Stuart Milne
25 May 2012

What is it?

The headline-grabbing Mazda CX-5 with CO2 emissions of 119g/km. Together with a claimed 61.4mpg on the combined cycle, it represents the lowest running costs of any model in the range. That not only makes the diesel with the lowest power output the most appealing model in the range for most pockets, but also arguably the most appealing in its segment.

Key to these remarkable running costs is Mazda’s SkyActiv technology. The new line of engines has an exceptionally low compression ratio of 14:1, which allows an improved fuel/air mixture. The block is 10 per cent lighter than the standard 2.2-litre Mazda unit, and mechanical friction is reduced by 20 per cent.

The result of these advances, together lightweight structure and more efficient gearboxes, means Mazda can position the CX-5 as a genuine alternative to hybrids and electric vehicles. 

What is it like?

Wonderful, and arguably all the compact SUV you could ever need. Such are the performance and dynamics on offer – a 0-62mph time of 9.2sec is cited – that it’s easy to wonder why buyers would be tempted by the high-power, 173bhp version of the same engine.

The engine is refined, even from a cold start-up and, unless pushed hard, is hushed. Perhaps that’s why wind and road noise make themselves known at speed. It’s generally a quiet way to eat up hundreds of relaxed motorway miles.

Mazda’s Tiguan rival feels as though it has plenty of urge too. Its power delivery is smooth, with little noticeable turbo lag; the product of a twin-turbo configuration. Power is rated at 148bhp at 4500rpm, and torque hits its peak of 280lb ft between 1800 and 2600rpm.

Mazda continues its reputation of installing some of the best manual gearboxes in the business, and the six-speeder is flick-of-the-wrist slick.

The steering is communicative, although slightly artificial-feeling at times, but generally it makes the most of the CX-5 well-judged chassis. Ride is good, even on 19-inch wheels, but the thinner rubber means an increase in road noise.

Mazda has delivered a well-thought-out cabin, constructed with the quality we’ve come to expect. It’s comfortable too. Refreshingly, there is virtually no carry-over from any other model – Mazda says this is an all-new car, and it really means it. 

Should I buy one?

Yes. The low-power diesel is certainly the one to have, unless four-wheel drive is a requirement – you’ll need to step up to the 173bhp model to gain that.

The CX-5 is superbly finished, cheap to run and fun to drive. Its diesel powertrain delivers efficiency at least as good as an equivalent hybrid. We would have liked a touch more steering feel and a little less road noise, but the class has another top-level contender.

Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150PS SE-L Nav manual

Price: £23,395; 0-62mph: 9.2sec; Top speed: 126mph; Economy: 61.4mpg; CO2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 1525kg, Engine: 2191cc, in-line four cylinder; Power: 148bhp at 4500rpm: Torque: 280lb ft at 1800-2600rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
11

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1 year 47 weeks ago

Has the Qashqai been toppled?

"The new line of engines has

1 year 47 weeks ago

Sounds great.

Mazda deserve to do well with

1 year 47 weeks ago

Mazda deserve to do well with this new model.Unless it is cheaper or on a par with the Qashqai i cant see the Nissan losing out just yet Fidji

I'll wait for the facelift

1 year 47 weeks ago

The technology and driving experience sounds wonderful, I just wish Mazda had spent a bit more time on the styling. It's a little bland and some of the details like the black bar across the grill look cheap. Inside it's pleasant enough but the satnav screen looks like an after thought and the red digital clock above the climate controls just looks dated. Hardly major criticisms, but as they say, the devil is in the details.

So close !

1 year 47 weeks ago

Looking at the prototype from 2010 leave you with a sense of disappointment - that model looked 10 years ahead of its time, but the model we can buy looks, if anything, 10 years old. I test-drove the higher powered diesel model and found it to be a very rewarding drive BUT too noisey for a £25k car, and too hard-riding (though to be fair, all the reviews say that this model above rides better and is quieter than the one I drove). BUT the problem with this car - at least for me, and I suspect anyone else who wants to put children in the back - is that there is a lack of storage space and it is so dreadfully gloomy in the back that it is rather depressing. Children under, say, 10 will struggle to see anything out of the windows! There is not even an option of a sunroof (which would resolve this problem)....and yet buy this car in Autrailia and there IS a sunroof. I just don't get why SOMEONE at Mazda thought "Nah, the British won't want a sunroof". Well we do ! There is little enough sunlight in this country, and NONE makes its way into the back of the CX5!! This is a great car in many ways, but is flawed. A shame.

jer

Did't know it was a twin

1 year 47 weeks ago

Did't know it was a twin Turbo. Road noise always a downer takes away the sense of refinement. Ditto the sunroof. Seems the smaller manufactuers struggle to create some of the options german marques make a fortune on.

Great car -- hope Mazda survive

1 year 47 weeks ago

This is a really great car, and it's selling like hot cakes in it's native Japan -- 8 times as many sold in its first month on the market than Mazda had forecast, and 73% of these were diesels. Now that latter figure is really significant, as Japan is a notoriously difficult market for consumer diesel cars.

Let's just hope that Mazda's continued innovation and focus on driving dynamics can reverse its financial decline -- 1.3 billion USD was the latest loss.

Integrity Exports

 

++ Japan car auction purchasing and exporting from IntegrityExports.com ++

own one

1 year 46 weeks ago

We have driven this car for a couple of months now.First time suv buyer. 178 hp 4wd.Not top spec.Only thing missing is leather really. Very comfy round town and on a trip. We came from a Golf gti so took a little getting used to higher c of g when pressing on, on our winding roads(nz).Hifi sound is very average.Climate control needs face level outlets. Easy cruising with the motorway herd nets about 45 - 50 mpg. On a fast trip out of town i have seen 33 mpg. round town about 37ish. not bad i guess for such a lump. Above 80 mph it becomes obvious that it is a barn door aerodynamically.Overall not to bad for the money. hopefully it will be reliable unlike the golf.

auto

1 year 46 weeks ago

Auto trans is fine. Needs paddles out of town but thats all. We dont get manual option.

Overpriced and ugly, they are

1 year 45 weeks ago

Overpriced and ugly, they are the two attributes that stop me even being impressed by the technology.

 

£23K plus? Why wouldn't you buy the Kia Sportage? Or even a Kuga or Tiguan if you're spending this much.

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Our Verdict

Can efficiency-boosting SkyActiv technology help the Mazda CX-5 raise the compact crossover bar?

  • First Drive

    Mazda CX-5 2.2D Sport Nav

    The lightest, fastest, most efficient and fun to drive in the segment, the new Mazda CX-5 has been worth the wait
  • First Drive

    Mazda CX-5 2.2D Skyactiv-D FWD

    Very impressive, and highly original, technology underpins a throughly thought-out and polished machine.

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