2022 Mazda CX-5 Akera v Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer comparison

A recent update to the perennially popular Mazda CX-5 gives us a good reason to see how it measures up against the newest kid in class, the Mitsubishi Outlander.

Overview

What happens when the immovable object meets the unstoppable force?

In this instance, the unstoppable force is the 2022 Mazda CX-5, a mid-size SUV that keeps delivering month after month, year after year for Australian SUV buyers, and therefore for Mazda Australia. But, while Mazda must love the fact that its SUV hits the sweet spot for buyers, it must be sick of always coming second in the sales race to the Toyota RAV4.

The immovable object here is the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, or more correctly the Outlander’s ‘market appeal’. This all-new Outlander that arrived in late 2021 replaced a model that had been on sale since Noah was shopping for a tow car. Despite its age, thousands of Australian shoppers bought it every year, and the new car has picked up exactly where the old one left off.

So, what happens when we throw the updated Mazda CX-5 against the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander? Does Mazda’s nip and tuck trump Mitsubishi’s clean sheet?

Let’s find out.

Introduction

Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 is seemingly ubiquitous on Australian roads. And for good reason. Since the nameplate first launched in 2012, Mazda has sold over 235,000 of the stylish mid-size SUV, cementing its place as the segment leader for the intervening 10 years, including serving time as Australia’s most popular medium SUV for seven consecutive years from 2013 to 2019.

The second-generation Mazda CX-5 lobbed locally in 2018, and to keep things fresh, Mazda has given its number-one-selling vehicle in Australia a midlife update.

Visually, the biggest noticeable changes occur out front with a new 3D textured grille replacing the more traditional mesh of the outgoing model. It’s enhanced by a bolder ‘front wing’ that extends further from the bonnet than previously. The head- and tail-lights have also received a makeover.

The design changes are subtle, but do enough to distinguish MY22 CX-5s from their forebears, the new three-dimension grille design the most obvious difference.

The updated CX-5 range comprises six variants including an all-new Touring Active model across four engine choices, front- or all-wheel drive drivetrains, and with either manual or automatic transmissions.

Prices have increased by around $1000 and $1300, while the availability of a diesel engine has been cut back bringing the price of entry into the 2.2-litre diesel unit from $42,490 before on-road costs for a 2021 Maxx Sport, to $45,680 for the new 2022 Touring Active variant.

But, those price increases come with some extra goodies as standard. The entire range, including the entry-level CX-5 Maxx, scores a head-up display, while some higher grades are now fitted with adaptive LED headlights (Akera), body-coloured cladding (Akera), wireless phone charging (Touring and up), and a hands-free powered tailgate (GT SP and up).

The newly added Touring Active variant brings a distinctive body kit with silver design elements, as well as a splash of lime green accents inside and out.

Topping out the range are the CX-5 GT SP and Akera variants that feature the more powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, good for 170kW and 420Nm pushed to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic.

Additionally, the Akera can be had with the same 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre diesel found in the Touring Active. That’s paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic sending drive to all four wheels.

For a full breakdown of pricing and specs for each variant, check out our comprehensive guide here.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Having a pre-teen daughter is a great way of staying in touch with modern trends, music and, most importantly, language. In the past few months, I have grown beyond fleek and embraced yeet. I know what is extra, who an eshay is, and crucially, I know when to call out a positively lit glow-up.

I refer, of course, to the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer, the range-topping variant of the triple-diamond’s completely overhauled family hauler. It’s the first all-new Outlander in a decade and, I’ll give you the hot tea, compared to the old car this one is turnt.

And with that, I’ll return to a regular mid-40s vernacular.

Priced from $50,990 before options and on-road costs, the Exceed Tourer is probably not where most buyers will arrive in the range (looking at you $41,490 Aspire FWD – read the price and spec details of the full Outlander range here), but it’s a great showcase of everything that Mitsubishi has thrown at the new Outlander to make the seven-seater live its best life.

From any angle, the new Outlander makes a bold statement. An award-winning one at that.

What originally started as the GT-PHEV motorshow concept in 2016 has evolved into a particularly striking production car.

