Has Mazda hit the jackpot again? The MX-5 Roadster has been the torch bearer for the company for the last two decades but here is a Mazda that panders to people who demand more than mere driving thrills – and they’re much harder to please.
The Mazda CX-5 has dimensions that put it close to compact SUV territory but that’s no bad thing if you need interior space. Its 503-litre boot takes care of luggage and the CX-5’s cabin is both well equipped and solidly constructed. And while we’re not sold on the exterior styling, after a turn behind the wheel it’s hard not to be impressed.
Not only does its manual gearbox share the slick the feel and sporty feel of the MX-5 but its clever Sky-Active engine technology does wonders for fuel economy, without sacrificing performance. The entry-level 2.2 D accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and has CO2 emissions of 119g/km; the cleanest 4WD version manages 9.4 seconds and 136g/km respectively.
Suspension that soaks up bumps superbly and prices that will have even Skoda and Kia dealers worried ensure the Mazda is a convincing family choice. We rated it as Best Crossover in the 2013 Auto Express New Car Awards – and that's no mean feat given how competitive the crossover class is. It also came fifth in our Driver Power Top 100 – making it one of the most satisfying cars around to own.