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 a practical and economical SUV that offers stylish good looks and an enjoyable driving experience.”
The Mazda CX-5 is a convincing choice for those who desire the high driving position and ease of access that large SUVs offer. SUVs are important for carmakers: they’re extremely popular, and the Mazda CX-5 is up against excellent rivals like the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti. The CX-5 also competes with other SUVs like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage.
It's not just SUVs that the CX-5 needs to contend with, though: for the sort of money these cars cost, buyers have the option of choosing high-specification versions of traditional hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
It's a good thing, therefore, that the Mazda CX-5 makes a convincing case for itself. Its good looks are matched with impressive fuel economy and an enjoyable driving experience. That's not to say that buying a CX-5 is a no-brainer: if you want a more rugged, practical car, the Skoda Yeti's boot is 100 litres bigger than the CX-5's. If luxury appeals to you, an entry-level premium SUV like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 or Mercedes GLA is available for similar money to a top-of-the-range CX-5.
The Mazda CX-5 is available in three trim levels: SE-L Nav, SE-L Lux Nav and Sport Nav. As the names suggest, all are equipped with sat nav as standard, and even the entry-level CX-5 comes with Bluetooth phone connection, DAB digital radio and cruise control. The SE-L Lux Nav has heated leather seats and a sunroof, while top-of-the-range Sport Nav boasts an upgraded Bose stereo, LED headlights, a reversing camera and 19-inch alloy wheels. We recommend the entry-level SE-L Nav or – if leather trim is important to you and you can afford it – the SE-L Lux Nav.
CX-5 buyers can choose from a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a manual gearbox or a 2.2-litre diesel, which offers the choice of manual or automatic transmission. The diesel comes with 148bhp, although a 173bhp version is available with the Sport Nav CX-5. We recommend you choose the 148bhp diesel. It's refined and smooth, with strong fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, but also gives the CX-5 plenty of power. It suits the CX-5 perfectly, working with the car's accurate steering, agile suspension and excellent body control to provide a gratifying driving experience.
While the CX-5 is available with two or four-wheel drive, we’d advise sticking to two-wheel-drive, which provides enough grip and confidence for most drivers. Like many SUVs, the CX-5 hasn’t been designed as a true off-roader and four-wheel drive only really adds weight, complication and expense while impairing fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The CX-5 has a practical and spacious interior – and while it may not offer the luxury provided by some brands or the huge practicality of the Skoda Yeti, it's a pleasant place to sit and well laid-out. Build quality is good and Mazda ranked in the top 10 (out of 32 brands) in our most recent Driver Power customer-satisfaction survey. The Mazda CX-5 is also an extremely safe car, earning the maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash-test and coming with anti-lock brakes, city braking assistance, electronic stability control and hill-start assistance as standard.
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