High-mount LED running lamps and a stacked-trio of LED main and high beams are wrapped in a bulbous nose by Mitsubishi’s signature ‘Dynamic Shield’ chrome trim.

The side profile manages to make the 20-inch wheels look perfectly scaled, with clever use of black trim under the flattened arches. Not something every car can pull off.

The Exceed Tourer includes a contrasting coloured roof that works well in White Diamond metallic with black, but perhaps less so in Black Diamond with Bronze. These are your only two choices on the Tourer, whereas the ‘regular’ Exceed can be had in seven single-tone colours (black, blue, grey, red, silver, pearl white and flat white).

But like we said, while this may be a range-topper, it won’t be the volume car.

Key details 2022 Mazda CX-5 Akera 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer
Price (MSRP) $53,180 plus on-road costs $50,990 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Eternal Blue Mica White Diamond with Black Mica roof
Options None None
Price as tested $52,180 plus on-road costs $50,990 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $58,481 (Melbourne) $54,990 (National offer)

Inside

Mazda CX-5

It’s familiar territory inside the refreshed Mazda CX-5, which like the exterior has received only a minor visible update. And that’s no bad thing, the CX-5 always presenting as comfortable.

We sampled just two variants at launch – GT SP and Akera – so our focus will be solely on those two models.

The range-topping Akera looks and feels plush, with nappa leather seating the highlight. The seats are now more comfortable, according to Mazda, which have undergone a redesign offering greater support and stability. That’s hard to feel by the seat of the pants, although we did note better under-thigh support and a more comfortable feeling overall after a couple of hours behind the wheel.

Equipment highlights include 10-way power adjustable seats, seat heating and cooling, a heated steering wheel, and a 10-25-inch colour infotainment screen, not touch. To make inputs, Mazda’s familiar rotary dial in the centre console is your friend.

Storage options include a couple of cupholders, a large central storage bin, a smartphone-sized tray that doubles as a wireless charging pad, as well as bottle holders in the door pockets.

Second-row customers will find it spacious enough, while the seats remain supportive and comfortable. A flip-down armrest hides a pair of cupholders and a USB plug. The seatbacks recline, too, up to 28 degrees according to Mazda, for a more relaxing experience in the second row. Exclusive to the Akera variant, the outboard pews in the second row feature seat heating, which is great for those chilly winter mornings.

The back seats fold down in 40:20:40 fashion to free up cargo space. With the second row in use by humans, the boot measures in at 438L, expanding to 1340L with the second row stowed away. That can be enhanced ever so slightly by lowering the cargo floor down a notch.

That same floor can be flipped, too, the carpeted side augmented by a more durable material ideal for muddy shoes and equipment. Handy.

It’s a similar tale inside the GT SP, the key differences coming in seat trim – black leather with contrast red stitching – flashes of red accents, while the seats themselves feature heating only, losing the cooling from the top-spec Akera.

Interestingly, the contrast red stitching found on the seats, steering wheel, gear lever and lower door cards doesn’t extend to the top of the doors or the dashboard, which are stitched in colour-matched dark grey/black. Odd.

Still, overall cabin ambience is good, with plenty of yielding surfaces and a general feeling of solidity. Mazda has proven over the years it screws together a decent car, and this one is no exception.

But, as nice as it feels inside, there’s no question the cabin is starting to look a little dated. The interior design game has moved on dramatically over the last few years, and this refresh hasn’t gone far enough to keep up.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Like the contrast roof on the outside, the Tourer is the only variant in the Outlander line-up to feature the two-tone ‘saddle tan’ (orange) interior option. Like the roof, it looks great, but is probably not worth the extra $2200 (Exceed at $48,490, Exceed Tourer at $50,990 both before on-road costs).

You get massage seats, too, which are nice, but also fall into the ‘not worth $2K’ bucket.

This aside, it’s a really well-presented interior, even with orange bits. The materials are high-quality and the finish is top-notch. I was a particular fan of the padded trim pieces on the top of the doors.

Ergonomics are good and basic functions like climate control are easy to use, plus this even has a shortcut to rear temperature controls on the main interface, which if you’ve dealt with a number of ‘I’m cold’ and ‘I’m hot’ complaints within a short period of time is a very handy inclusion.

