At last, I’ve finally got hold of the keys to our new Mazda CX-5. I’ve been looking forward to running this stylish crossover ever since it beat the Skoda Yeti and Kia Sportage in its first group test.
Driving it through the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands gave me a taste for the car’s refinement, comfort and top- notch quality. But how will it fare in the less stunning surroundings of the south-east of England, where I do most of my driving?
Well, the chunky CX-5 certainly has plenty of kerb appeal, particularly in its optional £520 Sky Blue Mica metallic paint. Franchise Manager Gordon Parker of TW White and Sons of Bookham, Surrey, was kind enough to talk me through all the bells and whistles that come as standard on our 2.2D SE-L Nav 148bhp 2WD manual, which Mazda believes will be the best seller. Climate control, Bluetooth and sat-nav all feature, while the quality of the cabin compares well with premium rivals.
Another major highlight is the car’s SkyActiv technology, which helps deliver incredibly low CO2 emissions of 119g/km and claimed fuel returns of 61.4mpg.
While other manufacturers have gone down the electric or hybrid route, Mazda has been busy developing a series of new, lightweight, traditional internal combustion engines to create better all-round efficiency, but without compromising on performance.
The CX-5 doesn’t feel like an eco-friendly special on the move, as the diesel engine delivers smooth and gutsy acceleration. And even on my congested commute, the barely run-in Mazda is delivering a decent 42mpg.
It’s not all been plain sailing, though. Within days of collecting the CX-5 it developed a rattle which sounded like it was coming from the driver’s door. I popped back to TW White and asked its technicians to take a quick peek. It turns out a fixing in the offside front wing was a little loose, but a quick tweak with a screwdriver restored calm to the cabin.
The only other niggle is the amount of time Mazda’s i-Stop stop-start system takes to fire up. It’s not as quick as some rivals, as the clutch has to be pushed all the way to the floor before the engine restarts. This means I often have to take two stabs at the pedal before getting going.
Still, this hasn’t stopped me enjoying the car on the move, especially the quiet and refined interior, comfortable seats and commanding driving position. My two-year-old grand-daughter Evie is a fan of the car’s elevated ride height, as it enables her to see out of the windscreen.
I’m particularly looking forward to making use of the generous 503-litre boot. With all the rain and sunshine my garden has gone berserk, so a trip to the local tip is overdue. In the Suzuki Swift I ran previously, I’d have needed two trips to the dump to deposit all the cuttings and weeds, but the CX-5’s large load area and neat 40:20:40 split rear seat mean that I’ll only have to make one visit.
So it’s all been very positive so far, and I’m looking forward to spending the next 12 months getting to know our Mazda.
“The new 2.2-litre diesel is a masterpiece. It’s smooth, refined and punchy, yet delivers economy that shames smaller cars.“
James Disdale Road test editor
“On my way to test an Evoque, I popped into my local Mazda dealer to look at a CX-5. It’s fun to drive, economical and stylish. I was so impressed I placed my order there and then.”
Wilx42 via www.autoexpress.co.uk