Mazda CX-5 2.2 150ps

2WD Sport Nav

Mazda CX-5, 2017, front, static
Mazda CX-5, SE-L Nav, 2017, front
Mazda CX-5, SE-L Nav, 2017, side
Mazda CX-5, SE-L Nav, 2017, rear
Mazda CX-5, SE-L Nav, 2017, interior
Mazda CX-5, 2017, rear seats
Mazda CX-5, 2017, SKYACTIV engine

MAZDA has really made up for lost time after being a relatively late entrant in the SUV/crossover segment.

Its first foray was the CX-7, launched in 2006 but discontinued in 2012.

It was a decent motor and I have crystal clear memories of driving it across majestic mountains in the Scottish Highlands and being impressed by its capabilities.

One of the reasons it never really took off was because for some reason or other Mazda initially offered it with just a petrol engine and no diesel.

A diesel version was subsequently made available but the CX-7 was replaced in 2012 by the CX-5, a model which has done well for Mazda and received widespread critical acclaim.

The CX-5 was an important car for Mazda, not just as its flagship SUV but also as it saw the introduction of the Japanese car maker's SKYACTIV technology, a holistic approach to weight-saving and efficiency which really helped to transform the brand.

Given it has proved such a winning formula for Mazda the CX-5 has been updated rather than dramatically overhauled for 2017.

The exterior styling has been subtly enhanced to keep it looking fresh, there's a new interior and extensive efforts have been made to improve refinement in terms of ensuring it is far quieter to drive.

Mazda designers really seem to be on the money at the moment, with the sleek and stylish Mazda6 having echoes of a Jaguar saloon about it.

The car maker's SUVs/crossovers are also good looking, with profiles that combine a purposeful element with some sporty styling, which is quite a hard trick to pull off.

The CX-5 is more the family-focused all-rounder, as opposed to the smaller CX-3.

It's a decent sized car, with a particularly roomy cabin and a generous-sized boot (506 litres).

In terms of competitors it's up against the likes of the Nissan X-Trail and Skoda Kodiaq. Compared to its rivals the Mazda certainly has plenty to offer, an attractive proposition beings its generous equipment levels.

On the inside the latest CX-5 has seen some bigger changes, with an all-new interior.

Overall it's been nicely done out, with a feel that combines both rugged and premium characteristics to great effect.

The driving position is nice and high, without being too lofty, and the front seats are both comfortable and supportive.

The switchgear and instrumentation is both modern and classy and not too cluttered, while the infotainment system is well thought-out, well laid-out and a breeze to use.

There's different ways to use it and even thought there's a requisite touchscreen facility by far the easiest and the best way to operate it is via the rotary controller just behind the gearstick.

As mentioned before the CX-5 is generously equipped whatever the trim level and all models come with sat-nav.

Other features in this car included a 10-speaker Bose sound system, DAB radio, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, power adjustable heated seats and a head-up display.

Engine-wise you can choose from a 163bhp 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.2-litre diesel which comes in two power variants - 148bhp and 173bhp.

This was the lower powered of the two diesels yet it felt more than capable, delivering power smoothly and never feeling like it was running out of puff at any point in the rev range.

One of the CX-5's great strengths is its driving dynamics. It's about as fun an SUV as you'll find to drive in this particular class.

It feels light, nimble and agile and goes round bends with very little pitch and roll.

The ride quality is on the sporty rather than the soft side but it still goes over the lumps and bumps well enough.

The CX-5 is available in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive form.

Is it worth going the extra mile and opting for four-wheel drive?

If you want the added reassurance it offers or live somewhere rural then maybe but in all honesty I would think carefully.

FAST FACTS

Mazda CX-5 2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav

Price: £28,695

Mechanical: 148bhp, 2,191cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 9.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 132g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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