It’s no secret that we love the Mazda CX-5 here at DriveLife. It’s such a great SUV, and the driving experience is class-leading.

Generally, we get to test a car for a week and if we get the car for any longer than that we will share the car with the DriveLife team, so we can get some different points of view in the review. However, due to different reasons this time I’d be the only one living with the CX-5 Takami for the entire three weeks. Those three weeks would include two road trips; one to Taupo, and one to Hawera to work on our project car, so in total, we’d be clocking up over 2,000 in the recently refreshed CX-5.

Will it still be a love affair with the CX-5, or is it starting to show its age?

What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Takami

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Sheer refinement
Driving dynamics
Handling
Interior quality
Transmission
Engine smoothness, quietness, torque
Seat comfort
Adaptive cruise/self-steering functionality
Fuel economy
Lots of cheaper competition

What’s In The 2022 Mazda CX-5 range?

There are six different trim levels of CX-5 offered in New Zealand, across a total of seven different models. The different trims are; GLX, GSX, Activ, Limited, SP25T, Takami.

Two are front-wheel drive (FWD): the entry-level spec GLX, and the next-in-line GSX. Five CX-5 are all-wheel drive (AWD), with the entry model being the GSX, climbing to the pinnacle of the range, the CX-5 Takami.   

Pricing is outlined below:

ModelPrice
GLX (FWD)$42,290
GSX (FWD)$44,790
GSX$47,990
Activ$50,990
Limited$57,790
SP25T$61,290
Takami$64,290

FWD models are powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder SkyActiv-G petrol engine producing 115kW of power and 200Nm of torque. AWD models are powered by either a naturally aspirated or a turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder SkyActiv-G petrol engine. Turbocharged engines are reserved for the SP25T and Takami variants.

The naturally-aspirated engine puts out 140kW of power and 252Nm of torque. Adding the turbocharger stokes the numbers up to 170kW of power and 420Nm of torque.  

2022 Mazda CX-5 Standard Equipment Highlights

The Mazda CX-5 range offers plenty of equipment as standard, here are a few highlights.

For the base-spec GLX, you get:

  • 17” Alloys
  • 8” Infotainment
  • Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Reversing Camera
  • 6-Speaker Audio
  • Cloth Interior
  • Manual Seats
  • LED Headlights with Auto On/Off

Upgrading to the GSX adds:

  • LED Headlights with Adaptive Front-Lighting System and Auto On/Off
  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensors
  • Heated, Auto-Folding Mirrors
  • Privacy Glass
  • Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror
  • Dual Zone Climate Control
  • Heads-up Display
  • Paddle Shift Gear Control
  • Synthetic Suede Interior
  • Sat-Nav
  • 2nd Row USB and Storage

Upgrading to the Activ adds:

  • 19” Alloys
  • Lime Exterior/Interior Accents (exclusive to Activ)
  • 10.25” Infotainment
  • 7” Digital Dashboard Display
  • “Mi-Drive” – Off-Road Driving Mode (exclusive to Activ and Takami variants)

Upgrading to the Limited and SP25T adds:

  • 10-Way Powered Driver’s Seat with Memory
  •  6-Way Powered Passenger’s Seat
  • 10-Speaker Bose Audio
  • Adaptive LED headlights with Auto On/Off
  • Leather Upholstery
  • Heated Seats
  • Remote Powered Tailgate
  • Sunroof

Upgrading to the Takami adds:

  • 360° View Camera
  • Frameless Auto-Dimming Mirror
  • Heated and Ventilated Seats
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Nappa Leather Interior
  • Remote-Less Power Tailgate

The CX-5 range also features an extensive list of safety technology as standard, including:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Dynamic Stablity Control (DSC)
  • Emergency Stop Signalling system (ESS)
  • Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW)
  • Hill Launch Assist (HLA)
  • ISO-FIX (x2)
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS)
  • Manual Speed Limiter (MSL)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Smart Brake Support (SBS)
  • Smart City Brake Support – Forward (SCBS)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Upgrading to the GSX and Activ adds:

  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA)
  • Smart City Brake Support – Forward and Rear (SCBS)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)

Moving to the Limited, SP25T and Takami adds:

  • Cruising and Traffic Support (CTS)

There are nine colour options for the CX-5, including:

  • Deep Crystal Blue Mica
  • Eternal Blue Mica
  • Jet Black Mica
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Polymetal Grey Metallic
  • Sonic Silver Metallic
  • Zircon Sand Metallic
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic (+$300)
  • Machine Grey Metallic (+$300)

There are also seven different interior trims, which vary depending on the spec level. 

Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment

The Machine Grey paint on our test car is an additional $300, bringing our as-tested price to $64,590.

For more information on the CX-5, check out the Mazda New Zealand website.

How Does The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Takami Compare To Its Competition?

All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme.

Make/ ModelEnginePower/Torque
kW/Nm
SeatsFuel L/100kmTowing
Capacity
BootSpace,
litres
Price
(excl CCP)
Volkswagen Tiguan TSi R-Line (AWD)2-litre 4-cylinder turbo162/35059.2750/2,100615$70,990
Hyundai Tucson 1.6T N Line (AWD)1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbo132/26557.7750/1,600620$64,990
Mazda CX-5 Takami (AWD)2.5-litre, 4 cylinder turbo170/42058.2750/2,000401$64,290
Skoda Karoq Sportline (AWD)2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo140/32057.3na/1,900521$60,990
Toyota RAV-4 Limited Hybrid (AWD)2.5-litre 4 cylinder-hybrid131/22155.3750/1,500542$58,290
Kia Sportage X-Line 1.6T (AWD)1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbo132/26558.0750/1,600543$57,990
Ford Escape ST-Line X (AWD)2-litre 4-cylinder turbo183/38758.6na/1,690556$55,990
Seat Ateca 4FR (AWD)2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo140/32058.0750/2,000485$53,500
Mitsubishi Outlander VRX (AWD)2.3-litre 4 cylinder135/24457.2750/1,600651$48,990
Honda CRV Touring (AWD)1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo140/24058.2na/1500522$43,000
MG HS Excite Anfield (FWD)1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo119/25057.3750/750463$41,990

First Impressions Of The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Takami

This generation of CX-5 has always stood out from the crowd, and it still does. The proportions are spot on, and the design front and rear are a stand-out. It looks superb.

Our test car was finished in Machine Grey, and although grey is not a colour I’d ever choose for a car, the CX-5 in any colour is a car you look back at in the supermarket carpark. The current design may be 5 years-old, but it has stood the test of time.

I guess if there’s one criticism I’d have for the CX-5 range it’s that you can’t easily tell one model from another. While ours was the top-spec Takami, it could pass as a base model unless you knew the model range and the wheels each one comes with and other slight exterior trim changes.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Takami?

Even with the 2022 refresh, everything inside the CX-5 is standard Mazda, and that’s fine by me. Thankfully, they’ve not moved to use haptic controls so everything pretty much works exactly as you’d expect.

It’s so good to see standard AC controls – just dials and actual buttons. After the Golf R I just returned, almost all of the switchgear on the CX-5 was a pleasure to use.

The car can feel a bit cramped inside – although it’s actually not – mainly due to so much black used in the interior. But there is brown leather seating, and it’s a nice brown, nothing like that on a Toyota Yaris Cross Limited. You can always leave the manually operated sunroof blind open to let more light in, and the wood trim on the doors and dash do add a touch of class to the interior. The tilt/slide sunroof is electric.

Rear seat passengers have ample leg and headroom, as well as two USB-C ports for charging devices. 

The main takeaway from the interior of the Takami model is the total class and high-end materials used. Every Mazda interior we’ve seen is built to a high level, but the Takami models add that bit more. While some of the non-euro brands like Kia are catching Mazda fast as far as interior quality goes, it’s still beautifully made.

If you want a more in-depth review and more photos of the CX-5’s interior, check out Alistair’s review of the CX-5 Activ.

What’s The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Takami Like To Drive?

Often we will request a base-model car to test – we’d rather get to know what a car is really like without being wowed by fancy tech and features – but not this time. I had planned two road trips over two weekends, so I asked for the top-spec CX-5 Takami. With over 2,000Km of driving coming up, it was time for heated seats and a heads-up display – two of my favourite features on a car.

Out of the gate was a weekend trip to Taupo. With the back of the car loaded up with car parts, my wife and I hit the road north in torrential rain and a full-on headwind. That wind did affect the CX-5 on the way north, but admittedly, it was very windy even by Wellington standards. The all-wheel drive helped give me confidence here, as the CX-5 (and all other cars) was noticeably struggling with the high wind levels. 

