SHARP styling and a zest for the open road are about to make the new Mazda CX-5 SUV a super tourer.
Revamped inside and out, the second generation of Mazda's most popular model in the UK takes the Japanese car maker another rung up the ladder.
The CX-5 has always been a trailblazer and was the first to feature Mazda's fuel efficient SKYACTIV technology and its Kodo design theme which makes its models some of the best looking cars of today.
The new model takes that a step further with slimmer light clusters and less fuss in the body lines while the interior has also moved upmarket.
It is now nudging into premium territory and that's reflected in the price which in the case of the range topping all-wheel-drive diesels has now broken the Â£30,000 barrier.
The new CX-5 line up now starts at Â£23,695 for a 2.0-litre front wheel drive petrol version - an increase of some Â£1,100 - and tops out at Â£31,395 for a high specification 2.2-litre diesel with 175ps on tap.
A range topping automatic will be another £1,800, a delicious metallic red paint job will add £800 and a full set of techno options including adaptive LED headlights and a radar operated cruise control will stick another £1,600 on the price.
Even so the CX-5 is hugely competitive and now has to be considered a real alternative to the likes of an Audi Q3 or a BMW X1.
In terms of refinement the new CX-5 has come on leaps and bounds.
Comfort levels are high, the rear seats are now reclinable and the cabin is of genuine family proportions. So is boot space which ranges from 506 to 1,620 litres.
The line up comprises just two trim levels - SE-L Nav and Sport Nav - and all versions come with the likes of sat nav, a seven-inch colour touchscreen and an auto hold function for the electronic parking brake.
Sport Nav grade costs £3,000 more and includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a power operated tailgate, a rear view camera and a head up display for the driver which is now projected on to the windscreen.
There's also heated front seats, a de-icer for the wipers, a Bose sound system and a heated steering wheel.
Good road manners have always been one of Mazda's strengths and the new CX-5 has surprisingly sporty characteristics for an SUV.
While the engines are the same as those used in the CX-5 since 2012, the newcomer is fitted with Mazda's G-Vectoring system which optimises power to the wheels and it feels sharp, precise and nicely agile.
The bigger diesel engine elicits lively performance with a 0 to 60 time of nine seconds for a six speed manual. Top speed is 129mph and with stop/start fitted to all engines, emissions are rated at 142g/km which is the equivalent of 52.3mpg.
We saw an average of 48.5 to the gallon and that's very respectable for a 4x4 of such proportions which felt very crisp and lively.
The 175ps diesel is available only in the Sport Nav CX-5 with a 150ps variant used across the range and priced from £25,695 in two wheel drive set up.
On paper it's the most fuel efficient with an official return of 56.5mpg while the 165ps petrol model is rated at 44.1mpg with a CO2 figure of 149g/km.
Over similar routes we saw an average of 44 from the 150ps diesel and 41 from the petrol and of the three engines the CX-5 felt its best with the more powerful diesel.
As such it proved an exceptionally competent all rounder and lapped up the miles in considerable comfort.
Of the current crop of SUVs this is up with the best and with its impressive looks and all round demeanour the new CX-5 has stand out qualities of its own.