Mazda CX-5 Review
Sharp looks, great ride and handling, solid interior
Narrow engine range, no seven-seat option, expensive top-spec models
The Mazda CX-5 has entered its second generation at a time when the large mainstream SUV market is more diverse than ever. With talented rivals such as the Toyota Rav-4 and Peugeot 3008 on the scene, plus old favourites like the Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan, the Mazda has its work cut out.
Thankfully, the car has retained (and improved on) its USP of being the SUV of choice for keen drivers. It handles better than ever, but most importantly its comfort and refinement are at another level when compared to the outgoing car. Combined with a very punchy and efficient diesel engine, an upmarket interior and plenty of kit, and it's easy to see why this is one of Mazda's best sellers.
Granted, the slightly sharper design doesn't really move the game on, and some rivals still beat it for tech and practicality. But as an all-round family SUV that's both comfortable and agile, it's an excellent package.
If the Mazda CX-5 offers something unique over its crossover rivals, it's that it delivers an enjoyable drive for those of us who still like to have fun at the wheel. It's a bit of a cliche when it comes to Mazdas, but the CX-5 is blessed with the same nimble and engaging handling as the company's legendary MX-5.
The CX-5 is now in its second generation, although if you're not an avid follower of Mazda's products, you'd be forgiven for not noticing the change, because apart from a few subtle differences, the Mk2 looks largely similar to the Mk1. There's a sharper nose that draws inspiration from the Mazda 6 saloon, while the interior shares much of its layout with the rest of the Mazda range.
But the CX-5 Mk2 is marginally larger than the old car, so there's more passenger and boot space, while it gets Mazda's latest safety kit and infotainment options. There are two versions of CX-5 the SE-L and Sport, and both come with a generous amount of kit. Sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, auto LED headlights, reclining and 40:20:40 split folding rear seats, privacy glass and front and rear parking sensors are some of the highlights form the equipment list.
Sport models add heated leather seats, a reversing camera, bigger wheels, a Bose stereo and powered tailgate, while diesel versions can be had with Mazda's Safety Pack. This optional pack adds adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control and smart braking to boost the CX-5's safety credentials even further.
There are three engine options in the CX-5, one petrol and two diesel. The 2.0 SkyActiv-G 165PS is a 163bhp unit that only comes with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. The SkyActiv-D diesel comes in 150PS and 175PS forms, with 148bhp and 173bhp respectively. Like the petrol, its front-drive and manual as standard, but you can a six-speed auto or AWD four-wheel drive, or have both together. Even better is the fact that all engines and drive configurations are available in both SE-L and Sport trims.