20 June 2022

Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022 car review

The New Mazda CX-5 continues to rewrite the rules for what drivers can expect when it comes to style, technology, safety and comfort.

CX 5 1
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022
CX 5 2
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022
CX 5 3
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022
CX 5 4
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022
CX 5 5
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022
CX 5 6
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022
CX 5 intext3
Mazda CX-5 Activ 2022

MODEL: Mazda CX-5 Activ
PRICE RANGE: $50,990 + ORC
POWER: 140kW/252Nm
GEARBOX: Six-speed AWD
ENGINE: 2.5-litre petrol engine
ECONOMY: 7.4L/100km, 172g/km combined 3P-WLTP
STATUS: Currently available

Following the launch of the upgraded 2022 Mazda CX-5 line-up in New Zealand last month, we were given the opportunity to sample the new CX-5 Activ AWD model.

CX 5 intext1

The 2022 CX-5 range introduces refreshed exterior styling, and the addition of the completely new Activ model to the range offers a total of six different grades. While the inside of the new line-up is largely unchanged, there are subtle individual differences to each model to define their distinctive characters.

Key changes:

  • Activ grade added to the existing CX-5 grade structure
  • New front grille design, restyled front and rear lamp clusters, new Zircon Sand exterior colour
  • Two-piece loadspace floorboard and tailgate sill set on same level to aid loading. Reversible, water-resistant floorboard standard on new Activ grade

The line-up starts with the popular GLX for $42,290 and GSX for $44,790, both front wheel drive models powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine. The CX-5 Activ sits in the middle of the line-up at $50,990 and features a 2.5-litre petrol engine. At the top of the range is the luxury 2.5-litre petrol turbo Tamati for $64,290.

According to Mazda the new sibling is designed specifically for those who seek out roads less travelled. So, if you are looking for a medium SUV five-seater to transport the growing family – that may be future adventurers - then a quick glance of the CX-5 Activ tells us this car might very well fit the bill.

For all conditions

Being an adventure loving family with teenagers, we thought we would put the CX-5 Activ to the test. What we learned quickly was that if you are the type of adventurer that doesn’t want to sacrifice style or comfort then the CX-5 Activ certainly provides the best of both worlds.

The exterior features a silver underguard-style treatment to the front and rear bumpers and door garnishes with black door mirrors. Not to be confused with other CX -5 models, lime green accents garnish the front grille, complete with 19-inch black machine-cut alloy wheels.

CX 5 intext2

Perfect for towing the adventure toys too, the CX-5 Activ has a 1,800kg tow capacity, although we didn’t get the opportunity to try this out. The luggage capacity is plentiful providing a generous 1,340 litre space with the rear seats folded down and the dual-level floor in the cargo area lowered. What is also neat is the reversible cargo board, which is water-resistant on one side. This came in handy when a trip to the café became a stroll along the beach, which led to an unplanned plunge in the ocean and a collection of wet towels.


The Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission offers drivers responsive and nippy driving. This is delivered through improved kick-down response, faster upshifts during acceleration with deeper throttle depression, and better acceleration response.

Interior measures up too

The interior features pop as soon as you open the driver door. The combination of suede upholstery with lime green stitching creates a sense of both luxury and sports car. The lime green extends to plastic accents surrounding the air-conditioning louvre, which might take a bit of getting used to at first, as they are a bold contrast to the exterior – our model came in Zircon Sand Metallic.

CX 5 intext3

The seats may look sporty, but the shape and fabric make them surprisingly comfortable. Slightly disappointed to discover they are manual for recline, slide and height adjustment, which takes the luxury out of the equation.

This disappointment is soon forgotten on discovering the CX-5 Activ is kitted out with all the tech features one might expect to find in a modern SUV in this price range; leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, features a wide 8:3 aspect 10.25-inch centre display, Mazda Connect 10.25-inch infotainment centre display with six-speakers, navigation, Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ and the list goes on.

Driving dynamics both on and off-road

The 2.5-litre AWD petrol has 140kW of power and 251Nm of torque with a fuel efficiency of 7.5l/100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 172g/km. The Activ also includes a new off-road mode that optimises traction in the newly renamed “Mi-drive” drive mode system.

Key improvements:

  • Mazda Intelligent Drive select (Mi-Drive) enables selection of appropriate drive mode with one touch of a switch. Activ and Takami models further benefit from an Off-Road Mode
  • Next generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture application evolves bodyshell, suspension and seating for enhanced ride comfort and reduced fatigue
  • Significant reduction in road noise, particularly when driving on rough surfaces such as gravel
  • Improved 6-speed AT, accelerator pedal and engine response for easier, more precise vehicle control
  • Reduced CO2 emissions through optimised 6-speed AT shift pattern and lowered resistance in the i-Activ AWD system

The Mi-Drive button is located on the centre console, which wasn’t much use when driving around Auckland CBD. But when taking the Activ out to play – like a weekend getaway to the snow - there are three modes to choose from: Normal, Sport, and Offroad. The new Off-Road Mode operates continuously at mid to high speeds to make driving feel easier and more natural even on bumpy or slippery surfaces. The Mi-Drive system is only available on the Activ and Takami models.

Mazda’s Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture concept, which was first introduced on the current Mazda3, has been applied to the 2022 CX-5, further evolving the bodyshell, suspension and seats to provide a comfortable, engaging, “Jinba-Ittai” driving experience over even the longest journeys.


What’s new:

  • Class-leading active safety performance through advanced i-Activsense driver-supporting safety technologies
  • New Cruise & Traffic Support (CTS) reduces the burden on the driver in heavy traffic
  • Evolved Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) for easier pedestrian and distant curve identification at night

With a 5 start ANCAP safety rating the CX-5 Activ comes with all the safety features you would expect to find in a new medium SUV today. Plus, Off-Road Traction Assist, Hill Launch Assist (HLA) and Traction Control System (TCS) - to help with the out-of-town drives.

Our verdict

The first-generation model was launched in 2012 and we can see why it continues to remain such a strong seller. The Activ handles well in the city and out on the open road, making it the perfect medium SUV for everyday and occasional off-road use.

It is true the CX-5 Active is quieter too - this stood out as unique for an SUV of this size, the improved soundproofing to the cabin was noticeable when we ventured outside the city limits - where the bitumen can become a little harsher.

The Activ provides the confidence to load up with adventure toys and teenagers while still providing enough comfort and practicality to make the journey enjoyable.

At a glance


Mazda CX-5 Activ


Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre 


From $50,990 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star 

Power and Torque



Six-speed Automatic

Fuel economy/CO2

7.4L/100km / 172g/km

Towing capacity

1,800kg (Braked), 750kg (Unbraked)  



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity

438L (All seats up) / 1,340L

Safety systems

  • Front driver and passenger, front side airbags, curtain airbags 
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) With Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA) 
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) 
  • Emergency Stop Signalling system (ESS) 
  • Hill Launch Assist (HLA) 
  • ISOFIX child seat anchors Outer rear seats 
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS) With Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) 
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) With automatic Stop & Go function
  • Off-Road Traction Assist
  • Smart Brake Support (SBS) 
  • Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) Front, including autonomous emergency braking and night-time pedestrian detection 
  • Rear (SCBS-R)
  • Speed Limiter 
  • Traction Control System (TCS) 
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) 
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a new car:

Vehicle experts you can trust

Previous review
Next review
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 2022 Car Review
Read more
Kia EV6 GT-Line 2022 car review
Read more