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Mazda CX-5 get more refinement, off-road ability for 2020

John Law

Mazda’s medium-sized CX-5 will receive some updates and tweaks for 2020 with more features across the board including bolstered off-road credentials with a new traction assist system.

Mid-sized SUVs are hotly contested property at the moment, the updated CX-5 will compete against the petrol-powered Honda CR-V, though with hybrid tech numbers are stacked in favour of the updated Subaru Forester e-Boxer and excellent Toyota RAV4.

We’ve also got to mention the fresh-faced CX-30 – the goldilocks sized SUV – which explains the focus on increased off-road ability for the 2020 CX-5.

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Naturally, there’s a price jump for 2020 though it’s kept to a minimum – around $200 on any model – and the extra value-added across the range makes it easier to swallow. A full price list appears at the end of this article.

But Mazda promises some key advantages for the 2020 CX-5. First and foremost, the brand is looking to increase the luxury feel with greater NVH suppression with additional sound-deadening in the headlining and around the rest of the vehicle.

For petrol-powered CX-5s Mazda has added a steering dampening system to reduce vibration back through the steering wheel when parked or travelling at low speed.

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And there’s additional noise suppression for the 2.5-litre turbo including an uprated exhaust muffler and more rigid spare-wheel holder. It’s quite amazing the level of refinement nitpicking Mazda engineers have gone to for the 2020 update.

A system called Off Road Traction Assist is now standard in all-wheel-drive CX-5 variants for a unique selling point.

The system vectors torque on the rear axle by braking the wheel with less traction having the effect of locking the rear diff, providing improved traction on really tough terrain, though it’s unlikely many will take their CX-5s that far off the beaten path.

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Powertrains remain the same for 2020; the entry-level Maxx and Maxx Sport are available with a 115kW and 200Nm two-litre four-cylinder. It’s a good engine in the 3 Hatch, but it makes the CX-5 feel sluggish.

Stepping up the petrol range, Mazda offers a 2.5-litre petrol engine with more generous outputs of 140kW and 252Nm can be optioned on the Maxx and Maxx Sport in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations.

Mazda’s excellent 2.2-litre turbocharged oil-burner is still offered on the Maxx Sport grades an up with 140kW and a generous dollop of torque at 450Nm. 

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The most expensive and fastest engine offered is a 2.5-litre turbo-four – that the lion’s share of NVH improvements have gone into – with 170kW and 420Nm outputs. It’s only available on the GT and range-topping Akera, though.

Inside is business as usual for the CX-5 – not a bad thing in our books – but the entry-level Maxx variant gets the larger 8-inch display as standard.

A set of paddle shifters are found attached to the steering wheel in the Maxx Sport grades and above. The exterior sees the addition of the polymetal grey colour (pictures) and updated badge font.

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Active safety tech is aplenty for the CX-5 with all variants equipped with AEB and braking pre-sense with nighttime pedestrian detection.

It’s a competitive market space to be in, but Mazda aims to have the CX-5 be competitive with its sweet, free-revving engines and updated off-road credentials for 2020.

2020 Mazda CX-5 Pricing

All prices are before on-road costs

Maxx 2.0L FWD Manual $30,980 (up $100)
Maxx 2.0L FWD Auto $32,980 (up $100)
Maxx 2.5L AWD Auto $35,980 (up $100)
Maxx Sport 2.0L FWD Auto $36,290 (up $200)
Maxx Sport 2.5L AWD Auto $39,290 (up $200)
Maxx Sport 2.2D AWD Auto $42,290 (up $200)
Touring 2.5L AWD Auto $40,980 (up $200)
Touring 2.2D AWD Auto $43,980 (up $200)
GT 2.5L AWD Auto $46,090 (up $200)
GT 2.2D AWD Auto $49,090 (up $200)
GT 2.5T AWD Auto $48,590 (up $200)
Akera 2.5L AWD Auto $48,330 (up $200)
Akera 2.2D AWD Auto $51,330 (up $200)
Akera 2.5T AWD Auto $50,830 (up $200)