Motoring – Road Test by Mark Slack: Mazda CX-5

Motoring - Road Test by Mark Slack: Mazda CX-5. Image - Mazda

Mazda CX-5 – a clever more discerning choice. Mazda has always been a clever, more discerning choice of car no matter which model you opt for from the sales brochure.

The rise of SUVs has also seen changes in Mazda’s line up with a third of the model line-up now being SUVs. In addition to the usual petrol and diesel combustion engines there is all-electric power along with plug-in and mild hybrid options. The CX-5 is a Mazda’s medium sized SUV that while only a 5-seater feels very spacious inside and handles much more crisply than you would expect of an SUV.

Prices start at €34,572/£29,245 and even the lead-in model offers a good standard specification. Engine choices are 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol, 2.2-litre diesel in two power outputs and unusually all the engine choices are naturally aspirated i.e. no turbochargers. Added to the engine choices are options for manual or automatic gears and two or four-wheel-drive.

My test model was a higher trim GT Sport model with 2.5-litre petrol power, automatic gears and all-wheel-drive. One thing that has always set Mazda apart is the excellent build quality and although the CX-5 it doesn’t carry a premium badge it has a very premium drive. On the road the CX-5 handles better than you might expect for an SUV and the steering makes for a surprisingly precise drive.

The 2.5-litre engine in the test model performs well enough but doesn’t have the urge of a turbocharged unit so requires a slightly different style of driving. It’s a nice pairing with the 6-speed automatic gearbox though with responsive changes that make light work of busy journeys.

Inside there are many welcome touches from a sensibly laid out facia with buttons – so hurrah for a lack of over digitalisation that involves multiple menus for every minor task – to a plethora of soft touch materials. It gives a quietly comfortable and high quality feel to the interior. Occupants are afforded a commendably lofty view from the multi-adjustable front seats and excellent interior space makes for an airy feel despite the sombre tones of the test car’s interior.

At not far short of €47k/40k my top line CX-5 is perilously close to premium machinery like BMW and Audi SUV models, but it more than holds its own against these premium German rivals. The decision hinges on whether you value a badge more than a greater perceived presence, and arguably a more honed driving experience. I think the smart money might well head east.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Mazda CX-5 GT Sport AWD Auto

Price: €46,957/£39,725

Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol

Gears: 6-speed automatic with all-wheel-drive

Performance: 0-100 kph (62 mph) Petrol 9.3 secs

Maximum Speed Petrol 195 kph (121 mph)

Economy: Petrol 8.0 l/100km (35.3 mpg) WLTP

Emissions: 182 g/km WLTP

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.


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