2. Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5
3 Sep, 2014 12:00pm

Mazda can hardly put a foot wrong. Every time it launches a new model expectations are raised and the CX-5 is the latest in a series of brilliant new additions. It’s one of the biggest cars in this rundown so if you want something truly compact try it for size, but the trade-off is a spacious interior and practical 503-litre boot.

High fuel consumption and emissions usually go hand-in-hand with 4WD but Mazda’s clever Sky-Activ technology helps to keep both in check. The excellent 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel 4WD registers CO2 emissions of 136g/km, which is seriously low and makes the Mazda CX-5 a compelling choice for company car drivers.

The CX-5 is also one of the most competent cars here from behind the wheel and delivers a decent driving experience, mixing refinement, comfort and agility in equal measure - the snappy short-throw gearbox wouldn’t feel out of place in the Mazda MX-5.

You get lots of kit, too, and SE-L models come with cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and a touchscreen display all as standard.