New & improved & much better than before !
When it was launched back in 2012, the Mazda CX5 had a London Olympiads worth of praise & honours bestowed upon it, as it hit the ground running, with Mazdas new SKYACTIV technology to the fore.
Fast forward to 2017 & Mazda have given the CX-5 an overhaul, partly to keep up with the competition & partly because the cross-over sector has become incredibly important, with 20% of UK Mazda sales coming from the current CX-5. In the five years since it was launched, UK customers have bought almost 35,000 of them, with 46% of those sales coming from the fleet sector. Unsurprisingly, 84% were diesel & 62% 2WD, so Mazda are predicting that the best seller from the new model range will be the 2.2 diesel 2WD 150PS version.
Mazda have kept the new model range simple. Two specs, SE-L Nav or Sport Nav, powered by either one petrol, a 165PS 2WD manual, or two diesels the 150PS available in 2WD & All wheel-drive as manual or auto & a larger 175PS with AWD only. Prices range from £23,695 for the petrol 2WD SE-L Nav up to £33,195 for the range topping 175PS AWD diesel Sport Nav auto.
Company Car & Van drove both the petrol & the 150PS diesel versions, with both benefitting from the enhancements that Mazda have made to the new model.
There’s an all-new interior featuring higher quality plastics & soft-touch leather, a new steering wheel, a re jigged centre console plus wood & metal interior panelling. The old CX-5 was good looking, but the upgrades to the new model make it look even better ! The exterior has been sharpened with sleeker sides, a lower roofline, slim-line front & rear lights & an uncluttered front end, that really shows off the new CX-5’s design, whilst remaining loyal to Mazda’s design ethos.
All models feature LED headlights, auto power folding mirrors, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio with a 7″ colour touchscreen display with Mazda’s integrated SatNav system. Step up to Sport Nav & you’ll add a reversing camera, an 8 way power adjustable drivers seat, Smart keyless entry, heated front seats & steering wheel, a power lift tailgate & a new heads up display featuring Traffic Sign Recognition.
Enter the car & the internal proportions are impressive. There’s loads of headroom all around & plenty of room for 3 averaged sized adults in the back. The boot itself has 506-litre volume with the seats in place & loaded to the roof with the seats down there’s a huge 1,620 litres of luggage space. Moreover, the use of a 9 mm thinner boot floor board allied to the reorganisation of the tool storage layout has increased the under-floor storage volume from 10 to 30 litres. There’s also the addition of new floor-mounted cargo net hooks.
We tested the new CX-5 in the Highlands of Scotland, which meant plenty of single lane driving across the Cairngorns, as well as some busier A roads between Inverness & Aberdeen. Sitting in the driver’s seat as we made our way through Aviemore, I found it a good place to be. The CX-5 still handles well, perhaps enhanced by a chassis that has more than 50% new components, the development of the all-new Mazda CX-5 has seen Mazda’s engineers work to deliver an SUV that takes the Jinba Ittai car-and-driver-as-one design and engineering philosophy to the next level. This includes enhancements to the responsiveness & controllability through of the all-new SKYACTIV-BODY and SKYACTIV-CHASSIS, complimented by the introduction of G-Vectoring Control (GVC), the first of Mazda’s SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMIC technologies.
Mazda engineers have also upgraded the steering, suspension & brake systems, to enhance the handling & the stability the previous CX-5 was known for. They’ve also concentrated a lot of their efforts on making the CX-5 quieter to inhabit on the road, with particular emphasis the reduction of low frequency road noise & high frequency wind & tyre noise when driving at speed. Measures to reduce wind noise began with the aerodynamic styling of the body itself, which is designed to suppress air turbulence. The windscreen wiper stowage position is located below the surface extension of the bonnet & both door mirrors & A-pillars are aerodynamically shaped to reduce wind noise. Door and garnish gaps have also been minimised & both the doors and tailgate benefit from parting sealant.
Whilst the new CX-5 looks & feels better, the petrol powered engine lacks any mid-range pulling power. With just two of us on board, it really struggled to get up long inclines without dropping down a gear. It’s perfectly capable on the flat & will do an every-day job for you, including on the motorway. But, if you are looking to drive through hilly areas or to tow, the petrol engine may not be right for you. The petrol unit comes with a top speed of 125 mph & a 0-62 mph time of 10.2 seconds. Emissions are high at 149g/km & the claimed economy for the combined cycle is 44.1 mpg- we averaged 40.1 mpg-.
We also drove the identically specced, 2.2 SKYACTIV 2WD diesel Sport Nav 150PS manual, which handles just as well as the petrol model, but offers far better mid-range power, especially useful as we drove past the Queens house at Balmoral & in the real world, for overtaking on the motorway. It’s quicker, 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds with a top speed of 127mph, offers better emissions, 132g/km & returns better combined fuel economy as well, 50.4mpg – we averaged 43.2 mpg- al of which made it my favourite of the two we tested.
For company car drivers though, it’s perhaps not such an easy choice. The media is busy bashing diesels, so petrol is flavour of the month. The entry level 2.0 SE-L Nav CX-5 costs £23,695, whilst the equivalent 2.2 diesel SE-L Nav costs £25,695, that’s £2000 more. Of course, it’s not that simple, because no doubt Mazda will incentivise fleet customers on the diesel model, it is after all projected to account for 80% of CX-5 sales & the tax man still loves diesels more than the London Mayor ! From a purely drivers point of view I preferred the diesel, which gave me just a bit more power when required.
Company Car really liked the first CX-5 & although the upgrades to the new model may not appear to be that great when you first look at them. But, add all of these up & it has actually been improved. For example, on my previous drive in the old CX-5 in which I drove over 400 miles, half of that on the motorway, I managed to average just 35mpg, whilst the new model on A roads & winding , hilly B roads, returned 43.2mpg. It’s also more attractive both inside & out, offers more up-to-date tech that works really well & is also like all Mazda’s, is great fun to drive. On the negative side, it’s more expensive than the Nissan Qashqai & KIA Sportage & the 165PS petrol engine won’t be for all.
For Shallow- Hals like myself, what makes the CX-5 stand out from the competition, is that it looks fantastic, an amalgam of the Jaguar F-Pace & Maserati Levante, which has to be a good thing !
The new CX-5 proves that you can have an SUV that is actually good to drive, with good fuel economy, that looks special.
A Sterling Cooper Draper Price 4 out of 5