Car Review: Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 2.2 AWD Sport Nav Diesel.

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 CX-5 2.2 AWD Sport Nav Diesel.

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.

Mazda CX-5 2.2 AWD Sport Nav Diesel.

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.

Mazda CX-5 2.2 AWD Sport Nav Diesel.

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).
Emissions: 136g/km.
Price: £28,695 OTR.

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Frank Turner

Frank Turner is a triple award-winning journalist and a member of the Northern Group of Motoring Writers. Contact him at