By Patrick James on 2016-02-28 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Mazda CX-5 2.2 Sport
IN the fiercely contested mid-size SUV part of the market there can be few which match the Mazda CX-5 crossover.
Available in two and four-wheel drive, it is stylish, economical to run, thanks to its SKYACTIV technology which reduces weight and increases engine efficiency and reasonably cheap to buy.
It is also packed with the latest technology, including i-ACTIVSENSE safety features and internet connectivity through your smartphone, giving you access to internet radio, Facebook and Twitter.
All models are well equipped, with entry level model featuring electric windows and door mirrors, alloy wheels, cruise and climate control and radio/CD player.
Move up the range and the better the toys and goodies. This model adds leather upholstery, heated, powered driver's seat, reversing camera and premium Bose sound system with nine speakers.
There is no doubt that, just like the smaller CX-3, it is one of the best looking of its type on the roads, with sporty, sharp lines and curves, three-dimensional lighting signature LED headlights with daytime running lights and 19-inch gunmetal alloy wheels.
It looks like it has offroad capability, but the four-wheel drive version is more of a 'softroader', unlikely to spend much time in the rough stuff.
It demands attention and frequently got it. Mazda says the car exterior is based on its KODO: Soul of Motion design theme, inspired by the powerful and smooth movements of animals like the cheetah. Cut through the marketing speak and they say it is sporty and good looking and its difficult to argue with that.
The interior mirrors the sporty look, but also offers high quality fit and finish, now matching more expensive competitors in the executive class.
The dash is dominated by the seven-inch colour touch-screen which controls major functions including infotainment and connectivity while other controls are clear and legible and handily placed. Neat silver trim abounds on doors, steering wheel, rotary controls and dials.
It seats four in comfort with a fifth in reasonable comfort. Crossovers need to be practical and the Mazda delivers in spades here with it s so-called Karakuri system.
One touch to a remote lever in the luggage area or seat-top buttons allows 40:20:40 split folding.
This allows the centre section as either a fifth seat, a centre armrest with built-in cup holders or folded flat so you can transport long items. When folded flat the seating is flush with the luggage space floor. It is cavernous when everything is folded opening up stowage space from 503 to 1,620 litres
Performance from the 2.2-litre diesel engine is impressive and economical and delivering decent pace, while the clever suspension setup gives car-like handling qualities.
For a vehicle which sits higher off the road, handling is sharp and agile and is a pleasure to drive.
The 150ps power unit has plenty of urge, but for a biggish car offers excellent economy, with a claimed 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions below 120g/km. This makes it an ideal contender for a business user looking for that extra bit of practicality.
Hitting 60mph from a standing start in around nine seconds is pretty respectable and there is no shortage of torque, allowing excellent overtaking capability, especially on the motorway.
All Mazdas are safe and this model features the reversing camera, all round airbags, traction control and hill hold and lane departure warning.
An optional extra at £800 makes it safer still with the Safety Pack which includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive LED lights and rear city brake support.
Mazda CX-5 2.2 Sport Nav
Mechanical: 150ps, 2191cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 126mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 61.4
Insurance Group: 19
C02 emissions: 119g/km
Bik rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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