Mazda CX-5 SUV
Price £23,195 - £30,995
- 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."
SUVs are all the rage – a situation the Mazda CX-5 is better equipped than most to take advantage of. It goes into battle against a mass of rivals led by the brilliant Nissan Qashqai. Others in its price range include the Skoda Yeti, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage. However, given the compact nature of cars like the Mazda CX-5, more expensive versions of hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus can also be considered rivals.
Fortunately for the Mazda, it can keep these hatchback competitors at bay with its blend of agile handling, good fuel economy and smart, sporty looks. However, if rugged practicality is your thing, you might prefer the no-nonsense Skoda Yeti with its larger boot (100 litres bigger with the rear seats folded down) and keener prices. Alternatively, if you’re pondering the mid to upper reaches of the CX-5 pricelist, an entry-level (although still well equipped) premium SUV, such as an Audi Q3, BMW X1 or Mercedes GLA, may suit you better.
The CX-5 comes in five flavours: SE-L, SE-L Nav, SE-L Lux, SE-L Lux Nav and Sport Nav. We think SE-L and SE-L Nav offer the best value, being generously equipped with everything from cruise control and dual-zone air-conditioning to a seven-inch touchscreen with DAB digital radio. It's also available with all the engine options save the most powerful diesel, which is reserved for the Sport model.
The standard engines are a mix of a 2.0-litre petrol manual and a 2.2-litre diesel, offered with a choice of manual or automatic transmission. Our pick is the diesel for its excellent fuel economy, low CO2 emissions and smooth, powerful character. It suits the CX-5 very well and makes the most of the car's reasonably light weight, quick and direct steering, supple suspension and well controlled body.
The CX-5 is available with a choice of two or four-wheel drive. The former is by far the best choice. The CX-5 is no true off-roader, so four-wheel drive mainly serves to increase fuel consumption. The two-wheel-drive version has plenty of traction and feels perfectly secure on slippery roads.
The CX-5's interior is not the classiest looking, but it's roomy enough and features a few practical touches, although they’re not quite as well thought-out as those in the Skoda Yeti. The Mazda is certainly well built, a fact that contributed to the model's good showing in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The CX-5 is a safe car, too, as a maximum five-star score for crash protection from Euro NCAP demonstrates. Even the basic SE-L version has anti-lock brakes, city braking assistance, electronic stability control, hill-start assistance and tyre-pressure monitoring.
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