Is the Mazda CX-5 the best medium sized SUV?

Is the Mazda CX-5 the best medium sized SUV?

This week’s question comes from a reader looking to buy a great medium-sized SUV. Send your motoring queries to us at


I’m seeking my retirement vehicle. There’s no off-roading planned but I’m keen on an SUV’s height and size. I’m thinking between $50-60,000 for some luxury, ideally petrol and reasonable service costs. It’s mainly just for my wife and I, but we often carry two grandchildren so safety’s important. A Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed with ten-year warranty and fixed price servicing has huge appeal, but so do a Kia Sportage and VW Tiguan AllSpace. Which do you recommend?

John Thompson, email


I normally point medium SUV shoppers straight to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, but I see you have your favorites and I think we should aim for proper luxury in your retirement.

It’s a good budget so let’s spoil you.


The Outlander is the leader for peace-of-mind ownership. It has a ten-year warranty if you keep servicing with Mitsubishi, which you should at just $995 for five years/75,000km.

The biggest hurdle with the Outlander is styling: some love it, others run for cover. If you can abide its face of LED lights and chrome, it’s an impressive all-rounder.

Goodies include diamond-pattern leather power heated seats, a panoramic sunroof, digital dashboard, wireless phone charging and Bose audio.

There’s great cabin space but the interior design is bland, as is the drive from the lazy 135kW 2.5-litre petrol engine with CVT gearbox. Its 8.1L/100km fuel use isn’t great either. But the standard safety kit is excellent and there’s impressive space for the grandkids in the sliding middle row – our kids loved their own climate control and clever pockets for books and tablets. A great value family SUV.


The new Sportage is striking, spacious and feature-rich with deeply impressive driving comfort.

I know you’d prefer petrol, but this engine mated to Kia’s dual-clutch auto gearbox isn’t the best option.

Instead, pick the pricier diesel and you’ll enjoy the impressive torque surge and 6.3L/100km fuel economy. The GT-Line’s cabin is properly premium. A pair of curved 12.3-inch screens are Mercedes-Benz-like, there’s a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated leather/suede power seats, Harman Kardon audio, a power tailgate and an excellent active safety package.

Rear seat and boot space are generous, too. The seven-year warranty is great but five years of services are expensive at $2500.


Freshly facelifted, the Tiguan has long been a standout in the segment for style, performance and handling.

The Allspace is the pick if you covet driving reward. Your budget just affords the petrol 162TSI but I don’t think you need it. The 132TSI Life’s motor is zesty enough, it has a shorter waiting list and I’ve optioned the $5500 Luxury Package bringing heated and ventilated power Vienna leather seats and panoramic sunroof. Already included are a digital dash, auto tailgate and wireless connectivity.

The middle-row seats have ample space, the boot is cavernous and safety’s very strong. The warranty is five years and a service pack costs a hefty $2950 over that period, while the engine uses 8.9L/100km and demands 95 fuel. That makes it expensive to own.


I want you to be comfortable in your retirement, and from non-prestige brands, I reckon the Akera grade of Mazda’s CX-5 is a cut above. The Nappa leather and real wood door and dash trim feel like a gentlemen’s club, complemented by power heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, 10.25-inch monitor, sunroof, Bose audio, 360-degree monitor and power tailgate.

There’s lots of room for grandkids in the back – their seats are also heated – and safety’s strong. The 140kW petrol engine is ample and smooth, returning a fair 7.4L/100km, while the CX-5 is a sweet handling and comfy SUV. The boot’s not huge, the warranty’s only five years and service intervals are every 10,000km (that’s short), costing $2037 for five.


The Mitsubishi is the safe, pragmatic choice, but this is your retirement car and you only live once. The CX-5 wins for proper luxury, design class and greater driving joy.


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