There are two lines to draw here. Behind one are the Mazda's admirable running costs. As we’ve mentioned, the Mazda CX-5 is capable of deeply commendable economy and its CO2 emissions are remarkable for the segment.
The headline-grabber is the 148bhp 2.2-litre CX-5 with a manual gearbox driving the front wheels. The Skoda Yeti 1.6 TDI Greenline is the only car able to trade toe to toe with the Mazda on this footing, but it offers nothing like the same performance. On the other hand, an entry-level Yeti Greenline costs nearly £10,000 less.
That’s partly to do with the strength of the yen, which hampers the price competitiveness of many Japanese-built models. The range starts at a little over £21,000, but you’ll need another £1500 to step into an entry-level diesel.
Once you’re there, though, there’s a fairly painless progression from SE-L models – which features nearly every conceivable extra bar sat-nav – to Sport, which adds those controversial 19-inch wheels and leather upholstery over the two other models. The high-output diesel is available only in Sport trim, and the only low-power unit you’ll find is the eco-friendly 119g/km model.
So in your common-or-garden diesel trim, the CX-5 is slightly more expensive than a Volkswagen Tiguan. No, that model doesn’t measure up on emissions, economy or equipment, but it’s better looking, far more pleasant inside and comes with a formidable VW badge attached.
There’s also the Kia Sportage. The Korean SUV is our beaten benchmark for part of this test, but it’s also eye-catching and capable of matching the CX-5’s kit list for far less.
But you shouldn’t lose sight of those impressive running costs: aside from the 119g/km model, the rest of the range – petrol model included – flutter between 136 and 144g/km. All of the diesels have official consumption figures in the 50-60mpg range, so reckon on real-world economy of around 10mpg less.