Something magical has happened to the Mazda brand! With a long history in South African motoring, Mazda has always been a staple brand on our roads. Looking at the Mazda fleet now, I notice a clear shift in focus of the Mazda design-team, who are now clearly striving to enhance the enjoyment of the driving experience.

At the Mazda Germiston dealership, I am introduced to Leonard Grobbelaar who is the new Sales Executive. With eleven years of experience in the motoring industry, Leonard believes that if his clients are happy, he too will be happy. Striving to grow in his position at the dealership as well as in his personal capacity, Leonard takes the time to note that this specific dealership is a great place to be. Everyone works well together, and everything runs smoothly under the management of Dealer Principal Raymond Visagie.

Raymond has more than twenty-three years of industry experience, two decades of which he has been devoted to the Mazda brand. He has also been with the dealership in Germiston right from the start and thus has a particular sense of pride in it. He is vocal about his support for the legacy of the brand, which is founded on a belief in the importance of nurturing relationships. Raymond also believes it is imperative to build solid client relationships, but he also believes in supporting and investing in the staff at the dealership itself. Majority of the staff members at Mazda Germiston have been in the dealership for the last five, and even ten years already – which is a clear indication that this is an environment that stimulates loyalty and commitment. Raymond proudly notes that the people who make up the Mazda team are both the reason for the dealership’s great success, as well as the reason he is so passionate about what he does.

Charismatic Sales Manager Devi Ramrattan is also noted for her many years of experience and the warmth with which she welcomes me. Believing that the Mazda products are proof of the brand’s exceptional quality, Devi is confident and passionate about the products she showcases. Mazda has released an exceptionally handsome new range of vehicles, and Devi believes that this is more proof of the innovation and evolution of Mazda, now taking the lead in the terms of value-for-money. A combination of reliable service and superior products have produced a great reputation for the Germiston dealership.

Originally launched in 2012 as a new crossover SUV, the Mazda CX-5 has grown exponentially in popularity through the course of the last six years. With a history of award-winning technology and design as well as bold styling, the CX-5 is an example of the technological innovation and superb comfort which the brand prioritises. Now refreshed and updated, the CX-5 has matured like a fine wine – sophisticated, enjoyable and smooth.

With seven different variants of the CX-5 available on the market, the entire range can be summarised as follows: the entry-level CX-5 2.0 Active is a 2-litre variant in either manual or automatic. Followed by the mid-level 2.0 Dynamic which is based on the entry-spec model with a few extra features. Then there is a 2.2 DE Active Auto variant, which is popular for its substantial engine, and the Individual Auto which has additional features to prioritise passenger comfort. The top of the range CX-5 is the 2.2 DE Akera Auto All-wheel Drive, which boasts a diesel engine paired with an automatic gearbox that is said to deliver a magnificent 450 nM of torque whilst using an efficient 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel.

The most overt indication of Mazda’s commitment to driver comfort is the interior of the CX-5 Akera, which is a leather-wrapped zone of tranquillity and luxury set in a generously spaced cabin. Armrests and USB ports are available in both the front and rear (with cupholders for all), certainly highlighting itself as a superb family vehicle, ideal for road trips and long drives to vacation spots. With a full house of features, this will definitely make for an easy, carefree drive. The CX-5 Akera comes out standard with a reverse camera, Bluetooth radio, Sat Nav and an infotainment system that is fully compatible (although it does not function like an interface).

Adaptive LED lights are also standard, and many active and passive safety features ensure the driver and passengers enjoy class-leading safety ratings. Further safety features include 7 airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, ABS, EBD and EBA, as well as the unique City Brake Support feature that will assist you to brake the vehicle if a collision is imminent. Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure are a given in this vehicle, as well as Hill Launch Assist – features which are included at no extra charge.

For this incredible top-of-the-range variant, pricing starts at R571,300 for the Akera. With an exciting time ahead for Mazda, including the release of a facelift on the CX-3 (the CX-5’s baby sister) as well as the BT 50, the team at Mazda Germiston are looking forward to even better sales figures. With no set dates or other information yet regarding the above releases, the general feeling of excitement for the future of the brand in South Africa, as well as the dealership, is quite contagious.

Back at the dealership, I am also reminded of their excellent workshop and parts department which services local sales points as well. The team at this dealership showed great hospitality and were most accommodating during my time there, reminding me that the brand’s reputation for reliability and service excellence is well deserved.

By

Journalist: Desh Bechan

Reporter: Inge Stols

Editor: Belinda Anderson