The quilted-pattern seats are lovely and both supportive and comfortable. They are heated (from Aspire upward) and powered and have multiple memory settings (on Exceed upward).

One of the Outlander’s strong marketing points, the seven-seat layout available across the range (optional on ES, standard on LS and above), is also the reason behind one of its key compromises, second-row space.

It’s comfortable back there, and the reclining backrests are good, but legroom isn’t brilliant for adults or taller teens. Plus, the central armrest is actually the middle seatback, which to be level and comfortable requires the headrest to be extended.

To need this amount of deployment finesse in a car where children are going to put poorly sealed drinks in a (likely) angled cupholder isn’t great.

And the third row? Yeah, kids-only back there and only for short trips, plus there’s very limited cargo room (163L) when all seven pews are in place. They are ‘sometimes’ seats, after all. Something that you are reminded of each time you need to unfold and then assemble the head restraints for use.

The flip-fold access through the back doors is good, though.

When using the Outlander as a five-seater, the 478L boot is generous and expands to 1461L with all rows folded flat. It’s like this that it works best, so treat the third row as a bonus rather than a function and you’ll be fine.

2022 Mazda CX-5 Akera 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer
Seats Five Seven
Boot volume 438L to second row
1340L to first row
163L to third row
478L to second row
1461L to first row
Length 4575mm 4710mm
Width 1845mm 1862mm
Height 1675mm 1745mm
Wheelbase 2700mm 2706mm

Infotainment and Connectivity

Mazda CX-5

Depending on the variant, the CX-5 comes with either an 8.0-inch or 10.25-inch infotainment screen. The 8.0-inch iterations are part-time touchscreens, only responding to touch inputs while stationary, Mazda’s familiar rotary dialler doing the heavy lifting while on the move.

In the GT SP and Akera grades, the 10.25-inch screen remains resolutely not-touch, the rotary dialler the only means of inputting commands into the Mazda Connect operating system.

Standard tech inclusions run to satellite navigation (for every variant bar the entry-level Maxx), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, the full suite (AM/FM/DAB+) of radio bandwidths, and in the upper peaks of the CX-5 range (GT SP and Akera) a premium 10-speaker Bose sound system.

We used Mazda’s inbuilt satellite navigation to traverse the Adelaide hills at launch and came away impressed with its functionality, at once quick to respond and with accurate map detail.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fiddly to use with Mazda’s rotary dialler, which is counter-intuitive to having the technology in the first place.

The climate-control command centre features a swathe of switches and dials; a pleasing inclusion in an age where some manufacturers are increasingly burying those same controls within menus and sub-menus within the infotainment system.

And every CX-5 variants now comes equipped with a crystal-clear head-up display that shows vital driving information as well as navigation and speed sign recognition.

A new 7.0-inch digital display nestled inside the instrument cluster also displays various trip and vehicle data.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Being a modern platform, the Outlander offers plenty of new-generation goodies like USB-A and USB-C ports, a wireless charge pad and a 360-degree parking camera.

The 9.0-inch touchscreen media system supports wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, includes satellite navigation and DAB digital radio. It’s fine, and does all you need, but feels a bit ‘meh’ in contrast with the other elements of the interior. The interface isn’t all that slick, the display is not super sharp, the maps not particularly detailed.

It’s a weird gripe, sure, but with obvious attention and care taken to other touchpoints and switchgear around the cabin, the generic ‘off the Mitsubishi shelf’ media system feels a bit ordinary.

The 10-speaker Bose Premium sound system is good, though.

If the media system is boring, however, then the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is anything but. All the key information is presented in rich colour, but you can change the display to show as wacky rolling drum speedo and tacho tumblers that look like 1990s fantasy-adventure CGI elements. It’s just a bit… Strange. I’m not a huge fan.

The menu structure is a bit convoluted, too, which is not something that impacts day-to-day driving, but is just something else that feels a bit less premium than other parts of the car.

One other strange thing is that the touch-unlock button on the door doesn’t immediately inform the alarm system status. On a number of occasions, we managed to have the siren scream away when opening the door.

This didn’t happen using remote unlock from the keyfob, nor if you let the car think about being unlocked for a second or two before pulling the handle.


