The CX-5’s slightly stiff suspension makes it feel nimble and nippy. Unfortunately, it’s a little bumpy on poorly maintained roads
You can get the Mazda CX-5 with one petrol and two diesel engines. Pay a little extra and you can have an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, too.
Pick the 2.0-litre petrol model if you do most of your driving around town. It doesn’t have quite the same punch as the turbocharged diesels but it’s slightly quieter at slow speeds. It’ll return around 40mpg in normal conditions, compared to Mazda’s claimed 47.1mpg.
One of the two 2.2-litre diesels will be a much better bet if you do lots of motorway miles. The 150hp car is a touch more frugal than the 175hp version (it’ll return a claimed 56.5mpg to the more powerful car’s 54.3mpg) but has no trouble keeping up with fast moving traffic.
It’s not quite as quiet around town as the petrol version but it’s impressively smooth for a diesel and settles into a reasonably quiet cruise once you’ve picked up some speed.
The 175hp car comes as standard with four-wheel drive which, combined with its more powerful engine, will prove handy if you regularly tow trailers or carry plenty of luggage.
It’s no olympic sprinter, but the CX-5 feels much more athletic than most high-riding family SUVs – like a world-class shot putter compared to the Skoda Kodiaq’s couch potato
The standard six-speed manual gearbox in the Mazda CX-5 is smooth and easy to use but both diesel models are offered with an optional automatic gearbox. It’ll set you back £1,500 on two-wheel drive models and £1,800 on versions with four-wheel drive but it helps take the stress out of long journeys and heavy traffic. It’s much smoother at slow speeds than the VW Tiguan’s slightly jerky DSG automatic, too.
The raised seating position in the Mazda CX-5 gives you a good view out over the road ahead and its fairly slim pillars beside the windscreen don’t produce any particularly large blindspots at junctions.
Its large rear windscreen and square side windows make parking relatively easy too, and all models come with front and rear parking sensors as standard. For a little extra peace of mind, Sport Nav models come with a reversing camera, too.
The Mazda CX-5’s slightly stiff suspension helps make it more fun to drive than most large SUVs. Its tall body doesn’t lean much in corners and its sharp, responsive controls make it almost as grin-inducing as the smaller and lighter SEAT Ateca on a twisty back road.
Unfortunately, the 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to Sport Nav models highlight bumps and potholes more than the smaller 17-inch wheels on SE-L Nav versions. The larger wheels also produce quite a lot of tyre roar at motorway speeds but wind noise is mostly muted.
The Mazda CX-5 hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP but all models come with automatic emergency braking – a system that’ll apply the brakes if it detects an imminent collision – as standard. You can get adaptive cruise control for £800 on top-spec Sport Nav models too, for a little extra peace of mind.