Suna Or Later, You’ll See Why The Mazda CX-5 Is Still Among The Best In Its Class

Dive into our comprehensive 2024 Mazda CX-5 Suna Edition review, uncovering the enduring fun-to-drive factor, cutting-edge G-Vectoring Control technology, and subtle yet impactful enhancements. Discover why the CX-5 remains the crown jewel of Mazda's lineup, blending performance, style, and innovation.

HOME POPULAR Suna Or Later, You’ll See Why The Mazda CX-5 Is Still Among The Best In Its Class

Adam Allen Writer -

Words by: Adam Allen

Since Mazda introduced us to the CX-5 back in 2012, it hasn’t changed much during its two generation existence. Hasn’t needed to, really- the fundamental excellence of this SUV is such that only a nip here and a tuck there are all that’s needed to keep it fresh and relevant.

As such, there are some aspects of driving the CX-5 that have persisted since day one. Perhaps its best attribute and the one that is most important to us is the fun-to-drive factor. It seems cliché to us now, but back in 2018 during one of many stints behind the wheel (including 4 years of ownership of a 2015 model enjoyed by your author) we claimed that “Mazda has taken a few drops of the essence of what makes the MX-5 Roadster such a blast to drive and sprinkled it throughout their lineup.” Expecting a sports car to be an effective tool to carve up a lightly traveled back road isn’t going to surprise many people- but having a midsize crossover SUV do the deed with nearly as much precision and alacrity is another matter altogether.

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To keep dynamics as sharp as possible, Mazda engineers have carefully fettled with the recipe that makes the CX-5 such a compelling dish, like the new for 2024 Suna Edition you see here. By far the coolest- and most imperceptible- bit of tech they can boast about is called G-Vectoring Control (GVC.) We think Mazda describes this interesting bit of tech best in their own words: “GVC maximizes tire performance by focusing on the vertical load on the tires. The moment the driver starts to turn the steering wheel, GVC controls engine drive torque to generate a deceleration G-force, thereby shifting load to the front wheels. This increases front-wheel tire grip, enhancing the vehicle’s turn-in responsiveness.” Here’s our translation: Mazda engineers saw an opportunity, however slight and subtle, to make an already excellent handling SUV even better without having to worry about activating it. Your humble author was at a press event years ago where GVC was on full display, and trust us, it works.

Mazda also claims that the spring rates on the SUV’s fully independent suspension have been retuned to make weight transfer feel more natural when pitching the CX-5 into a corner, with a new front stabilizer bar helping out as well. Finally, the i-Active all-wheel drive system gains a slight rear bias when shuffling power around in search of traction which helps get the CX-5 get around in less than ideal conditions.

Elsewhere, the usual oily bits carry over unchanged from CX-5s past. The 2.5 litre turbocharged inline four still does its best work toiling around low in the rev range, moving the car forward on a long, languid wave of torque. Some criticize the 6-speed automatic for having too few ratios where most have 8 or even 10 these days, but it doesn’t need ‘em. The gearbox always finds the right gear and shifts smoothly. In other words, the recipe that makes this SUV so great is largely unchanged.

Our tester was one rung down the CX-5 hierarchical ladder from the top-drawer Signature model. New for 2024, we drove the Suna Edition which came painted in what is now our second favorite color in the Mazda paint catalogue (behind the achingly beautiful Soul Red) called Zircon Sand Metallic. Exclusive to Suna Editions, it kind of reminds us of a cross between a 1970’s kitchen countertop and a military vehicle, but however you look at it you will no doubt agree that it’s pretty spiffy. The 19” wheels are painted black and pair nicely with this new livery. Not to be outdone by the exterior upgrades, Mazda shows the interior some love in the form of Terracotta leather with black suede-like trimmed upholstery. The interior is already a place of fastidious attention to detail, and the subtlety of the Terracotta colored stitching ties everything together nicely. Mazda interiors have moved steadily up the premium ladder in recent years, so much so that they are usually nicer places to be compared to SUVs which command a much dearer asking price.

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And yet as strong as the CX-5’s overall game is, we did notice some flies in the ointment. The first gets levied towards the infotainment system, and this gripe left us feeling conflicted. On one hand, the infotainment is sophisticated in its design and it responds reasonably astutely to commands. On the other hand, it can take more than a few layers to get to the point where you simply want to tune a radio station or add said radio station to your favorites list. Our only other gripe is a familiar one levied at CX-5’s past is higher than expected levels of wind and road noise. The reason for this is Mazda is hypervigilant in eliminating any unnecessary weight, right down to using lighter fasteners that hold the driver’s seat into place which means they don’t slap a bunch of extraneous sound deadening materials throughout. It is noisier than some of its competitors, but it is much quieter than our first-generation example that felt like you had to raise your voice to have a normal conversation.

And so, time marches on; seasons change, and all that jazz. Yet some things stay the same, an island of stability amidst a turbulent sea. That’s how we’d describe the Mazda CX-5 in a nutshell, and it’s a calming influence that buyers have gravitated towards in droves, making the CX-5 the crown jewel in Mazda’s portfolio from a sales perspective. If you are in the market for an SUV in this segment, there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from; but we still maintain that the CX-5 is the cream that never fails to rise to the top. Take one for a drive and see what we mean- you’ll figure it out Suna than later.

2024 Mazda CX-5 Suna Editon - Specifications

  • Price as tested: $46,295
  • Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger SUV
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
  • Engine:  2.5-litre turbocharged inline 4, DOHC, 16 valves
  • Horsepower: 256 @ 5,000 rpm/227 @ 5,000 rpm (with 87 octane fuel)
  • Torque (lb-ft.): 320 @ 2,500 rpm/310 @ 2,000 rpm (with 87 octane fuel)
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 1,754 kg (3,866 lbs)
  • Observed Fuel consumption: 11.8/100km (20 mpg)
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