MAZDA'S medium-sized SUV, the CX-5, has been given a new-look for 2022 and there are extra trim levels offering more choice too.
It's the most significant evolution for the car since it was originally launched back in 2012 and the car is powered by a selection of Mazda's award-winning SKYACTIV-G 2.0 or 2.5-litre petrol engines and SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesel engines.
There is a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes and the option of adding all-wheel drive to the mix.
With prices ranging from £28,145 to £39,385, trim levels are called SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport. Both Newground and Sport Black are new spec levels to the car.
We tried the CX-5 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol model in the Newground trim with six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive costing£29,145. This is the only powertrain available on this new trim and it delivered 165PS of power and 213Nm of torque.
This CX-5 could reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.5 seconds and topped out at 125mph, while achievinga combined 41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 153g/km. There are more powerful models and also more frugal options, so there is a car to suit everyone's needs and budgets.
The CX-5 in Newground trim level has an adventurous style with rugged good looks. There arefront and rear silver underguard trims matched to silver lower body side skirts, LED daytime running lights, lime green accents in the corner of the black grille, black door mirrors, sweeping light clusters, privacy glass and 19-inch black diamond cut alloy wheels.
The interior is distinctive too with Newground-specific features. There areblack half leatherette seats with matching green piping, lime green air vent surrounds and even a reversible waterproof cargo board which perfectly suits this active model.
There is a clutter-free, simplistic layout with a 10.25-inch touchscreen and the Mazda Connect infotainment system. On-board tech includes full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, DAB radio and lots more besides. There is a separate panel for the climate control settings and an easy-to-use controller dial to navigate the various systems.
With powered seats, getting a perfect driving position is a quick process and the all-round visibility is excellent thanks to the elevated driving position.
We drove the car for almost five hours and special mention to the new seats within the CX-5 when it comes to comfort. There are new seatback suspension mats to offer added support along with damping foam in the cushions so very little vibration is felt even over rougher road surfaces.
The car cruises with ease at 70mph on dual carriageways and is agile in busy town centres with lots of parking aids to help squeeze into a tight space.
However, we spent most of the drive on twisting roads with plenty of hill climbs. You do have to work the gears and engine quite hard to maintain the necessary revs and overtaking needs to be planned out as there is no instant power.
But the gearbox and clutch are spot on for quite aggressive driving, so this added to the appeal. Obviously, other models offer faster turns of pace - we had a short spin in one of the diesel-powered CX-5 cars and it was much sharper in its handling.
The road holding is really confident and there is next-to-no sign of body sway into tighter bends either. Our car was riding on 19-inch wheels, so if comfort is a priority, select a car fitted with 16 or 17-inch wheels.
There is plenty of space within the CX-5 and back seat passengers are treated to lots of leg, head and elbow space. They also have seats that can be reclined a little, along with their own air conditioning settings.
The boot can swallow 522 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,638 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. These limits are 12 litres less on diesel models due to the AdBlue tank.
There are plenty of storage options within the cabin with front and rear cup holders, a glovebox, deep door bins, a central cubby box and some handy trays. The Newground version also gains the reversible boot floor so dirty wellies can be transported easily.
The CX-5 was awarded the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP rating and this car is packed with safety kit and driver assistance aids.
There is a new cruising and traffic support system that assists with the accelerator, braking and steering in heavy traffic while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead - this is designed to reduce driver fatigue.
Other systems include lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, high beam control, advanced smart city brake support with a forward-facing camera, brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist and even a bonnet with crumple zones and energy-absorbing foam in the bumper to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision.
All in all, new CX-5 has certainly moved with the times and is showing no sign whatsoever of growing old gracefully. It's dynamically styled, packed with tech and superb fun to drive. But customers will need to carefully match a model to suit their requirements.