2020 Mazda CX-5 Akera AWD (car review)

READY for whatever you throw at it, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Akera AWD is a medium sized SUV, powered by a 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine, that we’re sure will captivate and delight you (as it did us).

It boasts Mazda’s new Skyactiv-G power plant, with powerful acceleration, producing 170kW of power with a high torque output of 420Nm from the 2.5-litre turbo in-line 4-cylinder. It has a braked towing capacity of 2,000kg.

Smooth as butter gear changes from the six speed auto make it an absolute joy to drive, both on and off road. But to really put the CX-5 through its paces, we took our test car off the asphalt, somewhere out the back of the Zig Zag Railway in western NSW.

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We found ourselves on the Glow Worm Tunnel Road, which of course saw us venture through the Glow Worm Tunnel to Newnes Plateau. It was there that we threw a combination of dirt trails, grass, mud, puddles and hard rocks at the Mazda.

With the i-activ AWD off-road mode activated at the push of a button, what we found was an SUV that took everything in its stride, delivering supreme stability, and responding to changing conditions as we drove.

The CX-5 soaked it all up and we didn’t feel like we were being thrown out of our seat. Of course, some of the deeper ruts and bumpier terrain does bounce you around inside but overall, it’s still quite comfortable during the more demanding terrain.

The road trip continued to Bathurst, a picturesque country town and home to one of Australia’s favourite motor racing circuits. It’s a testament to the CX-5 that even after spending half a day on the road, we still felt sprightly.

Deep foot wells and comfortable, bolstered, electrically adjustable front seats feel like they’ve been developed with the driver in mind too.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 Akera AWD really is a pleasure to drive, with plenty of linear power delivery; the all-wheel drive system will automatically send appropriate levels of torque to the front and rear wheels.

With plenty of pick up, it’s easy to overtake when required, and the mid-size SUV handles more like a sedan thank you’d first expect. Mazda claims fuel economy of 8.2-litres/100km and we managed 9.0 on our trip to Bathurst and back.

The CX-5’s stylish exterior design flows into a luxurious interior on the range-topping model. The materials used within the cabin space feel premium to the touch, with the sunroof adding to its airy feel.

The safety and security features in the CX-5 Akera are plentiful, with adaptive LED headlights, key-less entry, blind spot monitoring, drivers attention monitoring, an auto dimming rear view mirror, emergency braking and lane departure warnings.

Cross traffic alerts and traffic signal recognition also come standard.

The premium BOSE sound system is impressive, and the infotainment system is easy to control, but we found Mazda’s MZD connectivity experience laggy. We noticed this particularly when swapping between functions, and using the 360 degree camera.

The camera also looks low resolution, taking away from the premium nature of the Akera variant. Small issues when compared to the high quality colour head-up display, heating and ventilation in the front seats, and the heated steering wheel. All very impressive.

Mazda have also given back seat passengers comfortable seating, cup holders and power, meaning charging devices on long trips away is a breeze. The CX-5 has plenty of boot space too, with 442-litres with the seats up, or 1,342 with the laid flat.

Folding down the back seats was a breeze, with an easy to use mechanism. They’re lightweight too, so will be appealing to mums on the go, looking for a family car.

Our test vehicle came in Machine Grey Metallic, but you can also choose Polymetal Grey Metallic, Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Sonic Silver Metallic, Titanium Flash Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica, Eternal Blue Mica, Jet Black Mica, and Snowflake White Pearl Mica.

Its sole interior trim option is Dark Russet Nappa leather.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 Akera AWD is priced from from $51,735 drive away. Mazda offer 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with 5-years premium road side assistance.

Our test vehicle was supplied by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Akera AWD, contact your local Mazda dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros – new 2.5 litre turbo engine; off-road mode switch; ride and handling.
Cons – technology connectivity and lag; 360-degree camera quality.
Scott Gravolin
Scott Gravolin
Scott Gravolin is an aspiring photographer and automotive reviewer, with a passion for performance cars and sports motorcycles. Scott loves riding his Kawasaki Ninja 1000, Scott has an absolute appreciation for Porsche with two of his all time favorites being the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Porsche 918 Spyder. However he just can not leave out the old rally focussed Ford Escort RS Cosworth.


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<strong>Pros –</strong> new 2.5 litre turbo engine; off-road mode switch; ride and handling.<br> <strong>Cons –</strong> technology connectivity and lag; 360-degree camera quality.2020 Mazda CX-5 Akera AWD (car review)