Mazda CX-5: road test
The CX-5 is generously equipped, and lots of fun to drive on all road types.
What is it?
This new generation SUV makes an already great car even better. It combines smart design, practicality and generous spec to pitch as a worthy rival for the VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca.
How safe is it?
Six airbags and stability control are standard, as is Smart City Brake support. Blind spot monitor and adaptive cruise control are part of the optional Safety Pack (Sport Nav models only).
Who should buy one?
Anyone looking for a larger five-seat SUV should give this a serious look. It’s an excellent car that’s great to drive (it’s quiet, too) and represents excellent value for money.
Road test by James Luckhurst, June 2017
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
We had the opportunity to try out three versions of the CX-5 during what must rank as the highest-mileage (and wettest) 24-hour test opportunity ever held. It was General Election Day and we were in the Scottish Highlands, though so wet was it that we could have been forgiven for thinking we were in Egypt, about to be hit by the first of the Ten Plagues.
Filthy driving conditions prevailed as we navigated the 2.2-litre SE-L Nav diesel from Inverness to Tomintoul, via Pitlochry, Glenshee and Braemar. What a cracking drive from this front-wheel-drive, six-speed manual; highly capable, self-assured and composed across all road types. Finding a comfortable driving position took next to no time, though a bit of backache kicked in an hour into the journey. Acceleration was more than adequate when required, even if there was some low-end grumble from the diesel engine. The CX-5 made light work of some challenging roads, including the infamous A939 out of Cockbridge towards Tomintoul, a lot of which was driven in cloud and very poor visibility. The ride was on the firm side, but the 17-inch alloys (standard with this trim level) did a good job of keeping things comfortable. All in all, this proved a top-class vehicle in all respects – definitely our pick of the three we tried.
We switched to the Sport Nav diesel automatic, with its black leather seat trim, heated steering wheel and Premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers. Another excellent journey, with smooth changes through the box at low and high speeds. Our only gripe was that the excellent and dependable satnav/infotainment screen decided to switch itself into night-time mode every time we drove through wooded areas.
Next day brought a chance to try the 2.0-litre petrol (in L-Nav spec). Performance was flabby, and acceleration was weak, so our advice would be to steer clear of this version.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The CX-5 offers excellent interior space for driver and passengers. Taller occupants may not be able to stretch out fully in the back, but up front there’s certainly plenty of headroom and legroom.
Storage opportunities are not quite so generous. Yes, you get a good central compartment between the two front seats, and the glove box is large, but other than that and the long door storage pockets, there’s a lack of crafty stowage ‘solutions’.
Open the boot (using the electric tailgate that’s standard on Sports Nav models) and a smidgen over 500 litres is at your disposal for luggage (a tiny increase on the earlier version). This rises to 1,620 with the rear seats folded flat. In summary, space is good, but some competitors (such as the VW Tiguan) offer more.
Euro NCAP awarded five stars to the old CX-5, and there’s no reason to think that this latest iteration will achieve anything less. What’s more, the new list of collision-prevention aids is impressive. Autonomous emergency braking comes as standard on all versions, but it’s disappointing that features such as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning should be a paid-for extra, and in Sport Nav level versions only.
The CX-5 can be seen as offering value for money, simply because a great deal of kit is included as standard. There are only two trim levels. SE-L Nav features include cruise control, automatic wipers, and front and rear parking sensors, while Sports Nav adds leather seats (heated at the front) and keyless entry.
The two-litre petrol SE-L Nav kicks off the range at £23,695. Add £3,000 for Sports Nav spec. The lowest-price diesel is the 2.2 SE-L Nav at £25,695, our pick of the pack.
Running costs should be refreshingly low, with a claimed 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 132g/km meaning a 28% Benefit in Kind rating for business users. All models come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
WE SAY : The CX-5 is generously equipped, and lots of fun to drive on all road types.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds
Economy: 57mpg combined
Tax: £140 first year, then £140 standard
Figures for CX-5 2.2D 150ps 2WD