Akera grade but above the Maxx, Maxx Sport, Touring and GT variants.
What else is new in the 2021 CX-5?
The biggest change for 2021 is the upgrade from the dated eight-inch touchscreen display unit to a larger 10.25-inch widescreen for the higher-trim CX-5 GT, GT SP and Akera variants.
Lower-end CX-5 grades soldier on with the older infotainment system.
Mazda’s larger widescreen, which is standard in the cheaper CX-30 small SUV, also runs a snappier new infotainment system with a more modern design.
No matter the CX-5 variant, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring is fitted as standard.
Mazda has also ditched the steel wheels on the base model CX-5 Maxx for nicer 17-inch alloy wheels while adding a range of new standard and metallic paint options – with the premium colours attracting a $495 upcharge.
The second-generation CX-5, which has been in Australia since 2017, sits comfortably as Australia’s second-best seller in the midsize SUV segment in Australia but its 2,081 sales in January are still significantly less than the Toyota RAV4 with 3,066 sales in the same period.
The last time the CX-5 was the top of its segment was in September 2019 when it sold 2,355 units in that month overall, one month later the new Toyota RAV4 launched with a new hybrid powertrain option – pinching the top spot with 2,132 sales right off the bat.
Is the Mazda CX-5 a safe family car?
Safety continues to be a strong selling point for the CX-5 which carries over its five-star safety rating with blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control along with front and rear AEB all as standard across the range.
Buyers can opt for other safety features such as front parking sensors and traffic sign recognition by opting for the CX-5 Touring grade and above, or a 360-degree camera which is only found on the top-spec CX-5 Akera.
What does each variant of the CX-5 include?
Mazda kicks off the CX-5 range with the Maxx and Maxx Sport which are available as standard with a naturally aspirated two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 115kW of power and 200Nm of torque.
The two-litre is offered with a choice of six-speed manual (for the CX-5 Maxx only) or six-speed torque converter automatic that sends power exclusively to the front wheels.
The CX-5 Maxx is also fitted with some desirable features such as LED headlamps, a leather-wrapped gear stick, automatic wipers and a six-speaker audio system with digital radio.
Upgrade to the CX-5 Maxx Sport and Mazda adds satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, with the backseats also adding a centre armrest and USB charging ports.
Buyers can also opt for the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol which develops 140kW/252Nm and drops the manual option but adds all-wheel drive for some added traction.
The 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre engines are offered for the CX-5 Maxx and Maxx Sport grades, with the larger engine offered as standard for the CX-5 Touring, GT, Akera and new GT SP grades.
While the two petrol engines offer plenty of punch compared to their rivals with a claimed fuel economy rating of 6.9L/100km for the two-litre and 7.4L/100km for the 2.5L on 91 octane fuel.
The figures make the two petrol engines far less efficient than the midsize segment leader in the Toyota RAV4 which returned an astonishing 5.4L/100km on E10 fuel in our long term testing.
Those concerned about fuel efficiency should look to the twin-turbocharged 2.2-litre diesel which provides more punch at 140kW/450Nm while only drinking a claimed 5.7L/100km. The diesel is available for all grades except the CX-5 Maxx and GT SP grades.
The CX-5 Touring operates as the middle grade and adds niceties such as a black synthetic suede seat upholstery heated exterior mirrors, keyless entry and the aforementioned safety features such as front sensors and traffic sign recognition.
Taking the step up to the more sports-focused CX-5 GT grades bring a raft of options but most importantly the availability of the flagship 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 170kW/420Nm, though you’ll be paying more trips to the bowser with a claimed fuel economy rating of 8.2L/100km.
A larger set of 19-inch alloy wheels are also offered with the CX-5 GT as is a power sunroof, a power tailgate and the mew 10.25-inch infotainment screen.
Mazda also adds a leather interior in either white of black with the front seat seats gaining a heated function with 10-way electric adjustability for the driver and six-way adjustability for the passenger.
Opting for the top-spec CX-5 Akera adds features such as ventilation to the front seats, a heated steering wheel and rear seats, wood trimmings on the door cars and dash with plusher Nappa leather seat upholstery.
Mazda CX-5 2021: prices in Australia
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
About Chasing cars
Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.
Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.
We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.