INTRODUCED in January of 2021, the 2.5-litre 191bhp Skyactiv-G petrol engine is the current flagship powerplant of Mazda's highly popular - it accounts for more than a quarter of the company's new car sales in the UK - CX-5 SUV range.
Mazda has been making undeniably good cars with impressive powerplants for many years now, and this is no exception - a welcome addition to the company's stylish, spacious and dynamic SUV. Yes, I'm a big fan.
Since 2020, the CX-5's sharp handling qualities and stylish looks have been properly partnered with a premium ambiance - leather upholstery, real wood and satin chrome on the dashboard and door trim inlays.
Now, all CX-5s also benefit from a new 10.25-inch centre display screen and the latest version of Mazda Connect. controlled with a user-friendly rotary dial on the central tunnel, rather than a touchscreen. Sport and GT Sport models also feature a full seven-inch digital dial set.
As you'd expect from a quality SUV, the GT Sport also features a host of goodies including front seat ventilation, heated outer rear seats, sunroof, a wiper de-icing system, a Bose 10-speaker surround sound audio system.
The range-topper also comes with Mazda's head-up display - dubbed an Active Driving Display - which includes Traffic Sign recognition. For added convenience, the GT Sport's standard eight-way power seats allow for the automatic setting of the angle of the Active Driving Display.
The glove box is shaped to accommodate a 10-inch tablet and has been flocked-lined for protection of such items and prevent rattles. Sport trims and above have a storage bin with twin USB ports within the rear seat centre armrest.
The boot itself has 506-litre volume with the seats in place and loaded to the roof with the seats down there's a huge 1,620 litres of luggage space. Moreover, the use of a nine mm thinner boot floor board allied to the reorganisation of the tool storage layout has increased the under-floor storage volume from 10 to 30 litres. New floor-mounted cargo net hooks have also been added.
Having made its UK debut in the Mazda6 in 2020, the gutsy 2.5-litre 191bhp Skyactiv-G engine is only available in GT Sport trim linked to Mazda's ‘intelligent' all-wheel drive system and slick, six-speed automatic transmission.
Thanks to cylinder deactivation, the direct-injection four-cylinder engine seamlessly switches between four and two-cylinder operation to improve real-world fuel economy at no cost to performance.
Officially it returns 35.3mpg and even with my heavy right foot pushing it forward it achieved a very creditable 31.2mpg.
The clever AWD system uses 27 sensor signals to monitor road conditions and driver intentions to instantly determine how power should be split between the front and rear wheels. Its Active Torque Control coupling sends the right amount of torque to the right place at exactly the right time, maximising front and rear grip by precisely calculating how much grip is required at each wheel.
A G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system - Mazda's version of torque vectoring control - momentarily reduces the amount of torque delivered to the front wheels, transferring a fraction more weight onto the front axle. This increases front tyre grip and allows the front wheels to turn more precisely.
All in all, it makes the CX-5 a genuinely enjoyable machine to push on in.
Mazda's engineers have also paid particular attention to road, wind and tyre noise. The CX-5, an SUV don't forget, is not only very comfortable and spacious but extremely refined. It's quiet an idle and on a cruise as hushed as the proverbial church mouse.
As a family car, it's also exceptionally safe. All models come with six airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchor points equip the left and right rear seats. Also fitted across the range is an Advanced Smart City Brake Support, which now has improved range, a lane keep assist system, and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
The flagship also comes with a standard Safety Pack including adaptive LED headlights, Driver Attention Alert, Rear Smart City Brake Support and 360-degree view monitor.