As you maybe know, the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market is absolutely booming of late with most manufacturers offering a couple of models, covering most demographics and Mazda is no different. The Japanese maker has for years, been building super reliable and incredibly well built motors at pricing – yes they have always been a little no-frills inside, but that’s always been fairly reflected in the brands 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 will admit, the difference is so slender, it isn’t something that would come into my mind when shopping.
With their compact SUV, the CX-3 [read our thoughts here] being a popular choice; Mazda recently rejuvenated the larger CX-5. First launched six 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 latest variant from Japan offers a much more refined, better equipped and sharper drive than ever before whilst retaining favourable pricing. I feel this Mazda is one of the finest looking models within the class against the likes of Honda’s CR-V or Toyota’s Rav4 as far as fellow countrymen go, or perhaps Ford’s Kuga or VW’s Tiguan for some European comparison. Unquestionably Mazda, the CX-5 features the signature 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 two trim levels on offer, buying a CX-5 couldn’t be easier.
Starting with an ‘SE-L’ – the CX-5 comes as standard with cruise control, dual-zone climate control and full electric windows along with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic adaptive LED headlights; front and rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass and electrically folding wing mirrors. Inside, a 7-inch colour touch-screen offers a vast array of functions such as AM/FM/DAB Radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav and phone integration via USB and a couple of app’s that allow internet radio as well as Facebook and Twitter functionality. As with all cars these days, safety is paramount and this big Mazda offers plenty with advanced smart city brake support, emergency stop signalling and hill hold assist, alongside a plethora of airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchorages. If all of that isn’t enough, an extra £3,000 will get you the ‘Sport Nav’ (as tested) which adds key-less entry, 19-inch alloy wheels and electric tailgate with reverse camera as well as Premium BOSE audio with heated leather electrically adjustable seating and heated steering wheel with traffic sign recognition and head-up-display also featuring.
Load space comes in around 500 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 kids require. Inside, the heated seating is comfortable, if a little short on the seat-base and the layout of the cabin is incredibly user friendly with stitched soft touch material throughout, adding an edge of quality and refinement, especially over the previous model. A couple of USB ports up-front keep devices well charged, but something that most manufacturers forget, is that those who maybe don’t travel the best are the kids and generally speaking, they travel in the back. Mazda have cleverly fitted a pair of USB ports into the rear central armrest, meaning so long as you aren’t travelling as a family of five, then on a long run you can be assured the kids ‘electronic nanny’ will never run out of energy and your journey should be a little less disturbed.
Engine wise, things are kept as simple as the trim levels with just two available. Firstly a 2.0L petrol, producing a reasonable 163bhp with 155lb/ft is offered and is only available paired to a six-speed manual gearbox and with front-wheel-drive only. Secondly a 2.2L turbocharged diesel can be chosen with either 148bhp and 280lb/ft or a fairly healthy hefty 173bhp and 310lb/ft – this configuration can be chosen with (depending on trim level) front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual or automatic ‘box. This model tested, equipped with the 2.2L diesel producing the lower output and with the manual ‘box proved to be no slouch with a sub 10 second 0-62 mph time of 9.4 seconds yet still returns mid-40’s mpg with combined driving. Off-road, the CX-5 will cope with most rural lanes; undulating fields and the odd small obstacle with its 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 journey’s. with a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty on offer as standard, servicing should be done annually or at 12,500mile intervals. Mazda’s CX-5 has that ‘something’ making it stand out in a very crowded sector – it has C’X-Factor’.