Safety and Technology

Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 range was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating back in 2017 at the launch of this second generation. With no structural changes, ANCAP’s safety score carries over to this refreshed model.

The safety regulatory body scored the CX-5 95 per cent for adult occupant protection, 80 per cent for child occupant, and 78 per cent for pedestrian protection.

The Mazda CX-5 range is fitted with a host of active safety technology including high- and low-speed autonomous emergency braking. It’s been enhanced for this update, according to Mazda, with the addition of night-time pedestrian detection. Lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, speed sign recognition, and a driver attention monitor are standard across the range, as are rear parking sensors.

The entry-level CX-5 Maxx misses out on front parking sensors, however, that technology only available from Maxx Sport and up. A rear-view camera is also standard across the range, with only the top-spec Akera grade scoring a 360-degree view camera.

A suite of six airbags covers both rows of occupants, although the newer centre airbag – designed to mitigate head clashes between occupants in the event of a collision – that is starting to make an appearance in today’s cars is absent.

Mitsubishi Outlander

As you would expect, there is a host of driver assistance and safety equipment on board, with systems like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist standard across the range.

Our Exceed Tourer also includes rear cross-traffic alert and braking (on LS grade up), and a 360-degree camera and head-up display (Aspire grade up) to provide a comprehensive and premium selection of technology.

It all works well, too, with the lane-departure system quite passive in its operation, which we tend to prefer. The information in the head-up display is clear and useful too.

The Outlander scores a five-star ANCAP rating and was tested this year (2022), meaning it is at the peak of the current testing criteria.

At a glance 2022 Mazda CX-5 Akera 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer
ANCAP rating & year tested Five stars (tested 2017) Five stars (tested 2022)
Safety report ANCAP report ANCAP report

Value for Money

Mazda CX-5

Despite the price rise, the Mazda CX-5 continues to represent decent value in a crowded segment. With a price range spanning from a low of circa $32K to a high of around $54K, the CX-5 sits smack bang in the middle of fight in the medium SUV segment where that spread will get you into any number of similarly specified mid-size SUVs.

Interestingly, Mazda is anticipating almost half of CX-5 buyers are likely to plump for the two top-spec grades – GT SP (22 per cent) and Akera (23 per cent) – with the nicely equipped and not-quite-bottom-rung Maxx Sport likely to garner 32 per cent of CX-5 business. Further, Mazda reckons only nine per cent of buyers will opt for the entry-level Maxx.

No matter the grade, Mazda covers the CX-5 with its standard five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. But, Mazda’s suggested servicing schedule runs to a skinny 12 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. That distance limit is below par compared against its rivals where 15,000km is the norm. And that means if you do a lot of driving, your CX-5 will spend more time at the workshop.

Servicing costs vary by variant, but expect to pay between around $350 to $380 per visit to the dealership for scheduled maintenance, with additional ‘extra interval’ items like brake fluid and air filters priced on top of the basic capped-price program.

Similarly, claimed fuel consumption varies depending on drivetrain – from 6.9L/100km for the 2.0-litre petrol to 8.2L/100km for 2.5-litre turbo variants. Mazda says the 2.2-litre diesel will use 5.7L/100km of the oily stuff.

Our launch loops, spent exclusivity in the GT SP and Akera variants, returned an indicated circa 11.0L/100km on the combined cycle. That’s a fair bit over Mazda’s claim, and something we’ve experienced with previous generations as well. Still, the CX-5 is happy to sip 91-octane regular unleaded and is E10-capable too.

Front-wheel-drive models feature a 56L fuel tank, while all-wheel-drive models score extra capacity with their fuel tanks measuring in at 58L.

Mitsubishi Outlander

This has always been a strong point of Mitsubishi vehicles, and the new Outlander is no exception. As noted, the Tourer isn’t the postcard for value in the range, but the Aspire at $41,490 for front-wheel drive, or $43,999 as an all-wheel drive (both before on-road costs), is the real sweet spot.

Keep an eye on Mitsubishi’s offers page, too, as drive-away deals are usually easy to spot, and right now the Outlander range has reasonable no-surprises drive-away deals, like this Exceed Tourer at $54,990 drive-away.

