As you will know the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market has been booming for the last decade with most manufacturers offering a couple of models and Mazda is no different. 

The Japanese maker has, for years, been building super reliable and incredibly well built motors with favourable pricing. Yes they have always been a little no-frills inside, but that’s always been fairly reflected in the brand’s pricing. 

In the last couple of years I have managed to sample most of the Mazda range and, one could argue, they are still a little behind their German rivals in regards to the materials used within the cabin. 

But, I’ll be the first to admit that the difference is so slender, it isn’t something that would come into my mind when shopping. 

With their popular compact SUV the CX-3 now discontinued, replaced by a slicker and much better CX-30; Mazda has rejuvenated its biggest SUV, the CX-5. First launched nine years ago, the CX-5 has become a familiar sight on our roads, and for good reason. 

The reasons for choosing a CX-5 have never been stronger either, as this heavily updated variant offers an all-new 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine, as well as a much improved infotainment system which features a 10.25-inch screen providing a clearer picture and a much faster user experience. 

Unlike most manufacturers today, Mazda doesn’t seem to be going hybrid, or fully electrified, on a platform that has been designed and developed around internal combustion engines. As such, the Mazda CX-5 is only available with either a petrol, or diesel engine, and the model starts from £27,245. 

Unquestionably Mazda, the CX-5 features the signature ‘Kodo’ styling and front end design that runs across the full range, allowing it to sit well as the largest of the family and, with only four trim levels on offer, buying a CX-5 couldn’t be easier. 

The entry level, yet well-equipped ‘SE-L’ trim features 17-inch grey metallic alloy wheels, the previously mentioned 10.25-inch colour display with AM/FM/DAB radio along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, and Mazda navigation system with five years free European map updates. 

Priced from £29,649 is a ‘Kuro Edition’ which features 19-inch black alloy wheels, half leatherette/half suede upholstery with heated front seats, black mirror caps, and electric open/close tailgate. 

A ‘Sport’ trim, as tested, starts from £30,345 and features 19-inch silver alloy wheels, full leather upholstery with heated front seats, Bose 10-speaker audio system, smart keyless entry, traffic sign recognition, and windscreen projected colour active driving display. 

The range topping ‘GT Sport’ starts from £36,885 and features 19-inch bright alloy wheels, brown nappa leather seats with front and outer-rear heated seating as well as front cooling seats, 360-degree view monitor, driver attention alert, frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear smart city brake support. 

Load space comes in at around 506-litres, more than enough for family life, even one with younger kids that come with their own wheeled mode of transport that must be chucked into the boot with everything else young children command. 

Inside, the stone leather heated seating is comfortably supportive, and the layout of the cabin is incredibly user friendly with stitched soft touch material throughout, adding an edge of quality and refinement. 

Engine wise, there are a few options depending on trim. The CX-5 range starts with a front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol, producing 165PS and available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox, seeing 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds and 9.8 seconds respectively, with a combined return of around 41mpg and 38mpg respectively. 

An all-wheel-drive 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G produces 194PS and comes only with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, seeing 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds with a combined return of 35mpg. 

Should you require even more economy, there is a diesel front-wheel-drive 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D which produces 150PS and is available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox, seeing 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and 10.7 seconds respectively, with a combined return of 50mpg and 46mpg respectively. 

For those living rural, or perhaps doing some towing, there is an all-wheel-drive variant which produces 184PS and is also available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox, seeing 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds and 9.6 seconds respectively, with a combined return of 44mpg and 42mpg respectively. 

Off-road, the CX-5 will cope with most rural lanes, undulating fields and the odd small obstacle thanks to the circa 200mm of ground clearance that’s on offer – though it’s most at home on-road where it excels in the class and drives in a way that many SUV’s struggle. 

Maximising Mazda’s Skyactiv technology, weight is in all the right places and the CX-5 has minimal roll and, outside of the school-run, is very capable and confident on even the most meandering of journeys. 

With a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty on offer as standard, servicing should be done annually or at 12,500mile intervals. 

Fact File for model tested: 
Make :  Mazda 
Model :  CX-5 
Trim : Sport 
Engine : 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel 
Gearbox : 6-speed manual 
Cost Circa : circa £35,000 


Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.