As usual, Mazda’s 2.5-litre turbo motor impresses under all conditions. It’s so very smooth, incredibly refined and torquey, right out to the 6,500rpm redline. It destroys Mazda’s non-turbo on every front, and this is one of those times when the top-spec (or the SP25T) is the sweet spot of the range, if only for that turbocharger. Often, the engine is whisper quiet and it’s an example of civility.

At the end of Acacia Bay, near Taupo

Another reminder for me with any CX-5, or any Mazda, is that 6-speed automatic gearbox. While six speeds almost seem quaint in 2022, the way the transmission gets its job done is outstanding. It’s utterly smooth through all gearchanges at all times, and it predicts just the right gear perfectly. Such a great transmission, and blows any dual-clutch or CVT transmission away for smoothness and function under everyday driving conditions.

After being disappointed by the Golf R’s heads-up display, it was a pleasure to use the CX-5’s. It’s clear but it’s also the breadth of information that makes it one of the best. Your speed, the current speed limit, SatNav directions – it’s all there, right on the windscreen. It will also show a “Stop” sign on the heads-up display if you are approaching one. Since so many New Zealand drivers seem to struggle with stop signs, this seems like a great feature.

Tyre noise in that rain is more than acceptable, even on coarse chip seal. Wind noise is almost non-existent, and these two things contribute to one of the CX-5’s core strengths; sheer driving refinement. 

That headwind and rain meant our fuel economy for that trip was 9.0L/100Km. That’s darn good for a 2.5-litre turbo motor, but I was hoping for an even better result on the return trip. On filling up in Taupo, we had driven 500Km overall and had 33Km left in the tank. The return trip two days later saw much less wind and less rain, and on returning to Wellington our fuel economy average for the whole trip was down to 8.4L/100Km – a very good number for the size and power of the engine.

At Motuoapa, on the shores of Lake Taupo

After our Taupo trip, it was a week of Daily Driving with the CX-5. Mostly this was excellent, and this car does make the Daily Drive so very easy. Visibility is good overall, although the A-pillars are pretty chunky. The three-stage heated front seats are operated so simply by a button for both passenger and driver – no need to go into menus here. The steering wheel is heated too, but it’s only a single-stage and weirdly the switch for it is over on the passenger’s side of the car when there’s a spot for it directly opposite, next to the driver. Not the end of the world, and likely some carry-over from LHD markets? Who knows.

The Takami is the only model in the CX-5 range that has a 360-degree camera system, and it works well with very good clarity. I know I’ve mentioned this before in other reviews, but I wish the button for it was down on the centre console, rather than on the right-hand side of the steering wheel, down on the dash. Again, not a deal breaker but it’s one of the few things that stops the CX-5 from having the best ergonomics in the business.

The Bose 10-speaker audio system in the SP25T and Takami models is excellent, and it excels in higher frequencies. Having the tweeters in the A-pillar with “Bose” written on them made me feel a bit special, cementing the fact that I was in the top-spec model. Like Alistair lamented in his review of the Activ model, I also missed that you can no longer switch tracks or radio stations using the physical audio knob down on the centre console. At times I found myself using this instead of the steering wheel controls, and often I tried pushing the knob to the side to switch tracks, but this function has been taken away. I’d love to know the reason why Mazda has removed this, as it makes that single knob control just about everything you want with the audio system.

The steering wheel controls are as good as ever, and I rarely had to look down at any button. Again, kudos to Mazda for not switching to haptic controls for the steering wheel; let’s hope in the next-gen of the CX-5 they don’t go haptic. What they have now is perfect.

Another weekend, and a trip to Hawera to work on our project car. This trip would be solo, and heading out from Wellington it rained heavily for the entire 285Km. Driving on my own was a good time to reflect on the CX-5. Since the current generation is 5 years old, it doesn’t have features that we commonly see in other, newer cars like Qi wireless phone charging and even though it’s the top-spec model, the Takami doesn’t have self-parking, either. 

But it does have adaptive LED headlights on this model, and they are excellent. It’s hard to find adaptive LED headlights that don’t work brilliantly, and the Mazda CX-5 Takami is right up with the rest of the group in this respect.

