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Driven: #MAZDA #CX5 2.2 DE AKERA AWD AUTOMATIC

Date: 17 Jan 2017 Author Type: Registered Journalist
Author: Julian Lurie edited by Donovan Banks
Source: Autoworld.co.za
I recently spent a few days with the top of the range Mazda CX-5 2.2DE Akera AWD automatic and was most impressed with the improvements to this new model as more features have been added making it a lot more competitive in the SUV segment, The new CX-5 SUV is the first complete Mazda to incorporate “SkyActiv” technologies, in which every component of the vehicle is designed to be as lightweight and high efficiency as possible. 
Launched here in 2012 with a 2.0-litre petrol engine; the new 2016 edition of the Mazda’s compact crossover comprises a range of four models starting with the 2.0L Active FWD Manual, followed by the 2.0L Dynamic FWD Manual, the 2.5L Individual FWD Automatic and the 2.2L DE Akera AWD Automatic, which is the derivative we test in this report.

The new face lifted CX5 is distinguished by a host of cosmetic updates including a bold new front grille that accentuating the body’s KODO design, new-generation LED headlamps and 10-spoke gunmetal 19-inch alloy wheels which on the press vehicle were shod with Toyo 225/55R19 Japanese radials, while the spare is an emergency wheel.

The rear end boasts a wide opening tailgate with a small spoiler above and when you lift the tailgate there’s an enormous luggage compartment. There’s also a rear wash/wipe function and a “shark-fin” antenna.

The new Mazda CX-5 Akera is the first Mazda model in South Africa to adopt the Adaptive LED Headlights, a new-generation system which implements LED array glare-free high beam technology.

With an LED array, the LED light source for the high beams is divided into four blocks which can be switched on and off independently, using a camera to detect the headlamps of oncoming vehicles or the taillights of cars ahead, and turns off only the light-source block which is illuminating in the specific direction of the other vehicles.

This makes it possible to drive with the high beams on at all times, significantly improving visibility when driving at night, without dazzling drivers of other vehicles.

Also new are wide-distribution low beams which expand the area of illumination on either side of the vehicle, making it easier to see pedestrians and other obstacles at intersections at night. It also has auto-levelling mechanism to automatically raise the axis of lighting when travelling at highway speeds.

Also forming part of the enhancements is the very good MZD Connect infotainment system; a simple to operate system that allows easy access to internet radio streaming and social networking services and satellite navigation is standard on the Akera.

Other standard features are the electronic parking brake replacing the conventional handbrake, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, and a rotary control knob on the floor console to access the various functions on the central info screen.

The new Mazda CX-5 is the first Mazda model in South Africa to adopt the Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) on the Individual and Akera models, a new-generation headlamp system which implements LED array glare-free high beam technology. With an LED array, the LED light source for the high beams is divided into four blocks which can be switched on and off independently.

The system uses a camera to detect the headlamps of oncoming vehicles or the taillights of cars ahead, and turns off only the light-source block which is illuminating in the specific direction of the other vehicles. This makes it possible to drive with the high beams on at all times, significantly improving visibility when driving at night, without dazzling drivers of other vehicles.

ALH also features wide-distribution low beams. By adding an LED light source to the side of the headlamps, wide-distribution low beams expand the area of illumination on either side of the vehicle, illuminating areas where traditional headlamps cannot. This makes it easier to see pedestrians and other obstacles at intersections at night. In addition, ALH utilizes the motor of the headlamps' auto-levelling mechanism to automatically raise the axis of lighting when travelling at highway speeds, making it easier to see road signs and obstacles as early as possible.

The interior is nice and roomy with comfortable leather covered bucket seats for the driver and front passenger, while the split rear seat is most comfortable for two adult passengers, but three could squeeze in if necessary and all will have ample head-, shoulder and knee space. The 40:20:40 split rear seats with a remote fold-down function can be positioned to create various capacities, and flat luggage space, while a tonneau cover automatically lifts up and down as the rear lift gate is opened and closed. The split rear seats also enable long objects to be loaded by folding the centre seat down flat. The rear seats can be folded down remotely by a simple flick of levers located at the back of the luggage area.

The new Mazda CX-5 Akera has moved substantially more up-market and comes standard with full upholstery, leather covered multi-function steering wheel adjust able for both reach and rake, electrically adjustable front seats, reverse camera, automatic air-conditioning, keyless entry and push button start, privacy glass, electric windows, electric power steering and sunroof.

Safety equipment in the new Mazda CX-5i Akera is quite comprehensive with six airbags, vented disc brakes in front and solid discs at the rear with ABS and EBD, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Emergency Brake Assist, Lane Keep Assist, remote control locking, cruise control and engine immobiliser.

The CX5 Akera is powered by Mazda’s SKYACTIV-D engine 2.2 litre 4-cylinder diesel engine with a two-stage turbo-charger producing 129 kW of power at 4 500 rpm and 420 Nm of torque available from 2 000 rpm with drive to all four wheels through the 6-speed automatic transmission. Mazda claims fuel consumption of just 5.7 litres of fuel per 100 km, however the best I got according to the trip computer was 8.2 litres per 100 kms. The tank holds 56 litres, which is pretty good, especially on long trips.

The Mazda CX5 2.2 litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel is no slouch when it comes to performance. In acceleration tests leaving the autobox in Drive mode to do its own changing, it covered the 0 to 100 km/h dash in 9.5 seconds after two gear-changes, and has a top speed of 204 km/h. Travelling on the freeways at a steady 120 km/h the motor spins at just 2 200 rpm in 6tth gear.

Driving the new Mazda CX-5 is almost like driving a saloon car, but the raised height provides better all-round visibility. The Mazda CX-5 is one of the best-driving SUVs in its segment, especially in terms of handling. It jeels just right from its flat cornering and direct steering, to its responsive brakes and enough power, and there's no sudden unloading out of corners or between transitions as in some other taller vehicles. The steering gives good feedback, is quick; well-weighted; and overall, it has a precise feel.

The all-new six-speed automatic transmission plays a major role in making the most of the new engine's smooth, willing character. It launches with little slip, but once rolling, it’s smooth shifting, and when you choose manual mode, it won’t change gear without the driver doing the change.

The recommended retail selling price of the new Mazda CX-5 2.2DE Akera AWD automatic is R533 400 which includes a 3-year unlimited kilometer factory warranty, 3-year roadside assistance, a 3-year service plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty.
 
 
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