Car Reviews Motoring

Mazda CX-5 Review

Avatar photo
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Mazda is often a brand regarded as being in the same bracket as the also-rans.

But, in many cases, that’s often a harsh assessment. Some of its cars are top-notch, like the MX-5 two-seater, one of the most dependable and best-handling sports cars for years.

The CX-5 SUV is a different kettle of fish but equally adept at ticking the right boxes. I tested the top-of-the-range GT Sport trim. It comes with 19-inch alloys, a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB radio, SatNav and a 10-speaker Bose sound system. It also features a seven-inch digital instrument display, a head-up display, sunroof and a 360-degree camera.

You get brown Nappa leather with heated and ventilated front seats, heated outer rear seats and steering wheel, too.

The two petrol engines are a 2.0-litre producing 165PS and a 2.5-litre supplying 194PS. But it’s the diesel that was driven for this article: a 2.2-litre with 184PS and all-wheel drive, available with a six-speed manual or automatic.

It isn’t massively powerful – 0-62mph takes just under ten seconds, but there’s a fitting amount of low-end grunt, which is beneficial in a larger car, helped by its turbocharger.

The Mazda is quiet and reasonably refined – you only notice the traditional oil-burner ‘rattle’ when you floor it, although it’s responsive when you do.

My car had a six-speed automatic, which is reasonably smooth but doesn’t help it to really make progress.

Fuel consumption averages 42.2mpg, releasing 173g/km of CO2 in the process.

The suspension is quite firm, so although it’s not uncomfortable, some rivals offer a more absorbing ride, especially given the 19-inch wheels. The stiffness aids the handling, though, meaning it’s nimble for a vehicle of its size. The body roll in the bends is well controlled, and the steering is nicely weighted, giving you confidence-inspiring feedback.

The driving position is high up, and the seats are comfortable, helped by adjustable lumbar support. Meanwhile, the interior is pleasant and feels robust and well-built, but it’s nothing to get you excited in terms of its looks.

The infotainment system is clear and quick to respond, controlled via a rotary dial on the centre console, which is convenient.

There is a load of space in the front and rear, while the CX-5 offers lots of storage in the cabin. You will be disappointed if you’re after a seven-seater, though, as Mazda only offers space for five, and the rear bench doesn’t slide, but it does recline.

The model has a 522-litre boot, smaller than most of its adversaries, expanding to 1,638 litres with the rear seats down, which fold in a versatile 40:20:40 split.

Mazda is known as a reliable marque, but the automaker only offers a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. It is extendable if you pay extra, though.

The CX-5 earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety grade and includes a host of systems. These include lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring, as standard, with the GT Sport trim also getting rear automatic emergency braking and a driver attention monitor.

Overall, it’s a very underrated car that’s very capable. While it doesn’t offer quite as much practicality as its challengers, the diesel gives it decent performance, added to good handling and a generous level of standard equipment.

The CX-5 is very worthy of a place on your shortlist, guys.

Fast Facts – Mazda CX-5 (2.2 Diesel 184PS GT Sport AWD Auto) as tested:

  • Max speed: 129mph
  • 0-62 mph: 9.6secs
  • Fuel economy: 42.2mpg (WLTP)
  • Engine layout: 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with all-wheel drive
  • Max. power (PS): 184PS
  • CO2: 173g/km
  • Price: £40,505

Leave a Comment