2024 Mazda CX-5 2.2D High Facelift Review: Great Diesel, Old Car

While the diesel is probably worth buying with the Mazda CX-5, this facelift probably is not.

Refer review of 2021 Mazda CX-5

…is really all I would like to say when it comes to writing this review of this recently-facelifted Mazda CX-5. Such is because if being entirely blunt, the updates that have been made to this second revision of this Japanese crossover are to be so minor that likely only the biggest of Mazda nerds would notice what is new with it. 

Seriously, if the list of notable changes that Mazda themselves have got to highlight goes down to the revised ‘CX-5’ badging on the boot for this fully designated update, it is quite the clear sign already for the Japanese automaker to be clutching at straws in bigging up this particular revision.  

Perhaps unknowingly cunning of Mazda however, they had handed the keys of a 2.2D High example for the purposes of this review. And since there hasn’t actually been a full Automacha review on the diesel-powered variant of the CX-5 yet, let’s therefore spend some time then in discussing this oil-burner that lives under its hood.   

The Diesel Dilemma 

Now in cutting cut right to the chase here too, this 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D turbodiesel four cylinder is perhaps the best engine pairing that could be had with the CX-5. Because thanks to its deep well of low end torque, this oil-burner makes this SUV that incredibly relaxing to drive. 

Just the barest tickling of its throttle is already sufficient for reasonable forward motion, with this in turn meaning that this diesel CX-5 can effortlessly waft along with the engine barely ticking over as well. What more is that thanks to this lump of grunt at the low end, the slightly jerky six-speed automatic transmission that was my gripe with the petrol version is somehow now a non-concern with this oil-burning variant now. 

And while on the topic of its petrol counterpart, while the 2.5T may still be the one that will satisfy those who want a properly hot CX-5, this turbodiesel nevertheless is to be capable in delivering more than a decent bit of zoom-zoom too. Bury one’s foot to the carpet and this turbodiesel will actually gather pace at a more than reasonable rate, with it to also be accompanied by a rather acoustically-pleasant almost lumpy American V8 burble to it. 

Though upon mention of its engine note, the star quality of this Mazda turbodiesel is instead perhaps the lack thereof under normal circumstances. Thanks to a rather well-insulated cabin that does a good job in keeping the road and wind noise to a minimum too, the loudest thing heard while just cruising in the CX-5 would actually be the sound coming from its more-than-decent sound system. 

Having said that, it would be remissed to not have noted that this boosted oil-burner does still betray its agricultural roots on occasion. At idle and under moderate load especially, there is unfortunately no escaping the distinct canal boat clatter, but it is still to nevertheless be significantly more muted than what one might experience in a typical turbodiesel. 

The only concern therefore with what is a rather fine engine is more to do with economics than anything technical, as the (supposed) imminent removal of diesel subsidies will likely see the cost benefit of diesel ownership be suddenly flipped on its head. Something to keep in mind there, particularly after knowing that my time with it at least only saw a not-particularly impressive fuel consumption average of 11.5 km/l according to the computer in nearly 200 km of mixed driving. 

The Driving Review Bit

As for rest of the driving experience with this CX-5 meanwhile, this Mazda SUV does somewhat channel its inner MX-5 by having decent enough steering that is direct enough and weighty enough to provide the confidence for some zoom-zoom action when the mood hits. 

That zoom-zoom capability is unfortunately halted, or more precisely not, by brakes that are amazingly soft. A characteristic which while good for making really gentle stops, is unfortunately not the best when needing to confidently scrub speed in bringing this behemoth to a halt.  

Moreover, the zoom-zoom side of the CX-5 is also let down somewhat by equally soft and wallowy suspension, which caps the amount that one dares push this high-riding vehicle. Rather surprisingly too, this supposedly soft suspension does somehow still translate to a stiffer than expected ride over the rougher bits of KL roads. 

Though while on the topic of city driving, the CX-5 still does make for an admirable city-slicker. This is thanks in large part by it still offering a reasonably high-up seating position for a commanding view out, with it supported too by a rather tight turning radius that enhances its manoeuvrability.   

