THEY like to do things their own way at Mazda, and the Japanese company’s penchant for individuality is to be welcomed. After all, if it wasn’t for the MX-5, introduced in 1990, the affordable soft-top sports car, as a genre, would probably be extinct. Then there’s the manufacturer’s expertise in rotary engines, which began with the Cosmo Sport in 1967 and latterly gave us the delicious-to-drive RX-8. Something of that willingness to be different can be savoured in the newly upgraded CX-5, to be seen in increasing numbers on our roads. Flush Magazine took the opportunity to check out the five-door, five-seater SUV-crossover on a week-long road test.The sports utility vehicle and its spin-offs have rapidly become the latest must-have for motorists and virtually every manufacturer wants a piece of the action.
Mazda’s contribution is an accomplished one in terms of style, driving qualities and, most particularly, the 2.2-litre diesel engine.
Herein lies the difference, as the power unit is an integral part of SKYACTIV – the company’s radical efficiency-boosting and weight-saving programme which uses advanced engine, transmission and chassis technology.
So the car benefits from CO2 emissions of 119g/km but without sacrificing power and performance. It is a sweet motor, surely one of the quietest, most refined and responsive diesels around.
Four-wheel drive comes as an on-demand system, with sensors monitoring each wheel for slippage and reducing or increasing power as appropriate. Under normal driving conditions, the car is front-wheel drive only, with a maximum power split of 50/50 to front and back wheels. Useful technology abounds. A clever touch is a clutch-restart system, fitted as standard. If the driver stalls the engine he simply needs to depress the clutch within three seconds and the engine will automatically re-start, without needing to start manually.
And all CX-5s are equipped with ‘smart city brake support’, which helps a driver to avoid a low-speed (up to 19mph) frontal collision by activating the brakes and reducing engine power if the system detects a collision is likely. On the practicality front, there are three-piece independent 40:20:40 remote-controlled fold-down seats, complemented by a load cover that opens and closes together with the tailgate, and the large boot has a flat loading lip.
The SKYACTIV bit extends to exterior design, with slick lines paying aerodynamic dividends. Standard kit includes push-button engine start-stop, dual-zone climate control air-con, Bluetooth, cruise control, dusk-sensing lights , rain-sensing front wipers, heated folding electric door mirrors, privacy glass, leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, and ceiling console with sunglasses holder.
Our car, a Sport Nav AWD, also benefited from bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system, reversing camera, posh sat nav and leather upholstery. The cabin was well finished, with tactile surfaces, but a splash of bright trim would not have gone amiss.The CX-5 has 20 variants, priced from £21,595 on the road, and with lots of load capacity, enjoyable handling and supple ride here’s a most versatile motor … with individuality.
Make/model Mazda CX-5 2.2 AWD Sport Nav Diesel.
Technical: 2191cc, 175bhp diesel engine.
Performance: 0-62mph, 8.8 seconds, top speed, 129mph.
Fuel: 54.3mpg (combined).
Price: £28,695 OTR.
For more info visit www.mazda.co.uk