Visiting the Elvis Presley museum in Hawera

The Takami model does have Cruising and Traffic Support, meaning that when using adaptive cruise control, you can hit another button on the steering wheel and the CX-5 will assist you with steering the car. You still have to keep your hands on the wheel for safety (you’ll get warning messages and beeps after 15 seconds or so) but it does help reduce fatigue while driving on a long trip. We see this system on many cars we test, but some of them don’t inspire confidence, at times trying to veer the car off on a motorway offramp, for example. The CX-5’s system was almost faultless, and I don’t recall once having to move the steering wheel to correct what the car thought it should be doing. It’s brilliant in slow-speed traffic too, where it will steer the car nicely as well as do the brakes and accelerator for you.

Heading west from Whanganui, there are some decent passing lanes as well as opportunities to pass cars on long straights. Like many other SUVs, the CX-5 has a Sport mode, but all it seems to do is change down earlier, and change up more quickly. With so much torque, it didn’t add anything to the performance of the car, so I left the CX-5 in Normal drive mode the entire time.

Seat comfort is high, and two weekends away saw no aches or pains afterwards. The seats could do with a little more side support, but overall they are spot on.

At Waihi Beach, west of Hawera

During the boring bits of this drive, I switched between Mazda’s infotainment UI and Apple CarPlay. Since it’s not a touchscreen, all controls are done via the rotary dial on the centre console. I did find my fingers going up to the screen for the first few days, and then it was a natural move to go straight to the rotary dial. It works simply, allowing you or your passenger to flick between screens. But since I use Waze when I’m driving on a long trip, it was back to Apple CarPlay for the majority of this trip.

SUVs are not normally noted for handling prowess, but the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) on the CX-5 works to give the car a compliant ride while adding some sportiness to the handling. The car corners, steers and handles better than it should, and gives the driver confidence with no surprises. As a bonus, your passengers do not get thrown around in the corners. It’s an excellent system and GVC has filtered down to many other Mazda models since its launch in 2017 with this current-gen CX-5.

After 2,400Km, our overall fuel economy out of the CX-5 Takami was 8.5L/100Km; for a turbocharged, 170kW petrol engine in an SUV, that’s bordering on outstanding. Compare it to the 9.1L/00Km that Alistair got from the non-turbo 2.5, and you get the idea that adding a turbo doesn’t always mean more fuel. Yes, we had two long trips away in our CX-5 compared to Alistair’s use, but still – 8.5L/100Km is excellent.

More fuel economy comparisons include the Skoda Kodiaq RS, a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol SUV that puts out a comparable 180kW. John reviewed this car and it returned 9.6L/100Km. 

2022 Mazda CX-5 Takami – Specifications

Vehicle TypeAll-wheel drive, 5-door medium SUV
Starting Price$64,290
Price as Tested$64,590
Engine2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol-turbo
Power, Torque
kW/Nm
170/420
Transmission6-speed automatic
Spare WheelSpace saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1,730
Length x Width x Height
mm
4575 x 1845 x 1680
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
Litres
(seats up/seats down)
401 (second-row in-place – to windows)
1,303 (second row down – up to the roof)
Fuel tank capacity,
litres
58
Fuel Economy,
L/100km
Advertised Spec – Combined – 8.2
Real-World Test – Combined – 8.5
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
750/2,000
Turning circle
metres
11.0
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty3 year/100,000 km new vehicle warranty
5 year/unlimited km new vehicle warranty
5 year/unlimited km Roadside Assist
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 Stars
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – TAKAMI

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Driver Tech
7
Economy
9
Handling
8
Infotainment
8
Interior
9
Performance
8
Ride
8
Safety
9
Styling
9
Value
6
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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.
2022-mazda-cx-5-takami-road-trip-car-review<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>My memories of every CX-5 I have driven is that it is a refined and smooth SUV. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I don’t doubt this will be the last review of the current gen CX-5 for DriveLife - we’ve been through all the models. But since 2017, I have enjoyed getting back into a CX-5 at every opportunity, so that I can remind myself how good they are.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>For DriveLife, the CX-5 has been the benchmark that we measure other medium SUVs against - and it still is. It may be ageing, but it can hold its head up high that it’s at the top of its game.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

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