Meet The New CX-5, Much Like The Old CX-5

Turning towards discussing the rest of the car now, and as alluded to prior, this particular update is (to put it bluntly) one that most buyers might want to seriously consider taking the inevitable discounts that are to be offered on the pre-facelift versions. Such is not just because of the lack of any tangible changes that have been made with this facelift, but is more due to a case of what Mazda giveth with one hand, it taketh away with the other. 

A good example of this balance of positivity and negativity in action is to be found with its new ventilated seats, which is undoubtably a rather neat feature added to the higher-end variants on this facelifted CX-5. What is however not so nice is that the cold air that is blown up one’s arse comes from some surprisingly loud blowers, which on more than one occasion left me to wonder if any of the windows were left ajar. 

Similarly, the addition of a wireless charger with this update does bring the kit list of this facelifted CX-5 up to date somewhat. Though the position of it that is slanted at such an angle in cubby right beneath the dash does see for any phone placed on it slide off the pad when the driver hits the smallest of bumps on the road, or even so much as look at the brake pedal.  

Continuing on the theme of reasonably good and bad points within too are for the rather comfortable seats to be balanced out by the overall cabin size that is smaller than most of its other rivals. And while this has long been noted as a problem plaguing this iteration of CX-5 for a while now, what has not however been mentioned much is for there to also not be much space for anyone’s left leg in the driver’s footwell, with the placement of the footrest seeing for it to continually rub against the centre console.  

Moving on to the macro aspect of the CX-5’s interior, its plushly-padded dash and door tops does give it the impression of premium-ness within. Expectedly from Mazda too, the material quality as well as fit and finish are decently high as well. 

Just going off again on a minor whinge here however, it would have been nice if this SUV gained the little premium touches from its smaller Mazda3 sibling, like the pulsing indicator icon and auto headlight indicator on the headlight stalk. That is as these small add-ons might have gone some way in excusing the 2010s-era infotainment tech that Mazda comes with the CX-5 in 2024. 

And no, this isn’t just a case where Mazda is still using 2010s era graphics for its infotainment system (which it still does, by the way), as more egregiously, the CX-5’s 8-inch central touchscreen itself is of such a low resolution that it is akin to sticking a first-generation iPad mini (launched in 2012) atop its dash. Worst of all though on this front is for the surround view camera to also be of an equally low resolution too, which in turn means it ends up being more hindrance than help when it is fulfilling its primary goal of assisting in parking.  

Now being entirely fair to the CX-5 and its tech here, credit must be given to its rather decent adaptive cruise that is more than adept in leaving a reasonably small gap in stop start traffic. Mazda’s knob-based primary infotainment control method continues to also be supremely intuitive to use, but it is somewhat curious that with the infotainment screen being touchscreen-capable as well, the scroll wheel was the only way to interact with Android Auto.


So in summarising the facelifted CX-5, this Mazda still remains a perfectly competent car… that is just unfortunately starting to show its age. And this slightly outdated feel is to be made even more so when considering that it is up against the box-fresh all-new CR-V. So while it is still a car worth considering for anyone in the market for a mid-sized SUV, it is also equally true that the CX-50 can’t come soon enough. 

And rather cheekily too regarding whether or not this facelift is actually worth it, my neighbour, who had just bought the prior pre-facelift version of this very same car, thought I got the same good deal he had too with his recent purchase. That about says it all, doesn’t it?

Just so everyone is clear, the facelifted CX-5 is on the left. And yes, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference either.

Odds & Ends

  • The steering wheel controls for the audio settings still work when only the ignition is on. 
  • Waze only comes from the drivers side, which is a sensible move considering only the driver needs to know the direction. 
  • The Mazda CX-5 comes fitted with Toyo regular tyres, but a Michelin space saver spare. 

Mazda CX-5 2.2D High 2WD Facelift Technical Specifications

Engine: SKYACTIV-D DOHC 16-Valve 4 Cylinder 

Capacity: 2,191 cc

Gearbox: SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6 speed automatic with manual shift mode

Max Power: 188 PS @ 4,500 rpm

Max Torque: 450 Nm @ 2,000 rpm

Price: RM 179,000.00

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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