Mazda CX-5 SUV
Price £22,295 - £30,595
- Good ride and handling
- Attractive and distinctive styling
- Powerful and economical engines
- Interior storage space isn’t great
- More at home on the road than off it
- Four-wheel-drive versions are less fun to drive
At a glance
"The Mazda CX-5 is ideal for motorists who need a large, economical SUV for the family, but also want something that's stylish and fun to drive."
The Mazda CX-5 aims to bring something different to the family SUV class, with sleek, eye-catching styling and a driving experience closer to a sporty hatchback than a large family car. It faces tough competition from the big-selling Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti in particular, as well as the Volkswagen Tiguan, MINI Countryman, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage. It can also be seen as an interesting (if somewhat pricier) alternative to conventional family hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
Put simply, if nimble, agile handling is high on your list of priorities, you should strongly consider the Mazda CX-5. It manages to pull off the trick of being fun to drive as well as economical and practical. But if you're not interested in handling or styling, the Skoda Yeti could be a more flexible, better-value option, with over 100 litres more boot space when the rear seats are folded down. Alternatively, if you'd like to drive a car with a premium badge, the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 are both available for around the same price as a mid-range CX-5.
The CX-5 range comprises five trim levels (SE-L, SE-L Nav, SE-L Lux, SE-L Lux Nav and Sport Nav). We think the entry-level SE-L (or SE-L Nav if you want satellite navigation) represents the best value for money, as it has almost all the equipment you'll ever need. Cruise control, dual-zone climate control, all-round electric windows, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen are all standard. Sport Nav does come with a different and more up-to-date headlight and grill design, however.
There's a choice of a 2.0-litre petrol or one of two 2.2-litre diesel engines (although the more powerful diesel is only available in the expensive top-of-the-range Sport Nav model). The less powerful 2.2-litre diesel is the pick of the three engines, as it's both more flexible and more economical than the petrol. Four-wheel drive is only really useful if you plan to tow a trailer, horsebox or caravan with your CX-5. Otherwise, the reduced fuel economy compared to the two-wheel-drive version isn't worth it, as the CX-5 isn't really a proper off-roader in the mould of the Land Rover Freelander.
Find out what we think is the best crossover-SUV by watching our video below.
The Mazda CX-5 employs the brand’s SKYACTIV technology to offer running costs comparable to those of a regular family hatchback
The Mazda CX-5 is a fast and fun-to-drive family car that leaves most of its rivals standing
The Mazda CX-5 is quiet and comfortable, but interior quality is a bit disappointing
The Mazda CX-5 has a large boot and plenty of practical touches inside
Owners have reported few problems with the Mazda CX-5 and it has an excellent safety rating, too