2024 Mazda CX-5 facelift aging champion or underdog

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The second iteration of the Mazda CX-5, now in its seventh year, received a facelift earlier in the year, which has been in circulation since September 2021. 

This indicates that the lifespan of this family SUV is nearing its conclusion. Consequently, one might wonder if it has been surpassed by newer competitors.

To address this query, we recently test-drove the latest model, specifically the top-of-the-line 2.5 Turbo High AWD variant, priced at RM188,760. While this price may appear steep, it's worth noting that other C-segment SUVs, like the new Honda CR-V, have also breached the RM190,000 threshold, thereby making the cost of the range-topper relatively standard.

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Although the design of the CX-5 may feel familiar due to its prevalence on the roads, when evaluated independently, it still exudes a captivating appeal. Its sleek lines and generous surfacing contribute to its overall fantastic appearance. The facelift has effectively refreshed the design, incorporating more assertive L-shaped head- and taillight graphics, a larger and more prominent grille, and cleaner bumper designs.

Internally, the CX-5 maintains its premium ambiance with a well-constructed interior, now enriched by additional features such as a seven-inch digital instrument display, a head-up display, and redesigned seats. However, even in this top-tier model, some desirable features are absent, including the larger 10.25-inch infotainment display, a Bose sound system, and any form of hands-free opening function for the tailgate.

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Fortunately, under the hood, the CX-5 boasts modernity with a 2.5-liter turbocharged Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine, generating a robust 231 PS and 420 Nm of torque. Paired with the standard six-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive featuring variable torque distribution, it accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds. It achieves a claimed fuel consumption of 9.1 liters per 100 km on the WLTP cycle.

The CX-5 certainly boasts several commendable attributes, but the question remains: can it truly compete with the latest offerings from its rivals? Furthermore, as automobiles increasingly incorporate advanced technology, is there a growing appeal for the more traditional approach exemplified by Mazda?

While the CX-5 may lack some of the cutting-edge features found in newer models, its enduring popularity suggests that there's still a significant market for its blend of reliability, craftsmanship, and driving enjoyment. In a landscape saturated with tech-heavy vehicles, Mazda's focus on timeless design, robust engineering, and driving dynamics might indeed resonate with consumers seeking a more authentic driving experience. 

Ultimately, whether the CX-5 can maintain its relevance amidst evolving competition depends on how well it balances tradition with innovation to meet the changing demands of modern drivers.

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