Mazda launched its crossover SUV in 2012, sometime after the rest of the market jumped on the bandwagon, with that in mind it should surely be the best in class?
We tested the all-wheel drive 2.2 Diesel in Sport spec, with 175PS and just 119g/km of emissions. At £27,195 it’s rather pricey for the segment.
There is a sporty, perky look to the CX-5. From the front it looks eager, with a pinched in bonnet and wide grille.
Curves over the front wheel arches melt away just below the door mirrors, another style line flows from the rear lights across the front and rear doors.
Moving to the boot the car pinches in again slightly, following the line of the rear lights that are inset into the rear quarter. A rear spoiler adds to the sporty look of the CX-5, along with a shark fin style aerial.
It looks a cross between the rear of a Sante Fe, side profile of a Qashqai with a Mazda front end. Altogether it works well, very fresh faced and modern.
Mazda currently have a great engine range due to their Skyactiv developments. The 2.2 diesel with 175PS is particularly nippy, and coupled with all-wheel drive gives a 0-60 time of 8.8 seconds, it’s no slouch!
We weren’t able to test the all-wheel drive off road, but on road in the wet, through corners at speed it felt very confident. The level of grip is great, in fact the whole car feels less like an SUV and more like a small saloon.
Steering is quite heavily weighted at speed, but responsive; and the Mazda turns in well.
Gear changes are swift and sporty thanks to the Skyactive manual gearbox. Accelerating in any gear gives good pulling power.
Urban MPG is quoted at 47.1 MPG which is very good for an all-wheel drive car, kerb weight is only 1650 kg’s which helps the MPG as well as handling.
There is quite a lot of wind noise around the large mirrors, but otherwise road noise is kept to a minimum. The low compression Diesel engine can be heard, but isn’t obtrusive.
We also drove the 2 wheel drive 2.0 litre Petrol with 165PS, if you’re not after all wheel drive then this is a good choice.
Performance wise it does 0-60 in 9.2 seconds and has an Urban MPG figure of 37.7 MPG, but emissions rise to 139g/km. Second gear feels a little sluggish but after that it picks up well, it felt just as nimble as the 2.2 Diesel.
Inside the CX-5 is well built, dash plastics have a soft touch feel to them and the dials are nice and clear. Upper door plastics are a little hard, and the centre armrest is uncomfortable due to no padding. It also doesn’t slide forward which is annoying.
Another gripe is the clock in the centre console, it’s an orange backlit LCD type. It just looks a bit dated and old fashioned. Even in the Mazda 6 it doesn’t look as bad, because it’s backlit in white.
As well as in the Mazda 6 the touchscreen is too small and fiddly, multiple menus asking questions that aren’t needed just make using it while driving a little dangerous.
Rear seat legroom is good, so is the access. Rear door cards are again a little too plasticy and plain up top. Headroom in the back is very good due to the high roofline.
Boot capacity is 503 litres, with a shallow lip and wide load area. A rear load cover adds better functionality than a parcel shelf, and the seats can be split 40/20/40.
Our model in Sport trim included leather interior, heated front seats, keyless entry, 19” alloys, reversing camera, and the Bose audio setup. The Bose system is great, loud, clear and bassy, well worth the money if you enjoy your tunes.
Mazda may be a late entrant into this segment and they have done well, great external looks, coupled with some superb engines.
However, the dash and interior is a slight let down, but it’s not bad by any means.
At £27k our test car is pricey but that’s the premium for a diesel with good performance. A Sport spec 2.0 litre petrol with two wheel drive starts at £23,595, which is much more palatable.
Mazda CX-5 – Fast, great handling, fiddly sat nav, immense grip, ok interior.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter