Mazda CX-5 SUV

Price  £22,295 - £30,595

Mazda CX-5 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • 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 greenest
2.2D 150ps 2WD Sport Nav 5dr £27,195
The cheapest
2.0 165ps 2WD SE-L 5dr £22,295
The fastest
2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav 5dr £29,395
Top of the range
2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav Auto 5dr £30,595

"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.


MPG, running costs & CO2

4.7 / 5

The Mazda CX-5 employs the brand’s SKYACTIV technology to offer running costs comparable to those of a regular family hatchback

Engines, drive & performance

4.3 / 5

The Mazda CX-5 is a fast and fun-to-drive family car that leaves most of its rivals standing

Interior & comfort

4.5 / 5

The Mazda CX-5 is quiet and comfortable, but interior quality is a bit disappointing

Practicality & boot space

4.2 / 5

The Mazda CX-5 has a large boot and plenty of practical touches inside

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Owners have reported few problems with the Mazda CX-5 and it has an excellent safety rating, too

What the others say

4.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
“A pleasing blend of sharp handling, top-notch quality, punchy SKYACTIV engines, low running costs and family-friendly practicality.”
5 / 5
“The Mazda CX-5 gives you lots of interior space and equipment for a reasonable price. It also gives you class-leading figures for emissions and fuel economy and the diesel engine is a real peach.”
4.5 / 5
“The petrol engine can be noisy when worked harder and the automatic gearbox is sometimes slow to react, but most buyers will choose the diesel engine with manual gearbox and enjoy the CX-5 at its best.”
What owners say 
4.3 /5 based on 129 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
10 Mar 2015
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