Mazda CX-5 2.0 165

Kuro Edition

Mazda CX-5, front
Mazda CX-5, side
Mazda CX-5, rear
Mazda CX-5, interior
Mazda CX-5, rear seats
Mazda CX-5, boot

MAZDA should give themselves a pat on the back.

Though a tad late to the SUV party, the innovative Japanese marque were among the very first to recognise the need for a high-rider to handle like a hatchback rather than truck.

When Mazda launched the CX-5 in 2012, it stood out not only as a sharply styled crossover but as one that could track a windy road with fluency and accuracy in a way that few rivals could manage.

Wind the clock on, and the latest incarnation - with styling tweaks and improved cabin - retains the same qualities, although, inevitably, the competition is catching up.

With diesel power no long flavour of the day, it was the mid-range petrol version that we review here.

The 2.0-litre, 4 cylinder unit, may not possess the torque of its 2.2litre diesel alternative, but it certainly beats the oil burner on smoothness and refinement.

This, together with a big improvement in platform rigidity over the original version, helps make it a particularly refined package as well as a deft handler.

The CX-5 is dimensionally one of the larger mid-size SUVs with decent space inside to match the external measurements. Nevertheless, by latest standards luggage space of 506litres is no longer the most generous boot in its class. The seat does however split 40-20-40 for extra versatility.

Changes to the fascia and cabin have created a much more upmarket feel to the cabin. The use of high grade plastics and a driver focused design put it on an equal footing to models from Audi and BMW.

Standard kit on the Kuro Edition is a the head-up display, a really useful accessory, that projects vital information on to the windscreen directly in front of the driver.

Reversing cameras and Bose sound are also appealing inclusions as are heated front seats, power driver's seat and imposing black 19-inch alloy wheels.

Most CX-5 models on the road are two wheel drive, as was the review car, but twin axle drive is an option.

With an emphasis on driving satisfaction - a Mazda trait - it's hardly surprising to find the ride is relatively firm, at least by high rider standards. Despite this, bumps and road faults are mainly soaked up with ease and jolts are seldom passed back into the cabin. There's some tyre noise, but otherwise it's a pleasantly quiet car.

The manual six speed gearbox is slick and rewarding to use with a light clutch and ratios that are well spaced. An improved steering system has increased the road-feel factor and is now more positive.

With 165bhp on tap, there's no shortage of outright punch but it pays to go through the gears if a quick getaway is required as there's less low down grunt than the diesels. 62mph comes up in a reasonably brisk 9.8 seconds, while maximum nudges the 120mph mark.

FAST FACTS

Mazda CX-5 2.0 165 Kuro Edition

Price: £29.645

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 4 cyl, 165 bhp, petrol engine driving 2 wheels via manual gearbox

Max Speed: 119mph

0-62mph: 9.8sec

Combined MPG: 42.2

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 152g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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