First UK Drive: Mazda CX-5
The CX-5 has recently been revised to keep it as fresh as ever in the hugely popular crossover market.
What is it?
The CX-5 has now been revised with a much more angular front end, slim headlights and a large grille – similar to that of the smaller CX-3. The rear has been slightly altered too, although it is little more than a light refresh.
The interior hasn't changed much at all, and is very similar to every other new Mazda. The few changes include an updated seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, although there is noticeably better sound insulation than the last model, significantly reducing road noise.
What's under the bonnet?
The CX-5 is offered with either a 2.0-litre, 163bhp petrol engine or with the 2.2-litre diesel engine, either with 148bhp and 173bhp outputs. Our test car came with the lesser-powered diesel unit – the variant which will account for the majority of UK sales.
The engine has an impressive 380Nm of torque, allowing for a 0-60mph time of 9.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 127mph. As for fuel economy, Mazda claim the CX-5 can achieve 56.5mpg on an average cycle, with CO2 emissions of 132g/km.
What's it like to drive?
The CX-5 is very impressive to drive, in fact it is one of the best-driving crossovers you can buy today.
As well as having excellent handling, the CX-5 still manages to be comfortable, even on the potholed roads of the UK, so much so that you barely feel them when other crossovers would just crash over them. The improved damping also keeps road and wind noise to a minimum, which is particularly useful on motorways, another area in which the CX-5 excels.
The manual gearbox is also brilliant. It's precise, slick and surprisingly fun to use, something which can't be said about many of its rivals.
How does it look?
The new refreshed design of the CX-5 has kept it looking as good as ever. While it has never been an ugly car, a mild refresh has made it look much sharper.
The new front end is quite different to the one which came before, and mirrors the look of the Mazda 2 and CX-3. The CX-5's bonnet hangs over the front grille, adding to its angular look. While the CX-5 may not appeal to all, it is definitely one of the better-looking cars in its class, particularly when compared to bland rivals such as the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4.
What's it like inside?
The CX-5 has a very similar interior to any other Mazda, the main display is familiar, as are the controls. The interior is also a great place to be, the build quality is excellent and the optional Stone Leather upholstery in our test car made the cabin feel particularly airy.
The interior is also spacious in general, and tall adults should have no problem getting comfortable in the front or rear of the CX-5. Boot space also impressed us, the 506 litres of space should be easily enough for most families,
What's the spec like?
The entry-level CX-5 starts at £23,695, which will get you the SE-L Nav specification equipped with the 2.0-litre petrol engine. Standard equipment is generous on the CX-5 and includes LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, automatic mirrors and a seven-inch touchscreen which features satnav and a DAB radio.
Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-range Sport Nav model, which starts at £26,695. This spec features a reversing camera, an electric driver's seat and keyless entry, as well as heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
The CX-5 is undoubtedly one of the best crossovers available at this price bracket. It is fun to drive, spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and very attractively priced. The CX-5 also looks great and we think it is actually better than some more premium rivals. It is ultimately the drive which sets the CX-5 apart from its rivals and, when linked with all the other positives, make it one of the best mid-size SUVs currently on sale.
Model as tested: CX-5 2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav Diesel
Max Speed: 127mph
0-60mph: 9.2 seconds
Price as tested: £30,225