Mitsubishi offers a 10-year warranty if you maintain the dealer service schedule, which of its own is also a reasonably strong value proposition. Service outside of the dealer network (or for some fleet customers) and the warranty reverts to five years or 100,000km.

You get 10 years of transparent costs here, too, with the first three coming in at $597 and five at $995 (just $199 per year). Years six and eight will run $499 and the tenth service is a major at $799, but given your car is warranted the entire time, this feels like excellent value.

At a glance 2022 Mazda CX-5 Akera 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer
Warranty Five years, unlimited km Five years, 100,000km (up to 10 years, 200,000km if service conditions are met)
Service intervals 12 months or 10,000km 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1119 (3 years), $1875 (5 years) $597 (3 years), $995 (5 years)
Fuel cons. (claimed) 8.1L/100km 8.1L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 11.0L/100km 10.2L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane Regular Unleaded 91-octane Regular Unleaded
Fuel tank size 58L 55L

Driving

Mazda CX-5

The 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine found in Akera and GT SP models is arguably the pick of the bunch. With its decent outputs of 170kW and a sizeable 420Nm on tap, the CX-5, certainly at this upper end of the range, never feels underdone.

We spent the bulk of our time at the local launch behind the wheel of the top-spec Akera, so our road impressions will focus on that specific model. And they are good.

The turbo-four is nicely mated with a six-speed automatic transmission sending drive to all four wheels. While six cogs might seem a little dated in this day and age where eight- and sometimes even 10-speed autos are increasingly the norm, the auto under the skin of the Mazda continues to offer purposeful performance. Its smooth changes are combined with an intuitive nous of when to shift gears, making for a pleasant time behind the wheel.

The 2.5-litre turbo four is perky, too, and with a decent dollop of 420Nm available from down low in the rev band (2000rpm), there’s plenty of shove when required.

Power delivery is at once smooth and predictable, with enough urgency from standstill without being pushy. Out on the freeway, the CX-5 settles into an easy lope, made all the more pleasant by the extra work Mazda has put into improving sound deadening.

Mazda has long had a reputation for its less than ideal levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) creeping into the cabin. But with the update, the Japanese brand has made some decent inroads into mitigating the in-cabin experience.

A new headliner is said to improve “low frequency sound absorption by 10 per cent”, and improved body rigidity has also gone some way to improving NVH levels. And it’s immediately apparent from behind the wheel, the cabin a much quieter place to be than previously. Kudos.

New to this update is the introduction of what Mazda is calling Mi-Drive (Mazda Intelligent Drive) that offers four driving modes – Normal, Sport, Off-Road and Towing. Normal is as Normal does, while Sport adds some noticeable meatiness to the steering and some engaging revs between gear changes.

It adds up to a marginally more exciting time behind the wheel when the situation warrants, although we’re not sure CX-5 buyers are out there carving corners with abandon.

The steering has been retuned as well, the end result a more refined experience. It’s nice and weighty in Normal mode, firming up with Sport mode selected. It’s nice and direct, too, taking the CX-5 exactly where it is pointed.

The ride remains composed and quiet, while road noise is nicely insulated from the cabin thanks to the extra measures Mazda has taken to mitigate NVH. Smaller road imperfections are sent to the rear-view mirror with barely a ripple, while the medium SUV remains composed and balanced when cornering.

It all adds up to a pleasant time behind the wheel, if not filled with out-and-out thrills. But as a family conveyance whose brief is to offer well-cushioned motoring with enough oomph to make for easygoing long cruises, the CX-5 fills the brief.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Not everything is brand-new in the 2022 Outlander. Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre petrol engine sourced from the 2019 Nissan Altima. The direct-injection PR25DD offers 135kW and 245Nm with a claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption of 8.1L/100km.

It’s not a bad lump by any stretch, but just feels a bit lacking in low-down torque (the peak isn’t until a buzzy 3600rpm), and tends to be thirstier than you’d like as there are no forced-induction efficiency multipliers at play.

Not all engines can be standouts, though, and this, while fundamentally good, is just a four-cylinder petrol. You’ll find the same unit under the bonnet of the upcoming Nissan X-Trail too.

