Mazda CX-5 SUV

Price  £21,895 - £29,895

Mazda CX-5 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • 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

At a glance

The greenest
2.2D 150ps 2WD Sport Nav 5dr £26,695
The cheapest
2.0 165ps 2WD SE-L 5dr £21,895
The fastest
2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav 5dr £28,695
Top of the range
2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav Auto 5dr £29,895

"Great to look at and even better to drive, the Mazda CX-5 is a brilliant family car."

The Mazda CX-5 is one of our favourite SUVs thanks to its good looks, decent performance and cheap running costs. The SUV can be had with four-wheel drive, which could prove handy if you ever have to drive on slippery surfaces, and two-wheel drive for better economy.

All the Mazda's engines are relatively cheap to run and buyers can choose between a petrol and two diesels with 148bhp and 172bhp. All the engines can be fitted with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.

The CX-5 is actually a lot of fun to drive for such a big SUV, and this is perhaps thanks to the experience Mazda has gained in fine-tuning the driving experience of the MX-5, one of the most well known sports cars ever built.

Inside the CX-5 there should be plenty of room for family life and all models come well equipped with kit such as a touchscreen and climate control.

Find out what we think is the best SUV by watching our video below.


MPG, running costs & CO2

4.7 / 5

Even the most powerful 2.2-litre diesel engine returns 54.3mpg

Go for the basic diesel Mazda CX-5 and you won’t be disappointed because it can return impressive fuel economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km so that road tax will cost just £30 per year. If you want extra ‘go’ then the more powerful diesel can still gdo 54.3mpg, while its emissions of 136g/km translate into annual road tax of £130. The petrol makes the least sense of all the engines, though it is still cheaper to run than most of its rivals.

Mazda also offers a fixed-price servicing scheme that covers your car's regular maintenance for three years, and owners can also choose to pay this in monthly instalments rather than as a lump sum.

Interior & comfort

4.1 / 5

Front seats offer lots of adjustment, and headroom is generous

One of the reasons people like driving SUVs is their high driving positions that give the driver an excellent view of the road ahead, and that's one of the Mazda CX-5's best features. It also offers lots of adjustment for the steering wheel and driver's seat, so getting comfortable shouldn’t be difficult.

The diesel engines are particularly quiet and the Mazda has plenty of space for four people - however, you might find that rear elbowroom is tight even for three children in the back.

The Mazda has a dashboard that is well laid out and easy to use, while the standard-fit touchscreen system means that conventional buttons are kept to a minimum, so that most controls fall easily to hand when on the move. Some of the car's plastics, however, fall short of the quality you would find in a Volkswagen Tiguan.

Practicality & boot space

4.2 / 5

Large boot and clever touches make the Mazda CX-5 hugely practical

The 503-litre boot you get in the CX-5 is one of the biggest in its class and dropping down the rear seats, which fold 40:20:40, frees up an impressive 1,620 litres of boot space in total. Dropping the seats is easy, too, because all you have to do is pull a couple of catches in the boot. The load area also has a wide opening, and the seats fold flat into the floor, while a small load lip means sliding larger items into the back shouldn’t be overly difficult.

As we mentioned, passenger space should be fine so long as you only carry four people, but a narrow middle seat in the rear means that long journeys three abreast could feel a bit claustrophobic. This, and only an average number of cubbyholes, means you may be better with a Citroen C4 Picasso if you are looking for a really practical family car.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

Components are brand new but should prove reliable

Mazda has a good reputation for build quality and that seems to be backed up by the CX-5's showing in our 2014 Driver Power survey, where the car finished 13th out of 150 cars. In fact, the owners we asked scored the Mazda high in almost all areas, with only running costs coming in for some criticism, although even those should be better than most of the Mazda's rivals. Nonetheless, the three-year/60,000 mile warranty you get with the CX-5 isn’t as good as the seven-year cover Kia offers.

The Mazda got the full five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP and it gets standard fit items such as six airbags, electronic stability control, and a seatbelt warning buzzer that works on both the front and back seats. All Mazda CX-5s also come with city brake, which will apply the brakes if it senses a collision at speeds of up to 20mph.

Engines, drive & performance

4.3 / 5

The gearstick feels like the one fitted to the sporty Mazda MX-5

The pick of the Mazda CX-5's engine range is the 2.2-litre diesel that can be had with either 148bhp or 172bhp. Diesel's account for 85 per cent of CX-5's sales and it's easy to see why when you consider that even the basic version can get the Mazda from 0-60mph in 9.8 seconds, while still being able to return strong economy. The more powerful diesel is only slightly more costly to run, but makes up for this by being noticeably quicker. The petrol's not a bad choice either, but its higher running costs and the fact that it can get noisy means we’d ignore it in favour of one of the diesels.

The CX-5 is fun to drive on country roads, with the standard-fit manual gearbox feeling like it could have easily come from the MX-5 sports car. Add to that responsive steering and minimal body lean in the corners, and the Mazda is more enjoyable to drive enthusiastically than you might think.

Price, value for money & options

4.3 / 5

The Skoda Yeti is slightly cheaper but the Mazda is still good value

The Mazda CX-5 isn’t the cheapest car in its class, but its low running costs make up for this. All models come with dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen, stop-start technology, and all-round electric windows. Top-of-the-range models, meanwhile, add a leather interior and a Tom Tom sat-nav system.

The CX-5 is still quite a new model, so second hand prices are likely to be strong and Mazda's generally hold their values better than cars from manufacturers such as Ford, Kia and Hyundai.

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 2 reviews
  • 4.0 / 5
    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.
  • 4.0 / 5
    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 
2 May 2014

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