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April 3, 2019

2019 Mazda CX-5 Sport D: Long-Term Test Introduction

There are at least half a dozen compact crossovers out there, so why did we end up with the 2019 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport D as our latest long-term test? The answer is simple really, and it’s all about it being able to offer a more premium experience.

A reader rightfully pointed out that coming from a third-generation Subaru Forester, a crossover not really synonymous with being luxurious, the CX-5 feels like one heck of a jump. Granted that there’s an 8-year gap between the two models, the shift still feels like you’re jumping from a feature phone to a smartphone. This may sound like an exaggeration, but after spending a week of seat time, we assure you, it’s not.

For starters, there’s the interior. It’s laid out simply and pleasant to the eye, free from any flashy distraction. It manages unwanted reflections well making it easy to drive despite the relentless summer sun. Of course, because there’s nothing to “confuse and conquer” drivers in here, Mazda has had to make sure that the fit and finish delivers. The seats, upper dash, and doors are covered in supple leather, while the plastics used elsewhere are of the soft-touch variety. It’s luxurious and simply unmatched in the segment.

Then, there’s the list of standard features. First up there’s the powertrain combination: it’s only one of two crossovers out there that combines a diesel powertrain with all-wheel drive, and among the two available, this one’s more powerful. Next, it’s got a solid list of active safety features. It may not have any sort of forward collision warning, but it does have lane departure/lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring—two driving aids which we find more useful in Philippine driving conditions. Then, there’s the 10-speaker Bose sound system, powered front seats (with memory for the driver), heads-up display, power tailgate, sunroof, and many more. It’s a well-packaged, well-speced crossover that can put higher-priced European crossovers to shame.

And unlike European makes, we expect a painless ownership experience at least for the first three years. When we picked up the CX-5 at Mazda Makati, our home dealer, we were reminded once more of their unique Yojin-3. Not only does this mean a 3-year / 100,000-kilometer bumper-to-bumper warranty (1-year warranty on the i-Stop battery), but it also means that all preventive maintenance service (PMS) is free for a 3-year / 60,000-kilometer period.

In terms of driving dynamics, the merits of the CX-5 has been well-documented. It’s, so far, the only vehicle to be have been named in our Top 5 Picks of the Year (2017 and 2018) twice. Being our first-ever diesel, the CX-5 is a great one. It’s smooth, refined, and quiet. Compared to gasoline-engined SUVs, it has a different character. It’s more relaxed, relying more on the torque than peak power. Oh, and being a diesel, a great advantage here is that we expect to spend way less on fuel now.

The best part is that since this is one of the last 2018 units, we managed to get a great deal on it. And we believe the promotion is still on-going where Mazda is offering cash savings of up to P 200,000 off on the all-wheel drive variants.

We’re pretty sure that there’s a lot left to discover about the CX-5, and we hope you join us on this journey. Our first progress report will come up in about a month’s time, so let’s see how the CX-5 Sport D is by then.

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