Over our week with the car, the average consumption was 10.2L/100km. It’s not crazy and is actually lower than the claimed urban cycle of 10.5L/100km, but when the RAV4 Hybrid can dish out reliable five-point-something averages (4.8L/100km claim) and the Kia Sportage diesel low sixes (6.3L/100km claim), the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi-Alliance powerplant isn’t all that frugal.

BTW, the forthcoming Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) variant should change all that.

Thirst aside, the 2.5-litre engine cruises well, and despite not having as much vigour off the line as you’d always want, it has enough punch to manage B-road overtakes and general in-gear acceleration.

In-gear is probably apt, too, as the Outlander features a CVT (constantly variable transmission) with eight preset ratios and on-demand all-wheel drive. Drive is predominantly through the front wheels, though, and as such you barely notice the rears forcibly turning, even when the S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) notification advises you that things are happening.

Ride quality is good, too, and the Outlander compresses and rebounds well enough over speed humps, but the comparative size of the 20-inch wheels on the 2706mm wheelbase has it often feeling fussy over choppy on uneven surfaces.

This is only really apparent when touring, and again it points to where the quality and tactile feel of the Outlander has you wanting, or even expecting, the same level of premium-ness in other areas.

I am being quite picky here, though, as generally the Exceed Tourer is a very pleasant place to spend time, and as a family shopper it works very well around town.

Key details 2022 Mazda CX-5 Akera 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer
Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol
Power 170kW @ 5000rpm 135kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 420Nm @ 2000rpm 245Nm @ 3600rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive All-wheel drive
Transmission Six-speed torque convertor auto CVT auto with eight preset ratios
Power to weight ratio 98kW/t 77kW/t
Weight 1730kg 1760kg
Tow rating 2000kg braked, 750kg unbraked 1600kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.0m 10.6m

Conclusion

The CX-5’s 2022 update has delivered some very useful features, like LED headlights, head-up display, wireless phone charging and a powered tailgate, all of which are necessary for it to take on Mitsubishi’s Outlander in Exceed Tourer spec.

However, Mazda asks almost $4000 more (on-road) for the Akera compared to the Outlander, which brings us to an interesting crossroad in this comparison: do you prefer a third row of seating, or heightened on-road performance and dynamics? 

We can dive into the detail and find other reasons to split these two worthy combatants – such as the Outlander’s extremely affordable servicing costs that will save you almost $1000 over five years. Then there’s Mitsubishi’s conditional 10-year warranty, which adds peace of mind for five years longer than Mazda’s.

We could also draw conclusions on the safety front, even though both vehicles have been awarded five stars by ANCAP. Mazda’s five stars were earned back in 2017, a year before ANCAP toughened its testing protocols, which implies that Mitsubishi’s five stars are worth more than Mazda’s five. 

On the active safety front, there’s little to split the two thanks to Mazda’s diligence in keeping the CX-5’s suite of systems competitive despite the underlying car’s age. 

In terms of creature comforts, both vehicles have the bases covered, right down to matching Bose 10-speaker sound systems. If we’re splitting hairs, the Mazda’s 10.25-inch infotainment screen is bigger (and therefore better?) than the Outlander’s nine inches. Except it’s not better, because it’s not a touchscreen, which makes interacting with it a chore compared to the simplicity of touchscreens. 

The CX-5’s lack of a touchscreen in an MY22 car is a glaring omission, especially when you consider that we’ve been living with touchscreen phones for almost 20 years now.   

The Mazda’s conventional speedo and tacho dials, and the little 7.0-inch digital screen nestled between them, in the instrument cluster are giveaways to the CX-5’s age. Most new-generation cars launched in the last couple of years have ditched old-school dials for full-colour, flexible digital displays like the 12.3-inch feast Outlander drivers enjoy.

Even with all that, drivers who like driving (like us) will find it hard to overlook the Mazda, especially with its powertrain advantage. The Mitsubishi’s sharper price, seven-seat flexibility, and more modern mod-cons mount a powerful argument, particularly if you can keep emotion out of the purchase decision. 

Of these two, the Mitsubishi is the better car. But the Mazda is the better driver’s car. We’ll leave you to decide which camp you fall into.

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