This is a good choice if you’re after a slightly bigger car – a very good choice indeed. It looks superb and is complimented by a list of cracking standard features. How does parking sensors, automatic headlights, climate control, and a 5.8” colour display sound to you? If it’s got you tempted then get in touch today – there’s a Mazda CX-5 contract hire option that works for you.
The original version of this CX-5 was one of the very best mid-sized SUVs to drive, this one still is. As before, much of this is due to Mazda’s clever ‘SKYACTIV Technology’, a programme aimed at making the Japanese brand’s models more efficient and more responsive to drive, primarily through reductions in weight. This time round, as before, Mazda talks of this SUV carrying over some of the DNA of its MX-5 sportscar and there’s certainly something of that in the sharp steering and the snikerty slick-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox. Much else is carried over from before too, few changes having been made either to this Crossover’s basic platform or its engine line-up, which remains fairly limited with a single normally aspirated 165PS 2. 0-litre petrol unit and a 2. 2-litre turbo diesel, available with either 150PS or, as in this case, 175PS.
With either diesel, you get a choice of front wheel drive or AWD and the option of auto transmission if you want it. The volume 150PS ‘SKYACTIV-D’ unit manages 56. 5mpg and 132g/km of CO2 in front-driven, manual form. As for the dynamic improvements made this time round, well the body’s 15% more rigid and Mazda’s clever ‘G-Vectoring Control’ system has been adopting to improve cornering traction. The dampers have been tweaked to take the firm edge off the ride and lots of efforts have been made to improve refinement, including the addition of a ‘Natural Sound Smoother’ system to the diesel engine. As before, the optional AWD system is faster-reacting than rival set-ups, using a network of sensors to predict any potential lack of grip, at which point up to 50% of torque can be directed rearwards.
This second generation CX-5 is a lower, sleeker thing than its predecessor, further developing the so-called ‘KODO’ ‘Soul of Motion’ design philosophy that defined the look of the previous model.
Take a seat at the wheel and you’re treated to a master class in how it’s possible to completely change the look and feel of this part of the cabin without altering any of its essential dimensions or hard points. Two things are primarily responsible for this and the first change is predictable given the fact that interior quality was one of the original CX-5 model’s biggest flaws. This time round, it’s a very different story, with an up-market feel that’s clearly been inspired by the German brands that Mazda wants to emulate.
The other key change relates to the centre-dash ‘MZD-Connect’ colour touchscreen that drivers familiar with other recent Mazda models will be well used to but which is new to the CX-5. The display gains new eye-line free-standing dash-top positioning, grows in size to 7-inches and grows in capability too. Incorporated features not only include standard navigation and Bluetooth connectivity but also Facebook and Twitter integration and ‘Aha’-powered internet radio streaming.
Time to take a seat in the rear, which is the point where if you’ve a family, you might notice that not all mid-sized SUVs are the same. A couple of adults might struggle a little for comfort on a longer trip, you feel like you’re in an environment that hasn’t solely been designed around the needs of children. You can stretch out a little, with proper space for your head, leg and shoulders on the more supportive rear bench.
Finally, let’s take a look in the boot. We’d expected that the relatively long length of this CX-5 would have given it a class-leadingly large boot but in actual fact, the cargo area’s 506-litre capacity merely meets the prevailing segment standard. To be fair to Mazda, the area provided is significantly bigger than the space you’d get in rival models.
The CX-5 was never one of those cars that jumped out at you on first acquaintance. But as with many Mazdas, its modesty hides a surprisingly engaging product, one that’s well packaged, nicely made and very smart to look at. Try a CX-5 for yourself and we’ve a hunch that you might end up feeling the same.