2018 Mazda CX-5

Balance of desire and realism

"The fanatic's selection in the compact SUV segment has landed."

"Increased efficiency on the new CX-5."

"If you are among the people who really want some serious wheels, you'll find a lot to adore on board the CX-5," said Issam.

Usually we test every single vehicle on planet earth. It can start from a Smart Fortwo to Bentley Bentayga, to a Lamborghini Aventador. But some vehicles turn on our appetite and some others we drive them for the sake of curiosity, job duties and transparency via our loyal readers/followers. The compact crossover segment has a vehicle that is somehow different from its rivals. What I mean by "different" doesn't mean that I am excluding the other compact crossovers from the list, but because I believe that Mazda's philosophy in building cars is the same philosophy for us as journalists in considering cars!

I picked up the all-new Mazda CX-5 from ANBoukhater, official distributor of Mazda in Lebanon, for a long weekend drive. I was among the first journalists in Lebanon to test it. What a privilege given to me!

What's new at first glance?
The exterior gets sharp new sheet metal while Mazda modernizes the inside with high quality materials with a somehow fresh Audi-esque design.

How does it drive?
Basically, every weekend I take a vehicle to consider its pros and to convey its cons so the message will be heard. I set my alarm and went off to the mountain house roads somewhere in the Jbeil area on a Sunday morning.

Usually I do reserve this for sports cars where I can test the suspension, handling and drivability. The CX-5 is surely a crossover that gives you desire and realism at the same time when driving it. People in such a segment buy this SUV only to find themselves stuck in the famous traffic of Lebanon during rush hour. But if you are the other kind of person who really wants some serious wheels, you'll find a lot to adore on board the CX-5.

If I were to compare it to the outgoing CX-5 generation, I can say that the engine is more powerful, suspension is softer to a point where you barely notice the road noise, and steering wheel is super responsive on every blind corner - effortless.

Verdict
The new CX-5 is unmistakably the most gorgeous crossover in its segment and possibly the most premium entry category. Rivals are selling more units worldwide versus Mazda. I think Mazda should consider cooperation with other major car manufacturer to expend their units. I constantly say that Mazda's vehicle demand is higher than its supply. The CX-5 has a bit of an elevated price if you want to compare it to Korea, Japanese, American and German's. But everything is justified when I tell you that even the dealer's experience in Beirut will make you love owning a Mazda!

Pros: Gorgeous exterior design, premium interior finish, superb handling
Cons: No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, not as much cargo room versus rivals
Rivals: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Volkswagen Tiguan, Renault Koleos, Jeep Compass
4 stars
one word: desire

Specs
2.5L, inline 4-cylinder, 187 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 250 Nm @ 3,250 rpm (FWD)/@ 4,000 rpm (AWD)
6-speed auto, FWD/AWD
0-100 km/h: 8.3 sec, top speed: 209 km/h, fuel consumption: 8.3-10.2 L/100 km
Weight: 1,602 kg (FWD)/1,659 kg (AWD)

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