From £21,710
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
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'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.


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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

Join the debate


25 May 2012

Has the Qashqai been toppled?

26 May 2012

Sounds great.

26 May 2012

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

26 May 2012

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.

28 May 2012

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.


30 May 2012

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.

6 June 2012

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.

6 June 2012

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

10 June 2012

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.

18 February 2013

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.


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