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Mazda's CX-5 is one of ther most efficient of the new wave of compact SUVs and Crossover models and it may very well be the best car of this kind you can buy, especially in revised form with extra equipment. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.
The market's fastest growing segment right now is that for Qashqai-like Crossovers and compact soft-roading SUVs. If you want something that offers the best of both and offers the finest driving dynamics, the lowest running costs, the most space and arguably the best value in the class, then it's hard to ignore this one, Mazda's CX-5, recently improved with significant specification upgrades. Not the first car of this sort you thought of is it? But try one and you might just think it to be the best.
So what is Mazda's CX-5? A soft-roading RAV4 or Freelander-style compact SUV with at least a modicum of off road gumption? Or the or the kind of family hatchback-on-stilts the industry calls a 'Crossover', Qashqai or Peugeot 3008-style models better suited to Sainsburys than the Serengeti? I'm going to let you make up your own mind of that one. Probably, the definition doesn't matter. Depending on your preference, you could pigeonhole this CX-5 either way -which is exactly as Mazda wants it. That's why it's created modestly powered entry-level 2WD versions for school run mums. And pokey all-wheel driven variants with a tougher remit further up the range. Here's a brand reaping the benefits of late arrival to this particular party. A maker that's looked carefully at what's available, what buyers want and what they actually need. A measured approach that ought to pay dividends - and will need to in the face of crowded competition for sales of cars of this kind. Let's judge this CX-5 on its merits.
Like so many other things about the CX-5, the driving experience may not instantly grab you as being unique right at first: it's only when you spend some time with it that you appreciate what it can do. For a start, I can't think of any other compact 4x4 or Crossover model that covers ground quite so effortlessly. The 150PS 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D engine we tried isn't short of pulling power and with 0-62mph taking just 9.2s, it's 25% quicker than a comparable Freelander. If you want to go faster, there's a 175PS version of this unit. And a 165PS 2.0-litre petrol powerplant for entry-level 2WD customers. But it isn't the sheer straightline speed that you really remember after spending some time in this machine: it's the way it rides and responds. Take the steering. It's an electric set-up, so you don't initially seem to get quite the level of feel that some of the better hydraulic systems used to have but adjust, as you can quickly, and you'll find yourself using it to place this car through corners with real precision, especially since Mazda improved matters by introducing a revised suspension set-up with re-tuned dampers, bushes and stabilisers which improve driving dynamics by delivering increased ride comfort and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. And off road prowess? Well, as with the systems employed by most of its rivals, this car has a set-up in which the torque is automatically split according to the terrain you're on, so it can direct 100% of drive to the front wheels in normal conditions, with up to 50% then directed to the rear wheels if slip is detected.
Externally, what we've ended up with is a smart and certainly contemporary-looking Crossovery compact 4x4, if not a visually arresting one. But even if the shape isn't especially memorable, its aerodynamics are, an excellent drag coefficient of just 0.33cd helped by wing mirrors that are mounted directly onto the door shoulders and a rear roof-mounted wing that streamlines the flow of air over the car. The cabin isn't as obviously 'styled' as some of its main rivals but the piano black inserts and chrome splashes look good in a low key kind of way. The materials quality is especially impressive on the upper dashboard, though not quite so eye-catching lower down with slightly lower grade panels that Mazda will doubtless justify as part of this car's weight loss plan. There are certainly plenty of switches - 55 in all, not counting the chunky column stalks - but it's pretty easy to adjust to the way everything works. And in the back? Well, like most models in this segment, this one doesn't offer a seven seat option, but the rear bench is one of the most accommodating in the class. Out back, once you've raised the rear hatch and admired a tonneau cover that neatly opens and closes together with the tailgate, you'll find a luggage bay that's the largest in the class, measuring 503-litres, a figure that extends to 1,620-litres when you drop the Karakuri rear seats.
List pricing sees CX-5 ownership pitched in the usual £22,000 to £30,000 bracket for cars of this kind. The range is available in three grades -SE-L, SE-L Lux and Sport Nav. The line-up also offers three 2.0 litre petrol two-wheel drive variants equipped with six-speed manual transmissions, plus thirteen 2.2 litre diesel versions - six of which are available with all-wheel drive - fitted with a choice of six speed manual or automatic transmissions. If having done your homework and made the comparisons, all that makes sense, then you'll need to allow a £1,600 premium to go from the 2.0-litre petrol model to the lower powered 150PS version of the 2.2-litre diesel that most will want. This is the only engine in the range that can be mated to both two and four-wheel drive set-ups. But what about equipment? The standard equipment specification of every model in the CX-5 line-up has been enhanced through the addition of manual front passenger seat height adjustment, an electronic parking brake, a coming/leaving home headlamp function, and the company's Multimedia Commander with separate volume dial for safe, intuitive interactivity and infotainment control. A revised 7-inch, full-colour, centre console touch-screen incorporates DAB radio, two ports for USB connectivity and MZD Connect. Top-of-the-range Sport Nav models benefit from new exterior features including 19-inch Gunmetal alloy wheels, LED headlamps including LED daytime running lights, and LED foglamps. On board, an already comprehensive Sport Nav standard equipment specification has been further bolstered by a slicker Integrated Navigation system which offers greater accuracy, improved search features and three years of free map updating.
