Mazda CX-5 SUV
Price: £21,595 - £29,595
- Stylish, distinctive design
- Economical and powerful engines
- Comfortable on the road
- Interior storage could be better
- Better on-road than off-road
- Four-wheel drive cars not as fun to drive
"Great to look at and even better to drive, the Mazda CX-5 is a brilliant family car."
The Mazda CX-5 is a compact SUV rival for the likes of the Skoda Yeti and the Volkswagen Tiguan. It comes in front-wheel-drive and 4x4 models, with both offering a surprisingly sporty driving experience. You can choose between three engines - a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel in two power outputs, while all three are available with either a six-speed manual or an automatic gearbox. The CX-5 has a comfortable and roomy interior, plus a large boot.
Lots of equipment and accessories are included as standard, such as a touchscreen sat-nav and safety aids like lane keep assist. Front-wheel drive versions are sure to be popular because of their lower running costs and more enjoyable drive.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Even the most powerful 2.2-litre diesel engine returns 54.3mpg
This is the CX-5's strongest area, with the lower-powered diesel engine easily matching the cleanest rivals in this class for low emissions and high fuel economy while still offering excellent performance that no other eco-oriented car can match. Combined fuel economy is more than 60mpg and CO2 emissions are 119g/km for the front-wheel drive model, but even the higher-powered diesel with four-wheel drive still returns an impressive 54.3mpg and emits 136g/km of CO2. As is common, the petrol model is the worst performer in this category, but it still isn’t massively expensive to run, returning 47.1mpg in economy and emitting 139g/km of CO2.
Interior & comfort
Front seats offer lots of adjustment, and headroom is generous
The CX-5's driving position offers a high, clear view of the road that allows you to look over the other traffic without feeling too detached from the road. There's plenty of adjustment in both the driver's seat and steering wheel, while seat materials are very comfortable without being saggy, so you still get plenty of support. There's also lots of shoulder and legroom in the back for three passengers to sit comfortably.
Generally, the inside of the CX-5 is well laid out and sports lots of equipment and accessories, which can be supplemented with optional extras like a touchscreen navigation system, lane keep assist and a DAB digital radio.
Practicality & boot space
Large boot and clever touches make the Mazda CX-5 hugely practical
The CX-5's 503 litres of boot space is among the best in the compact SUV class with all the seats in place. Fold down the standard-fit 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats down completely and the boot expands to a useful 1,620 litres. Folding the seats is easy thanks to two handy levers in the boot. Also, the boot load cover opens and closes at the same time as the boot lid, so any valuables you want kept out of sight are always hidden away. You also get a big glove compartment and a useful storage cubby in the centre console for the driver and front passenger.
Reliability & safety
Components are brand new but should prove reliable
Mazda made a gigantic leap up the manufacturers rankings in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, entering not only the top 10 but making it into the top five at number four. This is partly due to the CX-5, which stormed into the survey's list of the top 100 cars at number five. Both performances were down to an incredible level of consistency matched by few others. Both the chassis and the engine in the CX-5 were developed specifically for it and haven’t really been used elsewhere in the Mazda range, but the CX-5 is clearly proving very reliable indeed. It's also a very safe car, securing a maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests and coming fitted with a full range of airbags, electronic stability control (ESP) and anti-lock brakes (ABS) as standard. A whole host of extra safety accessories are also available.
Engines, drive & performance
The gearstick feels like the one fitted to the sporty Mazda MX-5
You can get the CX-5 with a 2.2-litre diesel that delivers either 148bhp or 172bhp. Mazda says this engine accounts for approximately 85 per cent of sales, but you can also get a 2.0-litre petrol engine that delivers 163bhp. We’d recommend going for a diesel because they’re much smoother and even the 148bhp model delivers more than enough power and performance for most drivers. The petrol gets a bit noisy when you accelerate hard, but overall it is very smooth and generally quiet The CX-5 also proves to be fairly nimble on the open road, partly in thanks to light and responsive steering, coping well with sharp corners, which it takes with minimal body roll.
Price, value for money & options
The Skoda Yeti is slightly cheaper but the Mazda is still good value
Mazdas aren’t the cheapest cars on the market but the CX-5 is definitely good value simply because it is such a capable car – particularly the less expensive front-wheel-drive model. It does cost more than the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti but you do get what you pay for.
The top-of-the-range Sport Nav specification comes fitted with satellite-navigation, heated front seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, full leather upholstery and a Bose stereo as standard. Resale values for Mazda on the used car market are quite strong, so make sure to shop around and you should find a good second-hand deal.
What the others say
Constructed from the ground up with weight-saving measures in mind, it's one of the lightest crossovers on the market. At its cleanest it's also the most efficient, and all models have rear legroom and boot space up there with the class best. Mazda also believes the CX-5 has their most premium cabin yet, and the soft-touch plastics and solid feeling switchgear are a good sign that it really is.
The petrol-engined model, for example, can match the emissions figure for the cleanest diesel-powered version on the Volkswagen Tiguan – impressive stuff. The cleanest diesel-powered CX-5, meanwhile, has average economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions that fall below 120g/km. This all combines to mean that the CX-5, as well as being competitively priced, will have super-low running costs.
Last updated: 10 Jan 2014