MAZDA'S popular CX-5 SUV has been with us for more than a decade and it was recently given a fresh new look for 2022 along with a host of technical and engineering improvements.
It is a very important vehicle in the Mazda family as it accounts for 25 per cent of all UK sales in a very tough market sector that boasts lots of choice and strong competition.
Since its launch back in 2012 over 70,000 have been snapped-up by UK buyers and as a result the designers elected to merely update its award-winning Kodo design with new front and rear bumpers, new headlight and taillight clusters and new grilles to give it a sharper and more modern look.
There are now no fewer than 20 models in the 2022 CX-5 line-up which features five trim levels: SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport.
For the first time, individual model grades feature subtle styling changes to give customers the option of choosing a CX-5 with a unique character and focus.
As before, the entry point to the CX-5 range is the SE-L model, which is offered with either the 165ps Skyactiv-G petrol or 150ps Skyactiv-D engine with prices starting at £28,145.
I sampled the top GT Sport model in both automatic and manual AWD form and this week I was able to spend some time with one of the new additions to the range in the shape of the Sport Black model.
It costs £33,245 on the road and comes with the 2.0-litre 165ps petrol Skyactiv-G engine with front-wheel drive.
This model is able to reach 62mph in a respectable 10.5 seconds before going on to 125mph while achieving a combined figure of 41.5mpg and up to over 48mpg on longer journeys.
In Sport Black trim the CX-5 has rugged good looks with 19-inch black alloy wheels, red accents on the black front grille, gloss black door mirrors, gloss black front and rear lower bumper mouldings, wheel arch and side mouldings.
The interior also has a sporty feel and is very smart with black leather seats with red stitching and red stitching and accents on other trim throughout the cabin.
All CX-5s offer loads of standard equipment and the Sport Black adds things like a powered tailgate, power tilt and slide sunroof, a heated steering wheel and seats, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, windscreen projected colour driving display and wireless phone charging as well as a lot more.
The dash is well laid out and clutter free and there is a 10.25 inch colour screen with an easy-to-use controller dial to operate the various systems. Thankfully the climate controls are on a seperate panel making them easier and quicker to adjust.
The powered seats enable you to select a perfect driving position and there is good all-round visibility thanks to the elevated position.
You can cruise easily at motorway speeds in the Sport Black but for a big car it is also agile and at home in town centres where parking aids make your life easier.
The gearbox is a delight to use and adds to the appeal as you have to work it to maintain speeds on hilly routes or for overtaking.
The ride is comfortable even with the large alloys and the car handles well with good grip and road holding on tight bends.
Four adults can travel in comfort inside the spacious cabin with lots of leg, head and shoulder room. Five could travel for shorter distances and the boot offers 522 litres of luggage space, rising to 1,638 litres if you collapse the 40:20:40 split folding rear seats flat.
There are also lots of storage space inside the cabin making the Sport Black really practical and family friendly.
Packed with all the latest safety kit and driver aids the CX-5 has a five-star Euro NCAP rating.