Although Mazda’s marketing department would have you believe otherwise, the thrust of the SkyActiv agenda is on making efficiency gains rather than helping you to corner the Mazda CX-5 like Kamui Kobayashi.
Shaving weight and increasing rigidity are undeniably of benefit to a car’s dynamics, but the CX-5 nevertheless sticks with credibly competent rather than invigorating.
Chiefly, that’s because the model remains a high-sided SUV with all the usual trade-offs and, while it may have been built with one eye on the kerb weight, so has most of the competition. Our benchmarked Kia Sportage may have been on the block back in 2010, but our scales revealed that, even with four-wheel drive, it was only 60kg heavier than the Mazda.
Doubtless that kind of poundage is hard-won in the longer CX-5, but it’s not enough to make the car feel any lighter than most of its mainstream rivals. Instead, confident roadholding, dutiful steering and adequate body control keep the Mazda fluid and predictable at speed.
That’s as much as can be expected, and perhaps more than has been proffered by Mazda on the comfort front. Unfairly handicapped by bigger 19-inch wheels that come as standard on upscale models, the CX-5 tends to range unhappily on its suspension as though it’s searching for a mislaid equilibrium.
Find a particularly smooth section of asphalt and it will settle down, suggesting that either it would benefit from two more inches of compliance in the tyre profile (our guess) or that it has been poorly tuned for the UK’s pitted bitumen. Either way, the car in our hands was more generally passable than outright praiseworthy.