The second-generation Mazda CX-5 is now on sale, and our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, was among the first to test drive it at its UK media launch in Scotland.
The Japanese-made compact crossover has always been a handsome and refined car. So, it’s no surprise that, due to its blend of style, driving dynamics and economy, the Mazda CX-5 has seen 1.5 million sales globally. Mazda’s design team had its work cut out to improve something that, quite frankly, didn’t need improving. But, what they’ve done is sharpen up the crossover, so everything looks tighter and fresher.
It’s more than just a makeover, though – enhancements have been implemented all over. And that includes an all-new cabin. Designed under the notion of ‘Refined Toughness’, the latest-generation CX-5 features a lower roofline and sleeker sides. These changes emphasise its unyielding posture and sophisticated proportions. Indoors, Mazda has amalgamated scrupulous cockpit ergonomics with a classy, roomy cabin.
Born out of the Japanese automaker’s ‘Jinba-Ittai’ car-and-driver as one thinking, the new CX-5 offers fresh echelons of comfort and driver engagement. Driving the 2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav Auto, it’s obvious Mazda has also reduced vibration and noise within the cabin. I drove the model in rain-sodden Inverness – and the car managed to all but mute the sound of the rain, which was coming down like stair rods.
Even though I came across some severe car accidents, no doubt caused by aquaplaning, I was able to push the CX-5 enough to note the car’s handling precision is better than ever. In some ways, the evil Scottish weather was a blessing. Well it was for Mazda’s UK PR team – as the pounding rain forced me to fully concentrate on the test drive rather than take in the Cairngorms. The mountain range was pretty much obscured by angry clouds. So, I even became aware of the CX-5’s stiffer body rigidity, (15 per cent stiffer than the first-gen model).
But the way the new CX-5 drives is far more engaging and comfy, due to the ushering in of G-Vectoring Control (GVC). This basically mimics the weight-transfer methods racing car drivers use. It makes road cars piloted by average Joes, like you and me, handle like they’re in the hands of a pro.
Presented in two trim levels, the ten model UK line-up is available from £23,695. Both the SKYACTIV six-speed manual transmission and SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed auto feature, as does the newest generation of Mazda’s intelligent i-ACTIV all-wheel drive system. The 2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav Auto I tested is just so easy to drive. The zero to 62mph time of 10.1secs feels powerful enough, and the top speed of 124mph is more than adequate. Perhaps more importantly, you can expect up to 50mpg on an average run, while CO2 emissions are 147g/km.
All CX-5s are kitted out well, with interior equipment such as dual-zone climate control, DAB radio and a colour touch-screen display with navigation. The Sport Nav trim adds an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, a reversing camera, and Smart keyless entry. A heated steering wheel and bottom warmers on the front seats are also a bonus. But I’ve saved the best bit of kit for last – the Sport Nav trim features a head-up display that throws information straight onto the windscreen – and includes Traffic Sign Recognition. This is awesome, as it keeps you firmly absorbed on the road ahead – something I needed to be, considering the stormy weather.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for the new Mazda CX-5, if you’re in the market for a compact crossover. At £30,195 for the 2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav Auto it’s not a cheap car, but it will last you. Mazda is renowned for its bullet-proof, reliable engines, and with the way it looks, steers and handles, this is a car you’ll enjoy driving. Moreover, it’s a spacious, practical motor that doesn’t gulp down fuel. It’s also a bit different to the rather ubiquitous and often more expensive German compact crossovers out there. Why not come and visit us to test drive the new Mazda CX-5 for yourself?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Looks √
- Comfort √
- Kit √
- Handling √
- Could be faster X
Fast Facts (2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav Auto – as tested)
- Max speed: 124 mph
- 0-60 mph: 10.1 secs
- Combined mpg: 50.4
- Engine layout: 2191cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
- Max. power (PS): 150
- CO2: 147 g/km
- Price: £30,195