Powered by a familiar range of Skyactiv engines, both Mazda’s Skyactiv-MT six-speed manual and Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmissions feature in the Mazda CX-5 range, as does the latest generation of Mazda’s intelligent i-ACTIV all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
The 2.0-litre 165ps Skyactiv-G petrol engine is available in SE-L, Sport and GT Sport trim and is offered exclusively in front-wheel drive with a choice of Mazda’s six-speed Skyactiv-MT manual or Skyactiv-Drive automatic gearbox. With a compression ratio of 13:1, the 1,998cc Skyactiv-G naturally-aspirated direct injection petrol engine combines low-friction and lightweight all-alloy construction to deliver powerful torque at low- to mid-range speeds, linear acceleration characteristics and excellent fuel economy. Featuring a sophisticated four-two-one exhaust system, multi-hole injectors, and a unique cavity piston design to help eliminate knocking, the unit develops 165ps at 6,000rpm and 213Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. Manual versions now feature cylinder deactivation to lower emissions and improve economy. The 2.5-litre 194ps Skyactiv-G petrol engine is exclusively matched to the flagship GT Sport grade with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.
The popular 2.2-litre 150ps Skyactiv-D diesel also comes with a choice of Skyactiv-MT or Skyactiv-Drive gearbox combined with front wheel drive in SE-L and Sport grades. The higher output 2.2-litre 184ps Skyactiv-D is also offered with Sport models where with front-wheel drive it can be specified with either a manual or automatic transmission, while the all-wheel drive 184ps Sport is exclusively matched to automatic transmission. At the top of the range, GT Sport trim is matched exclusively to the 184ps diesel engine and AWD, but there is a choice of automatic or manual transmission.
Boasting low-friction and a lightweight all-alloy construction, Mazda‘s 2,191cc common-rail diesel engine employs various sophisticated technologies such as the use of high-pressure multi-hole piezo injectors capable of up to nine injections per combustion, and stepped, egg-shaped pistons facilitate the necessary precision fuel-injection and ideal combustion to achieve a 14.4:1 compression ratio.
Across both outputs the Skyactiv-D diesel engines feature Mazda’s noise reducing Natural Sound Smoother and Natural Sound Frequency Control technology. The Natural Sound Smoother entails the fitting of a dynamic damper within the pin securing the piston to the connecting rod. This contributes to a marked reduction in vibration and engine knocking noise at around 3.5 kHz, the frequency audible within the car at start up and under slow acceleration. The Natural Sound Frequency Control complements the Natural Sound Smoother by suppressing the other three critical frequency bands (1.3 kHz, 1.7 kHz and 2.5 kHz) where diesel powerplant components typically vibrate the loudest. Combined with extensive upgrades to sound isolation material, the above technologies ensure the - Mazda CX-5 sets new standards for refinement.
In addition, the 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D engine benefits from Transient Control, which sharpens throttle responsiveness by more precise control of engine torque with optimised turbo pressure and finer adjustment of fuel injection. The 150ps version delivers peak power at 4,500rpm and 380Nm of torque at 1,800-2,600rpm, while the upgraded 184ps engine has 445Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Both outputs have a high 5,500 rpm redline and their twin-turbo layout provides minimal lag and powerful mid-range punch.
The mainstay of the range, Mazda’s Skyactiv-MT lightweight six-speed manual transmission features a gear lever base housing structure which adopts reinforcements where it attaches to the body. This suppresses any loss of rigidity due to the higher mounting position of the gear lever. The centre position around which the lever pivots has been designed to maintain the sports car like shift action it’s famous for.
When mated to the diesel engine, the Skyactiv-MT adopts a speed control peak torque limiter within the hydraulic cylinder, which controls the speed of the clutch pedal. This improves response to quick clutch pedal action, and helps avoid excessive shock when the driver misses a gear change. It also contributes to reducing delayed response to pedal action when operating in extremely cold temperatures.
Available with both the 150 and 184ps diesel engines the Skyactiv-Drive six-speed lock-up automatic transmission brings together the best attributes of conventional step automatic transmissions, continuously variable transmissions and dual clutch transmissions in one compact and lightweight package.
The Skyactiv-Drive for the Skyactiv-D 2.2 turbodiesel is the first to adopt a low-rigidity lockup damper, which is equipped with damper springs that feature a larger stroke and wider torsion angle. While improving driveshaft rigidity to support the engine‘s maximum torque of 445Nm, the springs also optimise torsional rigidity by extending the stroke of the lockup damper. As a result, the transmission delivers a quieter drive with a wider lockup range, and further increases fuel efficiency in the practical operating range.
Mazda’s new-generation intelligent all-wheel drive has been developed to maintain the connection between driver and road in all circumstances and conditions. Staying true to the spirit of Jinba Ittai regardless of grip levels, whilst at the same time ensuring there’s no sacrifice in fuel efficiency it has been significantly improved by the adoption of ball bearings for all its power take-off and rear differential unit bearings, and is the first Mazda car to also feature tandem ball bearings in locations where a high level of rigidity is required under heavy load. The load-bearing rotation of the balls within the bearings has resulted in a dramatic reduction in resistance of some 30 per cent compared to the previous system, and a commensurate 2 per cent improvement in real-world fuel economy.
Mazda’s intelligent AWD system uses 27 sensor signals to monitor road conditions and driver intentions, such as outside temperature, windscreen wiper activation, road gradient, steering angle and throttle application, instantly determining how power should be split between the front and rear wheels. The Active Torque Control coupling sends the right amount of torque to the right place at exactly the right time, maximising front and rear grip by precisely calculating how much grip is required at each wheel, even when road conditions are constantly changing.
While some lesser systems wait for individual wheels to lose grip before adjusting torque split, Mazda’s intelligent AWD anticipates and instantaneously diverts drive to the rear-wheels ahead of front wheel slip. This intuitive set-up also delivers superb fuel efficiency by ensuring that the CX-5 doesn’t unnecessarily transmit torque to the rear wheels when conditions don’t demand it.
With a focus on fuel efficient front-wheel drive, under most normal driving conditions torque split to the rear wheels can vary from as little as 1 per cent to 50 per cent. Designed to deliver grip, handling agility, driver confidence and fuel efficiency, Mazda’s new-generation i-Activ AWD system works perfectly in conjunction with winter tyres in extreme snow and ice environments.
Across both outputs the Skyactiv-D diesel engine adopts rapid multi-stage combustion with ultra-high response piezo injectors, while an egg-profile combustion chamber minimises heat transition between the fuel and piston to improve efficiency. The water flow management is optimised to help the engine warm up quicker to reduce emissions and help real-world MPG, while the introduction of SCR and AdBlue® treatment realises outstanding environmental operation without sacrificing the driving pleasure the Mazda CX-5 is famed for.
In addition to the efficiency gains, the higher output 184ps version of the 2.2-litre has a two-stage twin turbo with variable geometry that increases boost from mid to high revs thereby improving power and torque. The compression ratio is 14.4:1, while exhaust valves filled with sodium enhance heat-resistance for higher engine output.
As you’d expect given Mazda’s focus on tuning the CX-5 to deliver excellent real-word MPG, the Mazda CX-5 is homologated to WLTP standards and achieves Euro 6d Temp emissions standards, while across all engines, the 2021 model-year CX-5 has lower CO2 output that previous model year versions.