At one with nature… or what makes you choose a Mazda CX-5
KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — For the longest time, the Jinba Ittai philosophy has been at the core of every Mazda model. Huh? Jinba who? The philosophy of rider and horse being one.
OK, here is where it gets complicated yet interesting. You’re probably wondering how can the Jinba Ittai philosophy be used on so many models across their stable of cars and especially when the models range from the small and zippy MX-5 to the corporate family type of the CX-9.
Simple task? Not really. Not easy especially when some of us are schizophrenics behind the wheel. There are certain days when we think that we’re young and restless and there are also certain days when reality slaps us in the face and we behave.
Each of these cars is designed with a particular persona in mind. So, who am I supposed to be when I’m in the CX-5? As Hall & Oates once sang, “Leave me alone… I’m a family man… and my bark is much worse than my bite.”
Those lyrics essentially sum up the CX-5. At first glance, it looks great! However, get behind the wheel, and you are who you are… the family man. There is no pretense with the CX-5. It doesn’t claim to be what it’s not. It’s a family car meant for people who are at peace with themselves.
You know how people say that first impressions are the most important? Let me be the first to admit that I wasn’t impressed with the CX-5… initially anyway.
There were a few things which I had “problems” with. For example, the AWD variant has 150hp but the car doesn’t seem to want to move. And, it takes about 13 seconds to pick up to 100km/h. We were shooting some pictures of the other CX-5s driving past us with the windows down, and it almost deafened me.
The bonnet and side mirrors were vibrating when we were on the highway (at 170km/h). And lastly the claim of getting 6l/100km wasn’t true. Then, as days went by with the CX-5, I realised something, I was looking for things to complain about and on top of that, the things I was complaining about involved situations that you wouldn’t normally find your car in.
I mean, let’s face it, would you buy a SUV and drag around town with it? SUVs are NOT designed for that purpose. Would you wind down your window when you’re driving at 170km/h? Should you even be going at 170km/h in the first place? And driving at that speed, would you seriously still expect your fuel consumption to be at 6l/100km???
So now, let’s look at it from the flip-side:
● Linear acceleration. The CX-5 doesn’t accelerate with your guts at the back of your seat but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the power to reach beyond 100km/h. When you don’t expect the car to get you 0-100 in 5 sec, you’ll be amazed that you actually reach 100km/h in a decent time of 13 seconds.
● Highest engine compression rate. This is a feature that will not appeal to your four major senses. But knowing that ultimately you are helping to save the environment does give you a fifth sense… achievement. How does compression rate do that? You basically burn less fuel for the same amount of energy required to move the car otherwise.
● Functional features. Auto settings for the headlights and wipers, dual climate air-con settings, Bluetooth connection for audio and phone usage, GPS, electronic seat adjustment (yes, even for the lumbar), sunroof, leather upholstery, one-motion lever to release the back seat latches and the reverse camera screen display are just the additional features which I found not only useful but unexpected.
● Audio pleasures. Nine Bose speakers… what else is there to say? The Dixie Chicks never sounded so good!
● Storage space. 403 litres of space at the back. One could fill it up with a lot of things. In fact, four Samsonite suitcases wouldn’t be an issue, two mountain bikes (of course with the front wheels removed), no problem. Golf bag? Absolutely no problem and you don’t even have to remove the driver. In fact, if you fold the back seats down, you’d have 1,560 litres of boot space.
● Safety features. For sure, you wouldn’t have expected half the safety features they have included in the CX-5… Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) and of course the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) which is a norm in a lot of cars these days.
● Revolutionary technology. The entire SkyActiv technology comes to life in every aspect of the SUV. The SkyActiv-G 2.0 engine burns fuel more efficiently than any other engine available in the market — 13.0:1. The SkyActiv-Drive is a drive-train system that combines the traditional characters of an automatic gearbox and marries it with a variable and dual clutch transmission, and this in turn improves fuel efficiency by up to seven per cent. The SkyActiv-Body is a lighter, yet stronger body comprising 61 per cent high tensile steel. The SkyActiv-Chassis is a new suspension system that is lighter yet stiffer to provide precise handling at all speeds, top ride comfort and enhanced braking and it also has a new steering system that adjusts feedback according to speed and conditions.
What are your options?
Apart from the CX-5, the SUV market is getting to be a rather crowded place. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson, Chevy Captiva, Mitsubishi ASX and Pajero Sport, Ford Escape and Everest, Peugeot 3008, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Sorento, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota Fortuner basically sums up the mid-level of the SUV segment.
And of course, since this segment is a growing one, even the big boys are in it, from the Audis to the Volvos everyone knows that the family man is willing to pay good money to shuttle the family around. In fact the SUV segment was the main contributing factor to Porsche’s revival.
Therefore, looking at the playing field, considering all factors and features, would I pay RM154,000 or RM164,000 for the 2WD or AWD variant respectively? After some serious thought… hmm… I just might. Mind you, not for me, but for my better half.
Will you need to sacrifice something?
Of course! How can you not? Think of it… there’s always a compromise. Go back to the earlier part of my story; this SUV was built with a purpose. The purpose is to be an SUV and not a high-performance vehicle. So don’t expect it to perform like one.
It gives you all the little luxuries that surprise you and in turn, it’ll want you to drive it around with respect. The person who drives the CX-5 is never in a hurry. The person who drives the CX-5 lives the Jinba Ittai spirit. The person who drives the CX-5 is at peace with nature.