Review: 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT – Part 2

Yesterday I mentioned that Mazda made one significant change to the CX-5 for 2018. And that change is under the hood:

IMG_1617

This is the 2.5 L four cylinder Skyactiv engine that puts out 187 horsepower and 186 pound feet of torque. That’s slightly up in both categories from last year. But the engine also includes cylinder deactivation technology that automatically shuts down two of the cylinders in light-load situations such as when cruising at a constant speed. That means that in certain situations you’ll save some fuel, which given the price of gas these days is a good thing.

Here’s a video that illustrates how this technology works:

Now Mazda claims that you’ll consume 20% less fuel when cruising at 40 KM/h and 5% when cruising at 80 KM/h. Those are not earth shattering gains. In fact they fit the definition of the marginal gains I spoke of in part one of this review. The question is, do you notice it and do you see those fuel savings? Well, in terms of noticing it, I didn’t. The 2018 CX-5 behaved the same as the 2017 CX-5 from what I can tell thus far. Getting off the line was a non-issue. Passing transport trucks was effortless. So from that standpoint, the average driver won’t be able to tell if they’re running on four or two cylinders.

Now over to if this technology actually saves fuel. As I type this I am doing 8 L per 100 KM/s in mixed city and highway driving. Mostly the latter thus far. When I compare that the CX-5 that I drove last year, I was getting 9.9 L per 100 KM/s. And based on my notes, I was driving on mostly the same roads at the same times of day. So while it’s not an exact comparison, it does indicate that cylinder deactivation technology works. A couple observations that I have noted:

  • I have seen the overall fuel economy change rapidly from as high as 8.2 L per 100 KM/s to as low as 7.8 L per 100 KM/s during the three or four drives I’ve had in the vehicle thus far.
  • I have noted that the instant fuel economy readout has been as low as 3 L per 100 KM/s on the highway.

To me those are indications that that the cylinder deactivation technology is working. But I do expect the fuel economy to go up a bit as the week goes on. We’ll see how different it is versus last years model.

Other than that change, everything that I liked in the 2017 CX-5 I still like in the 2018 model. Body movement is well controlled, the suspension is on the firm side without beating you to death. It’s insanely agile at both city and highway speeds. And I actually get feedback from the steering wheel, which by the way has a very heavy feel to it that I liked. It feels sure footed because of the fact that it comes with a very good all wheel drive system, and tacked onto that is  G-Vectoring Control technology which enhances steering response through subtle engine-torque manipulation. In other words, it’s a form of torque vectoring that makes things like lane changes and turns smoother for you and your passengers. And there’s that sport switch to make things more fun if you find a back road someplace that you want to have some fun on.

In part three, I will be taking a look at the interior which in typical Mazda fashion is a Class Above. Stay tuned!

 

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