From £27,640
The lightest, fastest, most efficient and fun to drive in the segment, the new Mazda CX-5 has been worth the wait

What is it?

We’ve already driven the CX-5 back when it was still a prototype and came away impressed, but this is our first chance behind the wheel of the finished article. It’s the first model from the firm to use all of the Skyactiv technology in one place, and thankfully for Mazda the end result plays true to our early expectations.

What’s it like?

There’s one petrol and two 2.2-litre diesel engines, the latter available with either 148bhp or 173bhp outputs. It’s the four wheel drive high power model tested here, which from the moment it’s started proves to be suitably special. There’s little in the way of clatter or vibration, even on ignition, and on the move the only noise that detracts from the experience is wind or tyre roar.

This sensation of refinement prevails all the way to the legal limit too, and the performance is almost petrol like in its style and rate of acceleration. Matched to a six-speed manual gearbox with a shift action inspired by the MX-5’s delicate lever it makes for an involving and altogether sportier driving experience than many rivals.

Unfortunately the steering isn’t quite as weighty as the early car’s helm, but though the ride remains firm and roll is admirably resisted, there is some extra compliance - even on the 19inch rims of our test car. In fact, it’s this supple suspension that really contributes to the overall experience, and you soon realise this CX-5 offers one of the most complete drives in the segment.

It’s an exciting design, both from the outside and in – the cabin is without doubt the best we have seen from the firm with quality materials and cohesive detailing. Those in the driving seat will appreciate the well-judged seating position, while those behind benefit from class leading legroom; it also trumps most rivals with its 503-litre boot space.

Should I buy one?

Overall the Mazda has what it takes – it’s one of the cleanest, fastest and most fun to drive crossovers on the market. But it’s also one of the more expensive, and that may just be enough to stop it taking top honours.

Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv-D 2.2 Sport NAV

Price: £27,595; 0-62mph: 8.8 seconds; Top speed: 129mph; Economy: 54.3mpg; Co2: 136g/km; Kerbweight: 1530Kg; Engine type: 2191cc, 4cyl, twin-turbodiesel; Power: 173bhp at 4500rpm; Torque: 310lb ft at 2,000rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Waynes World Au... 6 June 2012

Mazda CX-5

No byline, but good penwork. The CX-5 is a very important milestone for the future of Mazda in the UK - indeed, worldwide. It's a stonking SUV which should comfortably earn a place in any top three SUV shortlist. Hop over to my report on the pre-launch CX-5 VIP Preview Day held at Goodwood recently. And do yourself a nice little favour - arrange a test drive but request a '24-hour live-with' to get a proper feel for the car, on roads you use every day, then come back here and emote away!


Broughster 18 April 2012

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Sport Nav

It is also a great deal larger than a Yeti. The CX5 is nearly the same length as a BMW X3 or an Audi Q5, but the Yeti is the same length as a VW Golf...

I think Yetis are good cars, my father has one, but the boot is small (if you specify a full size spare wheel) and the restricted length means you often have to choose between people space and luggage space. The ride is a bit firm too. Standard kit is 17" wheels on the SE model, not great on something that small with a 1.2 litre engine...

Engelbert 18 April 2012

Re: Mazda CX-5 2.2D Sport Nav

It appears that Mazda may be on to winner with this one. It certainly looks nice! If it goes as well as Autocar is suggesting, I wouldn't bother with a Q3 or X3. I always wonder how much of a premium that Audi and BMW manage to attract through certain people willing to pay for badge snobbery, conspicuous consumption, image and so forth. It annoys me that such (shallow) people inhabit the planet but there's not a lot I can do myself to purge them from society. Engelbert