By Mike Torpey on 2017-11-14 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Mazda CX-5 scales
EVEN the sky may be short of the heights Mazda's new generation CX-5 can scale.
Originally launched in 2012, the original Mazda CX-5 heralded the brand's fuel-saving SKYACTIV technology as well its KODO design philosophy.
Now accounting for around 25 per cent of the company's worldwide sales, and with more than 32,000 sold in the UK, the latest all-new CX-5 is set to prove another trailblazer.
It comes with a promise from Mazda to bring a new dimension of driving pleasure to SUV buyers with a series of styling, dynamic and refinement upgrades that lifts the car into the same class as the prestige marques.
It looks that good, feels that superior and drives that well - it's a car of outstanding merit.
Regarding design, a lower roofline along with sleeker sides and a dominant front end give the car an eye-catching appeal while the interior is both high class and spacious.
In fact buyers of Sport Nav variants - higher of the two trim grades - get perforated and heated soft leather seats amongst a raft of upmarket standard kit.
It's all part of Mazda's ‘Jinba-Ittai' car-and-driver as one philosophy, aimed at improving driver engagement and comfort.
And you really notice the attention paid to reducing noise and vibration in the cabin, at the same time as feeling the precision of the steering and the slickness of the six-speed manual gearbox.
A 10-model UK range starts at £23,695, offers manual and auto transmissions plus all-wheel drive.
The engine line-up is a familiar one, carried over from the outgoing car, and kicks off with a 2.0-litre 165ps SKYACTIV-G petrol engine available in SE-L Nav and Sport Nav trim.
It comes exclusively with front-wheel drive, six-speed manual gearbox and official fuel return of 47.1mpg.
Then there's the 2.2-litre 150ps SKYACTIV-D diesel up for grabs with front-wheel drive and AWD plus a choice of transmissions and topping the range is the 2.2-litre 175ps diesel, exclusively in Sport Nav trim.
The latter is a delight to drive - sweet, precise, classy and beautifully engineered.
Space inside is more than adequate, front and back, visibility is excellent along with the raised driving position and the large boot is easily extended as the rear seats drop at the pull of a tab in the boot. There are plenty of cubbies and assorted storage spots too.
Infotainment comes via a simple to use set-up operated via a rotary controller behind the gearshift, and you can also use the touchscreen, though smartphone users wanting Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are out of luck.
All models are extremely well specced up and include LED headlights, auto power-folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio and seven-inch colour touchscreen display with sat-nav.
Sport Nav adds a reversing camera, 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and Smart keyless entry, a power lift tailgate and head-up display with Traffic Sign Recognition.
Prices range from £23,695 for a 2.0-litre 165PSps CX-5 SE-L Nav 2WD petrol model rising to £33,195 for the 2.2D 175ps Sport Nav 4WD automatic.
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