If you live and work in a rural environment, and by this I take it to mean a region where the roads do not all look like the Northern Bypass, then right off the bat we can safely conclude that the Mazda is not the car for you.
Mazdas are beautiful, well built, comfortable, sporty cars as far as passenger vehicles are concerned, but the cost of this awesomeness is a one-dimensional existence as dwellers of asphalt only.
Take them off the bituminous macadam and you begin to affect their lifespan “adversely”.
I know this because I owned a Mazda not too long ago, but all it took was one trip to the village for me to concede to the heart-breaking news that my wonderful relationship with the pretty young ‘debutante’ would have to end because she started shedding her comeliness and structure under a steady onslaught of mileage, time and intractability.
This Mazda was soon replaced by an 18-year-old Subaru that responds to all kinds of abuse, misuse, disuse and hard use with a nonchalant dull-eyed stare and a deep throaty rumble at idle. How this car hasn’t died, I’m yet to understand.
Deep throat Subarus aside, let’s talk about the CX-5 vis-à-vis the Random Access Vehicle (RAV4); Toyota’s pioneering crossover.
This goes whichever way your tender loving care will be channelled; the absence thereof will be particularly hard on the Mazda.
Value for money
This comes down to how hard you can haggle. The Toyota gives you the traditional and historic reputation for dependability that comes with the territory, which is steeped in relative simplicity, which in turn translates to peace of mind.
The Mazda offers SKYACTIV technology that is future perfect but makes the present tense, when it comes to repairs, if it ever comes to repairs. The RAV4 is bigger but the Mazda is better to drive. Decide where your loyalties lie and throw the dart.
Mazda wins here. Toyota has prided itself in being visually inoffensive ever since early man discovered the wheel and carved a Toyota logo on it, but inoffensive, more often than not is synonymous with bland.
Mazda entered the third millennium AD with their design guns firing from both barrels, and you will be hard-pressed to find an ugly one anywhere in its line-up. Inside and out, Mazda trumps Toyota when it comes to eye candy.
Again, Mazda wins. A smaller, more compact platform coupled with those SKYACTIV motors means a quick, agile and nippy driving experience with responsiveness and economy to boot.
The Toyota cannot keep up. Both offer 2.0 and 2.5 litre petrol engines, but in both capacities, the Mazda has a higher output: 164 versus 149 and 184 versus 176 respectively.
So, the CX-5 seems to be winning this, but is it really? On paper, and on tarmac, it is the superior vehicle by a clear margin, but on rough roads, and that is the point at which you will have to do it like me and say goodbye to the beautiful, tactile and agile Mazda and welcome to something less stylish but more robust: the Recreational Active Vehicle.
The list of safety equipment included in the CX-5, even at its cheapest, is the yardstick from which all other cars, including models from premium brands, should be measured.
No surprises then that the Mazda CX-5 carries a full five-star ANCAP safety rating when it was first tested in 2017.
All models have a reverse camera along with front and rear parking sensors, but there is no semi-autonomous park assist.
Every RAV4 has seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver’s knee), and there are dual ISOFIX baby car seat attachments, and three top-tether hooks, too.
The article was first published
in Daily Nation