The Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel could be the safest crossover out there

The Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel could be the safest crossover out there

It’s probably hands down one of the top five shapeliest crossovers in the market but there’s more to this unit than actually meets the eye.

The engine is terrific and appointments are top notch, but over and above that is something most dads, or moms for that matter, will truly appreciate, its driver-assist features.

I’ll get to that a little later but read on to learn all you need to know about the Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel.


The plain gray body color may not do it visual justice but despite this handicap, the CX-5 is still an absolute looker and as aforementioned, that’s not even its best feature.

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel side

Its biggest physical turn-on is the beautiful façade that’s really a sum of many gorgeous parts that include the wide grille with the black mesh, a thick chrome lower lip, the floating 3D-type logo, and finally the slim adaptive headlamps.

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel front

The one other eye-candy are the aluminum alloy two-tone 19s.

Unlike the more expressive nose, the only rear highlight are the tail lamps that use slim LEDs.

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel rear quarter

About the body, maybe it’s the color but it feels a lot more plain than the 3 and 6 sedans. I would have love a little bit more texture on the surface but the less-is-more approach does put the spotlight where it should be, on the façade and the wheels.


The cabin is quite opposite of the exterior. It's more expressive, from the door panels to the dashboard and the center stack. They’re all padded too, either with soft-touch materials or leather, which gives it a very premium feel.

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel driver's seat

Leather on the seats have developed a good-looking patina to it despite the fact that the vehicle only has close to 7,000 kilometers. It has aged very nicely, actually looking more expensive than it is.

Audio sounds so good from the 10-speaker Bose sound system and is controlled via a seven-inch touchscreen but again, this isn’t even its second best feature. That would be the head-up display (HUD).

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel cockpit

Primarily displaying the speedometer’s digital readout, a speed limit sign appears on the top right corner as soon as you pick up the pace. Working in conjunction with navigation system, it detects where you are and shows you the speed limit. The GPS and data are accurate everywhere — on SLEX and other highways (100kph speed limit) and even shows the 40kph ceiling on EDSA, which is correct as per RA 4136. That has to be updated though because the MMDA has already raised the speed limit, even for buses.


Powering it is a 2.2-liter diesel engine with the automaker’s proprietary Skyactiv technology, which gives it a couple of advantages. The first is very low compression at 14:1 (world’s lowest for a diesel engine according to Mazda), which allows it to have a better air-fuel mixture. The result is a reduction in the formation of soot and nitrogen oxides (pollutants), and an increase in fuel efficiency by 20%.

Lower compression means less pressure, which lets Mazda use aluminum cylinder blocks instead of cast iron. This shaves off some 25 kilograms in total engine weight.

Second is its two-stage turbocharger that gives it a more direct and suave response no matter the engine speed.

Ride and handling

It surprisingly isn’t torque-y for a diesel engine despite its 420Nm.

Acceleration is measured and smooth, even if you go heavy on the throttle. It may be because this weighs close to 1.7 tons by itself or is really just the demeanor of the vehicle.

Getting up to speed under normal throttle pressure takes a while but the 173hp does gently pick up the pace before too long.

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel rear seat

The output may seem small for a P2.35-million unit, but it doesn’t mean the performance falls short in the city and even on the highway.

Once it gets momentum, it feels more agile and moves a lot more gracefully. Steering feedback is also lighter compared to when you’re doing two- to three-point turns.


As the top trim, it comes with blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and lane keep assist (the last two are trim-exclusive).

Mazda CX-5 Sport Diesel roof

What I like about blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning is how its integrated in the HUD. The former shows a WiFi-looking icon on either side depending on where the rear vehicle is coming from, and the former displays two lines when you change lanes without signaling (the one you’re inadvertently crossing flashes and blinks). Lane departure warning is accompanied by a gentle nudge on the steering wheel as lane keep assist kicks in to say you’re drifting.

These three safety features packaged inside the HUD, for me, trumps all the others. It keeps your eyes up and forward, looking ahead, and it displays just the very basic yet relevant safety info you need while on the road. Driving doesn’t get any easier, and safer, than this.

I like the fuel-efficient diesel engine that returned an average of some 8.9 kilometers per liter, but it will come in a distant second on my list of favorites.

Of all the CX-5 Sport Diesel’s great features, driver-assist tech are its best qualities — unseen and rarely felt unless you’re inattentive of the road. That for me, is the one that gives it an edge over the rest.

Photos by Eric Tipan

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