Mazda CX-5 Sport Nav AWD £31,395
WE SAY: PAY ATTENTION, FOLKS – IT’S ANOTHER GOOD CAR FROM MAZDA
Before the old CX-5 arrived in 2012, Mazda was looking a bit stagnant. The Mazda3 of the era was only mediocre, the MX-5 wasn’t as good as you might think and though the Mazda2 drove well, everyone ignored it and bought Ford Fiestas. Today, things are diferent. The current 2,3, 6, CX-3 and MX-5 – all launched since the original CX-5 – are properly good things. There’s not a dufer in the range, making Mazda more or less unique.
This is the ‘all-new’ version of the car that started that renaissance, the car that accounts for around a quarter of Mazda’s worldwide sales. Of course, it isn’t all-new. It’s based on the same platform as the car it replaces, and the engines are carried over pretty much wholesale (the big-selling diesels are especially good). But much is diferent. It’s 10mm longer, 35mm lower and much sharper-looking thanks to squintier head- and tail-lights, a longer bonnet (the A-pillar has moved 35mm further back) and wider grille. This is a good-looking car, no doubt.
Things have improved inside too. The space-gain is marginal (not a problem – it was fne before), but the design is leaps and bounds ahead of the old car, which sufered from cheap-feeling and -looking materials. Even the pre-production CX-5s we’ve driven here felt more expensive. And, like the car it replaces, the drive is an entertaining one. The 5’s structure is 15 per cent stifer, and the steering, suspension, brakes and (optional) AWD have all been refned. Something called G-Vectoring Control apparently eliminates the need for tiny steering corrections. The result is a car with commendable body control that steers faithfully, grips diligently and rides pliantly. It really is right up there with the best-in-class.
Our choice is the cheaper of the two diesels. It isn’t much slower than the range-topper, and you can have it with FWD for better mpg and CO2. Avoid the 2.0-litre N/A petrol. Works for the MX-5, but lack of mid-range grunt irks in a car like this.
Best-looking car in its class? Yeah, we reckon it is. Pretty