Mazda CX-5 150ps

diesel 2WD Sport

Nav+

Mazda CX-5, front
Mazda CX-5, dynamic
Mazda CX-5, rear
Mazda CX-5, interior, rear
Mazda CX-5, interior
Mazda CX-5, boot

IT may only have been on our roads for six years or so but the Mazda CX-5 has had a big impact - selling almost 50,000 units to establish itself as the brand's most popular UK model.

Capturing the SUV Zeitgeist, the CX-5 offers the space and practicality of its burgeoning array of rivals but with considerable flair and, unlike many others, a genuinely dynamic and engaging driving experience.

Now in its second generation the Japanese car-maker is looking to build on that popularity with a revised 14-model line-up for 2019 - adding the new flagship GT Sport Nav+ grade to SE-L Nav+ and Sport Nav+ versions.

The new range-topper gets niceties such as real wood and satin chrome interior trim, Nappa leather upholstery, a black interior roof lining and LED ambient lighting to offer a feel of real luxury but all CX-5s actually come well-equipped and with a premium feel in terms of fit and finish.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard across the range and all cars also get adaptive cruise control, push-button start, digital radio, navigation, LED headlights, automatic power-folding door mirrors and dual-zone climate control.

Stepping up to mid-range Sport Nav+ adds a reversing camera, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, smart keyless entry, heated front seats and steering wheel, plus a powered tailgate and windscreen-projecting head up display.

That's a whole lot of kit for a car which can be had for less than £30,000 - and makes you wonder why Mazda sees the need for a new trim level?

Power comes from a 2.0-litre petrol or one of a couple of 2.2-litre diesel units, depending upon trim, all of which can be had with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

The more powerful diesel is mated to Mazda's intelligent all-wheel drive system for those who fancy a bit of adventure, or winter peace of mind, and all engines benefit from the marque's now-familiar Skyactiv technology, designed to reduce running costs.

This is particularly effective in the punchy diesels. The lower-powered 150ps variant offers a claimed 57.6 miles per gallon on average but still delivers some spritely performance, shifting the CX-5 from 0-62mph in a snip under 10 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph.

It's not just pace that makes this one of the most enjoyable SUVs there is to drive, though. Like all Mazda's, the CX-5 somehow seems to have been imbued with a smattering of the DNA from the ever popular MX-5 roadster.

And while a large family SUV is never going to handle like a two-seater sports car, the CX-5 certainly doesn't feel like a chunky crossover from behind the wheel, proving impressively responsive and agile for a motor of its size.

The well-weighted steering offers good feedback while cornering is assured and achieved with barely any of the typical SUV body roll, thanks in part to Mazda's clever G-vectoring control system, which ensures grip is delivered where it's most needed through bends.

To complete the driving enjoyment, the compact and snappy manual gearbox also has something of the MX-5 about it.

While the driver will certainly have a smile on his face, passengers in the CX-5 won't be left disappointed either.

There is good head and leg room for four adults to travel in comfort and plenty of storage cubbies around the well-appointed cabin, while extensive soundproofing and a sophisticated suspension ensure a smooth and quiet ride.

At 506 litres, the boot is around the standard for the class and big enough to cope with weekly shopping trips and family holidays. Drop the three-way split rear seatbacks down with the flick of a lever in the boot and load capacity rises to an Ikea-friendly 1,620 litres.

FAST FACTS

Mazda CX-5 150ps diesel 2WD Sport Nav+

Price: £29,895

Mechanical: 150PS, 2,191cc diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual transmission

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 128g/km

Bik rating: 30%

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