By Wayne Gorrett
Chunky good looks and an excellent drive, the Mazda CX-5 is very likeable.
* Comfortable and composed on the road * Excellent diesel engine *
* Spacious * Stylish, unique design *
* Dull, uninspiring interior * Inadequate smalls stowage *
☀ ☀ ☀
We first drove the Mazda CX-5 at Goodwood when on its UK-wide VIP tour back in May last year and were well impressed. With its chunky good looks, a composed drive and ample space, it makes an ideal family car, regardless of chosen grade.
The CX-5 was the first recipient of Mazda’s new ‘Kodo’ design language. The end result is not exciting as now applied to the new Mazda6 saloon and estate, but the CX-5 is a well-proportioned, handsome car with pleasing lines. The CX-5 is an all-new-from-the-ground-up car – a smaller brother of the now discontinued CX-7 so there’s plenty to tell you…
Often, even with all-new models there’s some level of carry-over of components from previous or other models in a brand range. Not so the CX-5…suspension, engines, chassis, gearboxes et al, nothing on the CX-5 – apart from a few inconsequential cosmetic cabin trim bits and switchgear – comes from any other Mazda.
Two core SKYACTIV engines are available. There’s a non-turbo 2.0 litre, 163bhp petrol and a 2.2 litre turbo-diesel in two states of tune – 150bhp and 173bhp (as tested). The petrol unit will account for only 15% of sales so can largely be disregarded.
However, being one of the finest in the world today, Mazda’s own award-winning 2.2 diesel unit is a pure gem and is also available in the new and stonkingly-good Mazda6 range launched earlier this year. While surprisingly revvy, the oil-burner is a smooth and remarkably quiet unit and like all diesels, most of the useable torque is realised between 1,500 and 3,500rpm. We tested the perky 173bhp unit, reserved for the Sport grade 4WD, with 6-speed manual or automatic drivetrains.
The engine pulls the CX-5 along with ease, can be brisk on demand and still return a combined 51.4mpg in manual mode, while CO2 emissions are Class Euro V at 144g/km. When compared to equivalent competitors such as the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4 – new models of which were released earlier this year – neither come close on efficiency and economy.
The CX-5 feels very mature to drive because Mazda does dynamics better than just about anyone else. The 19in wheels on our Sport felt taut and agile around corners, steered nicely and maintained momentum. The ride might be a fraction stiffer than the 17in supplied on the SE-L, but as we’ve driven the entire range, all CX-5s have an easy-going, relaxed feel.
On the road, it’s in the areas of comfort and refinement that are most obvious. With this model, Mazda started using a new insulation material in car construction which affords the CX-5 a hushed, isolated cabin to the best German execs.
Interior space is excellent. While the CX-5 may appear Qashqai-sized, it’s bigger with plenty of rear head and leg room and a load-soaking 503-litre boot with row 2 raised. Handles auto-fold the 40:20:40 split rear seats for a cavernous 1,620-litre bay.
We were hard put to find fault with the CX-5 and there is only one area which prohibited the award of the full five stars and that is the interior design and quality – coincidentally the only issue with the new Mazda6, too. The fluidic Kodo design works on the outside but the interior ought to have been more dramatic and interesting and the plastics and materials more tactile…an observation not helped by our dislike of dark interiors. We would opt for the stone leather for a brighter ambiance. But, as far as criticisms go, that’s about it for the CX-5.
Fast Facts > Mazda CX-5 175ps Sport Nav AWD Auto
Recommended retail price of model tested > £28,395.
Mazda CX-5 price range > From £21,395 to £28,395.
Power / Torque > 175ps (129kW) @ 4,500rpm / 420Nm @ 2,000rpm.
Top speed > 127mph.
Load capacity to window line > Row 2 up: 503 litres > Row 2 down: 1,620 litres.
Acceleration > 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds.
Fuel tank > 58 litres (12.8 gallons).
Fuel economy (combined) > Official 51.4mpg / Tested (549 miles): 41.1mpg (80%).
Full tank range > Official 658 miles, Tested 526 miles.
CO2 Emissions > Class Euro V: 144g/km
VED Band ‘F’ / Current cost £140 first year, £140 thereafter.
BIK tax rate > 22% current, with scheduled annual rises.
Euro NCAP rating > 5 stars, 2012.
Insurance group model tested > 21.
Warranty > 3yr / 60,000 miles, 12yr anti-corrosion.