Mazda CX-5 SUV

Price  £23,195 - £30,995

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

Our Pick
2.2D 150ps 2WD SE-L Nav 5dr £24,995
The greenest
2.2D 150ps 2WD Sport Nav 5dr £27,495
The cheapest
2.0 165ps 2WD SE-L Nav 5dr £23,195
The fastest
2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav 5dr £29,795
Top of the range
2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav Auto 5dr £30,995

“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.

The CX-5 should also hold its value well, even when up against premium against rivals like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

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 decent blend of sharp handling, top-notch quality and low running costs gift the Mazda a place at the top of the SUV tree.”
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 
4.2 /5 based on 136 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
21 Jan 2016
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