From £26,740
The headline-grabbing Mazda CX-5 returns the best fuel economy and lowest CO2 emissions of any model in the range, and is a top-level contender in the class

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's 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.

Stuart Milne

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

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Strawberryfarmer 8 February 2019

Awd driver

Went from diesel 6 sport nav tourer to diesel cx5 sport nav AWD.
Most dissapointing is mpg struggle to get 39 on sensible everyday mway and A road driving. Same story with guff figures for the 6, really dont know how Mazda keep getting away with it.
Other than that keep staying with them,for the all the other points which make the cars great to drive and i think ahead of competition.
foot of our stairs 18 February 2013

Own one

Come from Audi A3, wanted something more practical and bigger, so far impressed  swallows pleanty og gear and  stuff. not particularly noticed road noise, think its better than my A3 for refinemnet, particularly at modest speed its very quiet this has been commented upon by passangers

As has been noted the MPG figures are fanciful, Urban expect 35mpg, anything else low mid 40's so far, bit angry about that, some very careful driving may find getting toward 50's (I have the Auto) the upside is that it has power to spare even in the 150BHP Auto form drives like an old school petrol V8 pleanty or tourqe all the way, no weird peaks and troughs.  Driving through a wet peak dstrict very early AM even with roads felt predictable, cornering flat and exiting  with predictable dignity even if there was some drift and lift off applied to badly judged  apexes, personaly i would trade that for some easier going on pot holes and speed bumps. other than that its like anything these days jump in a you have sused it out in about 5min, having seen a few in the flesh get the grey colour with the black alloys, the colour range is not very good however.

Chip35 10 June 2012

Overpriced and ugly, they are

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.