Most Zimbabwean trends spring out of nowhere. Before you know it, everyone around you will have caught on to the trend. This time around its the first generation Mazda CX-5 that has invaded the whole of Harare. New laws that prohibit the purchase of cars that are more than 10 years old have limited peoples options. With that in mind, I wondered why most people have taken up the first gen CX-5, why are they now such a common sight? there must be a decent explanation right?

Buying Price

Let us start with the price, it is what most Zimbabweans consider first and most important. At USD15 -17 000 the CX-5 is around USD2 – 3 000 cheaper than competitors like the Toyota Rav4, Nissan X-Trail or Honda CRV. The Nissan X-trail comes closest in price but it is still marginally more expensive. So, the CX-5 saves the average buyer a good chunk that might come in handy when it comes to running costs. If you thoroughly comb through the market, you can find one at USD13 500.

Exterior

The CX-5 shines the most when it comes to the exterior looks, it might be the best looking in-class. The CX-5 is a handsome little crossover and it’s perfectly sized for a city vehicle. Having a performance version like a CX-5 MPS/Speed with an even sportier appearance would not have beeen a bad idea. If only Mazda had thought of it. Regardless of the performance the CX-5 just manages to look sporty and exciting. Image sells and it is no wonder that there are dozens of these CX-5s rocking about town.

Interior

The creativity on the outside of the CX-5 is somehow missing on the inside. There is nothing special about the interior of this car, it really feels like a cheaper Japanese crossover as the price suggests. The material choices reflect the price point of the CX-5, but it meets reasonable modern-day standards. The Instrument cluster is basic and so is the miniscule infotainment screen. Most of the interior is made up of plastic with a few leather inserts here and there.

There are three dials for climate control in the middle of the center console and a small storage cubby at the lower end. The CX-5 has cruise control, electric windows, center locking doors, traction & stability control, abs, front and side airbags, optional leather seats and the list goes on. As standard the CX-5 is gracefully equipped and is pretty much gimmick free meaning fewer things can go wrong over the ownership process.

Running costs

The Mazda CX-5 is simple to maintain because it was designed with minimum complexity from the get-go. For the sake of the CX-5 let us assume that it was by design and not pure chance. The engines are generally reliable and don’t usually incur massive repair costs. The suspension is a McPherson strut in the front and multi-link in the rear meaning the costs of repairing the suspension aren’t breaking the bank.The CX-5 sold over 260 000 units every year on average from 2013 until 2016, that makes part prices low, and they are easily available.

Engines & Transmission

The first gen CX-5 came with two petrol and one diesel engine. For our market, the petrol engine is a 2-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine which makes 121 KW and 210 NM while returning 11 L/100 km. The one most Zimbabweans want is the 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine which makes 110 KW and 380 NM. The diesel has more torque and delivers better fuel economy at 5L/100km. I assume the diesel will become the more popular choice for most buyers as fuel costs have been ramped up. There are two transmission options, a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic with both front wheel drive & all-wheel drive.

Verdict

The CX-5 is just a jacked-up Mazda 3/6 and there is absolutely no shame in saying that. With the adverse road conditions, we see all-around the city the CX-5 makes perfect sense. It does come in with a few compromises in its overall quality on the interior side of things but every on every other facet it does justice to its crossover roots. In conclusion, the CX-5s price point is hard to beat and price is the strongest determining factor for most Zimbabweans that is why they are trending.

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