Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 Sport Nav AWD £31,395



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

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