By Asian Journal Auto Editor 

If you are in the market for a stylish sports orientated compact CUV  you could do a lot worse than the 2021 Mazda CX- 5.With its  elegantly sporty styling inside and out, premium cabin design and materials it is a few notches up from its competitors in this class- particularly when it comes to driving  dynamics and performance .

To celebrate Mazda’s 100th Year anniversary, the company have released a special version of the CX-5.  The snowflake  white Anniversary Edition we tested is set off on the inside by a cool looking Garnet Red Nappa leather seat upholstery, white leather-look center console and door panels, red floor carpets with 100th Anniversary badging, decorative panels on the front and rear door panels, premium cross stitching detail on steering wheel, and black interior roof lining. It looks fabulous, so much better than the wholly the dark black interiors found on Most SUVs.  On the outside, there is a commemorative badge, and wheel centre caps featuring 100th Anniversary logos. By the way you also get a neat Mazda Key fob with the 100th Year anniversary logo. The Anniversary Edition is purely a cosmetic upgrade – no engine or transmission changes.

What does change for 2021 is the new infotainment interface with a larger 10.25-inch display, higher resolution graphics, updated menus and revamped controls on the center console. Engine choices include a naturally aspirated SKYACTIVE 2.5-liter inline-four with 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque — or an optional  SKYACTIVE  2.5-liter turbocharged  cylinder unit producing 227 hp and 310 lb-ft  A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. Fuel economy is rated at City: 10.8 (L/100 km) Highway: 8.7.

We tested a 100th Year anniversary  CX-5 that came fully loaded with the  SKYACTIV-G 2.5 Turbo, SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode and Drive Selection switch, paddle shifters, G-Vectoring Control Plus, i-ACTIV AWD, Off-Road Traction Assist, and 19″ gunmetal alloy wheels.

Standard on every 2021 CX-5 are forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems. Adaptive cruise control is also included. Along with: automatic reverse braking and a driver inattention warning system. Safety equipment included i-ACTIVSENSE safety technology, front and rear parking sensors, wide-angle rearview camera, and LED headlights with lighting signature.

Interior equipment included: 8-inch colour touchscreen display with Mazda ports, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (outboard), heated steering wheel, power glass moonroof, automatic dual-zone climate control, advanced keyless entry (proximity and ignition). Other nice features included; windshield-projected Active Driving Display, Bose® premium audio system with 10-speakers, SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link® services, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Pricing for the 2021 Mazda CX-5 starts at MSRP $43,550. Freight & PDE at $1950, and our tester came all in at $45,700

The CX-5 Anniversary has a rather eye catching cabin with it nice garnet red leather Nappa seats set off by contrasting French stitching and white contrast door panel inserts and center console cover. The front seats are roomy with goof ergonomics and range of adjustment. The new Mazda’s tech interface, is nicely improved and quicker to use. The rear cabin is smallish, and not too cramped. The CX-5 has 30.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat with the second row of seats down and there’s a maximum of 59.6 cubic feet of space available.

On the road, the twin sequential dual turbochargers ensure there is plenty of acceleration and a wide power band of usable torque, especially in the mid – range. There is wonderfully linear, quick and crisp acceleration with minimal turbo lag.  Occupants are also well insulated from rough rods thanks to the well- sorted suspension, with little lateral body roll. Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control system also adds refinement to the performance with sharpened handling adding some downforce on the front tires during cornering, keeping understeer under manners. The all-wheel-drive system offer superb grip, by the way, traction control is standard along with Dynamics Stability Control.  The CX-5, like all Mazda vehicles offers a satisfying sporty performance. The throttle response is impressively quick and adds a note of exuberance to the driving experience when bursting through bends or in the cut and thrust of highway overtaking. Handling is good. Not much too complain about, room in the CX-5 is about average in this segment, and the six-speed automatic transmission errs more to performance than fuel economy. Overall the CX-5 is a competitive CUV and has great interior luxury and offers excellent features.  Well worth considering.

Pricing for the 2021 Mazda CX-5 starts at MSRP $43,550. Our tester came all in at $45,700 with PDE and destination.

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