The Mazda CX-5 doesn’t just look smart – it’s packed with loads of high-tech kit too. It’s a shame it’s not as comfortable or as roomy as some alternatives, however
The Mazda CX-5 is a sporty looking SUV that’s more fun to drive than a Skoda Kodiaq but not as spacious. You can get it with a range of engines including a 175hp diesel that comes with four-wheel drive as standard.
The Mazda’s smart exterior is mirrored by its well-equipped cabin. You get supportive seats with lumbar support as standard, plenty of soft materials and a tall centre console that makes you feel cocooned, like you’re sitting in a sports car on stilts. Its heavily recessed dials look more like something you’d find in the MX-5 sports car and its smart air vents have a cold-to-the-touch metal finish, too.
You get a seven-inch infotainment display with satellite navigation as standard. It’s not the slickest out there (and you can’t get it with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring systems) but it’s reasonably clear and you control it using either the touchscreen or an intuitive scroll wheel behind the gear lever – just like in an Audi or BMW.
Passengers in the back aren’t treated to quite as many high-tech features, but they’ll have plenty of room to stretch out. There’s more leg room than you’ll find in a Nissan Qashqai and enough headroom for your six-foot-tall friends to get comfy. A Skoda Kodiaq is much better for carrying three abreast, however.
It’s a similar story with the CX-5’s boot. Its 506-litre capacity trails the capacious Skoda by some 214 litres but it’ll still happily carry some large suitcases, a baby stroller or a set of golf clubs.
Need to carry even more? Fold the seats down in a three-way (40:20:40) split and two passengers can jump in along with some long luggage in the boot. With the back seats folded you’ll have 1,620 litres of space to fill and the Mazda’s flat floor makes it easy to slide in heavy boxes.
You can tell the CX-5 comes from a manufacturer more used to making sports cars than SUVs – it really is one of the best large family cars to drive
You can get the CX-5 with one petrol and two diesel engines. The 2.0-litre petrol isn’t particularly powerful but it’s quieter and smoother than both diesels around town. Mazda claims it’ll return 47.1mpg but expect to see around 40mpg in real-world driving.
Spend more time on the motorway? One of the two 2.2-litre diesels will be a better. The 150hp model has more than enough power to overtake slow-moving traffic and it’ll return around 50mpg in normal driving. The perkier 175hp version is a little thirstier but is a better bet if you regularly carry lots of luggage or tow a trailer because it comes with four-wheel drive as standard.
Whichever model you pick, it’s best to avoid the larger 19-inch alloy wheels. They look great but also highlight bumps in the road, especially around town. The CX-5’s suspension is a little stiffer than most large SUVs so it isn’t quite as comfortable – but it feels much sportier to drive as a result.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash tested the new CX-5 yet but it comes with plenty of safety kit as standard, including automatic emergency braking that’ll apply the brakes if it detects an obstacle in the road ahead.
The CX-5 is a stylish SUV that’s well worth considering if you’re looking for a large, stylish family car that’s both well equipped and surprisingly sporty to drive.