The CX-5's unexpectedly imperious progress continues when it comes to cost of ownership and this is where the SKYACTIV technology really pays off, clean enough to mean exacting Euro6 emission levels. Thanks to a weight-loss programme and a clever i-Stop start/stop system that cuts the engine when you don't need it, stuck at the lights or waiting in urban traffic, the 2.0-litre petrol model can produce the sort of economy that until recently, wouldn't have shamed a mid-sized diesel SUV, delivering 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 139g/km. Which means that the usual advice to go for the diesel if you do anything over an average annual mileage doesn't hold quite so true here. Of course, you might well want all-wheel drive, an automatic gearbox, or just need more torque for towing, in which case you'll need one of the diesel models, also equipped with start/stop. Go for a front-wheel drive 150PS variant and you'll see 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and 119g/km. Small wonder this is the big draw. Specify it with all-wheel drive and the figures are only a little worse, 54.3mpg and 136g/km, this identical to the return you'll get from an all-wheel drive diesel CX-5 with 175PS. Stick these figures alongside those of obvious rivals and typically, you're talking about being able to go 10-15 miles further on every gallon in a car that'll put out 20-30g/km less of CO2 than a directly comparable rival.
The CX-5 isn't one of those cars that jumps out at you on first acquaintance. But as with many Mazdas, its modesty hides a product packed with innovation. The result is excellent packaging, class-leading economy and emissions and driving dynamics that set a new benchmark in this sector. Add in a high specification and competitive pricing and you've a compelling proposition, especially since the recent series of trim upgrades. Nothing less was necessary given the Japanese maker's tardiness in entering this segment. The styling may not be anything special but everything else about this car is. It's yet another example of Mazda going its own way, doing things differently. Which means? Well something quite simple really. Looking for a car of this kind? Start here first.
The Mazda CX-5 is the first Mazda model to accomodate the 'KODO - SOUL OF MOTION' design, a design which has captured the hearts and minds of drivers across the world. The rest of the Mazda fold have now adopted the same design and sales figures are rising and rising. The CX-5 is also home of the SKYACTIV diesel engines which emits less co2's and uses less fuel than previous engines.
The Mazda CX-5 is revolutionary to Mazda. It is the first vehicle to use their new ‘SKYACTIV’ perspective. The ‘SKYACTIV’ approach has focused on creating more efficient cars. Mazda has achieved this by making the CX-5 lighter without losing any of the driving ability and enjoyment. The lower weight also means that the Mazda CX-5 has lower CO2 emissions and a much better fuel economy. In fact, the lowest-emitting diesel engine will manage to emit a meagre 119g/km of CO2. This is combined with a brilliantly-efficient fuel economy of 62.8 miles per gallon. Therefore, it will have low car and road tax costs. On top of this the vehicle still has front wheel drive and 148bhp. The CX-5 has also been designed using the latest shaping technology. The latest CX-5’s exterior is now one of the most aerodynamic and compact SUVs on the market. Thanks to its new, more efficient build the Mazda can handle with much more ease. It also has terrific grip and steering and firm body control. Despite this, there is still plenty of room in the back and there is even space for a 503 litre boot. The Mazda CX-5 achieved a full five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. This was helped by the CX-5’s stability control and a collection of six airbags. It also comes with a Braking system that stops the car automatically if it senses an impending collision when travelling at less than 10 mph. other Mazda technology includes dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth and cruise control.
Lease a Mazda CX-5 if you're after a SUV of substance. It looks great and drives greater. The diesel engines available delivery some class leading economy and are very light on the emissions. There are an absolute abundance of choices of CX-5 available from leather, to nav to nav and leather. You really can pick and choose what you want rather than having to take one option you didn't want just go get another. The prices for the CX-5 are also very reasonable which in most cases the only reason people need to give us a ring.
To conclude, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the premium contenders in the compact SUV market, it is one of the best looking, the SKYACTIV diesel engines are fantastic and it is reasonably priced. If you're still unsure then please free to have a look around the Mazda CX-5 car leasing hub for the latest reviews, image galleries and the high definiton video.
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