Mazda CX-5 2.0 2WD

Sport

Mazda CX-5, 2020, front, action
Mazda CX-5, 2020, front
Mazda CX-5, 2020, rear, action
Mazda CX-5, 2020, rear
Mazda CX-5, 2020, interior
Mazda CX-5, 2020, display screen

PETROL has by and large escaped the opprobrium being heaped on diesel as a fuel to power our motoring pride and joys.

But as the clamour for cars which limit their impact on the planet grows exponentially with every documentary featuring a rainforest's demise, all motor manufacturers are constantly looking at ways of making their cars cleaner.

Mazda is no different so earlier this year introduced a fuel saving cylinder deactivation system on the manual petrol version of its large CX-5 SUV that graced my drive for a week.

Basically, the idea is to shut down two of the four cylinders of the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine when you are pootling about not putting much stress on the 165ps unit.

This not only eases the pressure on your budget by saving fuel, it also sees the carbon dioxide output of the CX-5 reduce by a claimed 8g/km - measured on the WLTP cycle.

When the refined engine - linked here to a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox - is pushed hard it responds with enthusiasm powering the CX-5 to 62mph from a standing start in a shade over ten seconds on its way to a claimed top speed of 125mph. Initially the front-wheel drive motor feels quicker than the official figures suggest, although mid-range acceleration isn't quite as responsive.

For a big SUV it is a delight to drive with Mazda's designers and engineers working their usual magic to produce a car that feels planted on the road with the agility of a ballerina beneath the muscular exterior.

The steering gives a great feel for what is happening on the highway with a lots of grip in corners and negligible body roll. An efficient suspension mops up most of what passes for decent road surfaces these days ensuring a comfortable ride.

There are three trim levels available including the mid-range £30,130 Sport model I drove which adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a power-operated tailgate, a reversing camera, a heated steering wheel, a 10-speaker Bose stereo system and leather upholstery to the entry-level SE-L's front and rear parking sensors, LED fog lamps, automatic windscreen wipers, privacy glass, dual-zone climate control and lane-keeping assist.

A recent update sees the central command screen's display extended to the full extent of the monitor making it bigger and clearer. It gives access to the infotainment system via the rotary controller between the driver and front-seat passenger. The Sport model also includes a handy head-up display showing things like speed, lane safety data and traffic sign recognition.

Those stepping up to the top-of-the-range GT Sport version gain a 360-degree camera, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a digitised instrument panel with a seven-inch display alongside traditional dials and adaptive LED headlamps. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - fitted as standard across the range - allow your smartphone to integrate with the car.

The cabin has plenty of room for all - front and rear - with a decent driving position easily achieved while the interior benefits from the use of quality materials plus a fit and finish displaying plenty of care and attention.

Practicality is added to the mix with a boot that offers 506 litres of space, expanding to a maximum 1,620 litres with the rear seats folded over.

FAST FACTS

Mazda CX-5 2.0 2WD Sport

Price:£30,130

Mechanical:165ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:125mph

0-62mph:10.3 seconds

Combined MPG:39.8

Insurance Group:15

C02 emissions:160g/km

Bik rating:35%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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