The Mazda CX-5.
It's hard to choose from the exciting range of SUVs (sport utility vehicles) in the market nowadays.
Carsifu takes a closer look at seven rivals within the 2.0-litre petrol SUV segment.
They are the new Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 (GLS grade), Nissan X-Trail, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester (P high-grade), Hyundai Tucson (Elegance grade) and Kia Sportage (GT grade).
Regarding price tags, the Forester (P high-grade) is the most costly at RM161,908; followed by the CX-5 (GLS grade) at RM148,605; the CR-V at RM142,400; the Outlander at RM139,888; the Sportage GT at RM141,888 with insurance; the X-Trail at RM137,000; and the Tucson (Elegance grade) at RM126,888.
Powertrain and drive systems
Here, the Mazda CX-5 is the most powerful with 162hp/210Nm on tap and also, the most fuel economical with petrol consumption rated at 6.8 litres per 100km, thanks to Mazda's SkyActiv technologies.
The CX-5 also has fuel-saving i-Stop Idling technology which shuts down the engine when the car is stationary on congested roads or at traffic lights.
Both the CX-5 and the Nissan X-Trail use direct injection fuel systems which are higher cost, but provide better fuel economy and performance while the rest have electronic/multi-point fuel injection systems.
Regarding fuel consumption, the X-Trail claims the runner-up spot with 7.1 litres per 100km; followed by the CR-V and Outlander (both 7.3 litres); the two Korean SUVs (both 7.8 litres) and finally, the Forester (7.9 litres).
Also, among these SUVs, only Mazda and the two Korean marques are sticking with the torque-converter type automatic transmissions which can provide a sporty driving feel, while the rest are using the fuel-efficient but less exciting CVT (continuously variable transmission).
Another point worth noting is that the Outlander has 4WD (four-wheel drive) and the Forester has AWD (all-wheel drive) for better control on poor road conditions, while the rest have two-wheel drive systems.
Seating and luggage
Those who want to carry more people should look closely at the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander, which are seven-seaters.
In terms of cargo space with rear seats down, the Outlander leads with 1,608 litres; followed by the Forester (1,524 litres); the X-Trail (1,520 litres); the Tucson (1,478 litres); Sportage GT (1,455 litres); the CX-5 (1,342 litres) and CR-V (1,084 litres).
However, it's a different scenario with all seats up (or the third row down for the seven-seaters) as the X-Trail trumps here with 550 litres of cargo space; followed by the CR-V (522 litres); the Tucson (488 litres); the Sportage GT (466 litres) and the CX-5 (442 litres).
Cargo space data for the Outlander (third row down) and Forester (seats up) were not available.
Regarding ground clearance, the Forester (P high-grade) is the champion here at 220mm, followed by the X-Trail (210mm); the CR-V (198mm); the Outlander (190mm); the CX-5 (185mm); and the two Korean SUVs (both 172mm).
Now, although we don't think owners of these SUVs are likely to take them off-road, some motorists may like their cars to sit higher from the ground, especially as some urban roads are known to experience bad floods during a sudden heavy downpour.
In this sort of tricky situation, the SUVs you want to be in are the Forester, X-Trail, CR-V and the Outlander.
This is where the Tucson (Elegance grade), being the lowest priced at RM126,888 - also has the least exciting package.
It has leather seats, a DVD/MP3/USB/CD touchscreen infotainment system, a reverse camera, and manual air-conditioning.
There are no powered seats, no rear air-conditioning vents, no push-start ignition, no automatic headlamps, and not even powered wing mirrors.
As for the rest of the pack, it's a tough fight and we are hard-pressed to pick a winner.
Standard features on the other SUVs include automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, keyless entry and push-start ignition.
Now, both the Outlander and X-Trail offer fabric seats, while the rest have leather upholstery.
Like the Tucson (Elegance grade), the Outlander doesn't have powered seats or rear air-conditioning vents.
An interesting technology here in the CX-5 is Mazda's G-Vectoring Control (GVC) which provides improved cornering control.
According to Mazda, the benefits of GVC are more precise steering, improved handling, better passenger comfort, and less fatigue for the driver.
Here, the CX-5 is the most outstanding as it has Adaptive Front Lighting (AFS), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Smart City Brake Support (front only).
AFS headlights are designed to help you see around corners at night. As the driver turns into a corner, the headlights pivot up to 15 degrees in the direction of the turn, improving visibility and allowing driver to spot potential hazards and dangers ahead.
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) helps detect and alert when objects are in your left and right blind spots by activating a door mirror mounted warning light on the relevant side of the vehicle. If you then indicate prior to turning, the warning lights flashes with an audible alert bleep.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) will alert driver when it detects vehicles approaching from either side during reverse operation.
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) monitors the vehicle in front or rear to access the likelihood of a collision. If a high risk is detected it issues visual and audio warnings, and primes the brakes for a faster response. If the driver doesn’t brake, SCBS brakes automatically.
Meanwhile, we have noted previously that we really like the X-Trail's Around View Monitor which uses a four-camera system and makes it so much easier to park a big car like the X-Trail effortlessly, without worrying about knocking into something.
When parking the X-Trail, the centre display screen gives you both a rear and 360-degree bird's-eye view of the vehicle's surroundings.
Browse the comparison chart (click this link to expand chart)
CarSifu Says: Mazda CX-5 the most attractive
The latest entry in this 2.0-litre petrol SUV segment is the Mazda CX-5, and we think that it's also the most attractive in terms of design, technologies, powertrain and overall packaging.
However, as noted earlier, the CX-5 is a tad pricey, and is not the best when it comes to cargo space.
The Honda CR-V is another outstanding SUV, and has ample cargo space with the seats up, although it has the least amount of cargo room with all seats down.
Except for the Tucson (Elegance grade), the rest of the pack also make for compelling propositions in terms of packaging, design and price.
Do note that automakers are offering great deals; so those interested in buying an SUV would do well to head directly to the car showrooms to find out more about the promotions.
You would likely be very tempted by some of the amazing deals out there.
Also, do check out the after-sales package this impacts the cost of ownership. Here, the X-Trail shines with a 7-year unlimited mileage warranty.
The Mazda CX-5 (GLS grade) also has an attractive 3-year or 60,000km (whichever is first) free maintenance package.
Honda Malaysia also offers a notable free labour service up to 5 times in 5 years or 100,000km (whichever is first).
The Forester (P high-grade) also has a 5-year free labour service package.