By Mike Torpey on 2022-07-30 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Mazda CX-5 2.2
Skyactiv-D Sport 2WD
IF confirmation were ever needed that the CX-5 is a hugely important model to Mazda then the fact that the stylish SUV represents fully a quarter of the Japanese brand's UK sales should be justification enough.
Upwards of 70,000 UK sales since the car's launch in 2012 is testament to its popularity and success.
Now a significantly updated version of the CX-5 is here with a distinctly sharper and more modern look in five trim grades - SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport - and with a choice of efficient petrol or diesel engines.
Entry point to the range is SE-L trim, which is available with either the 165PS Skyactiv G petrol or 150PS Skyactiv-D unit, and costing from £28,145.
But predicted to be the biggest seller is the Sport variant, which in the case of our tested model featured the more powerful 184ps version of the 2.2-litre diesel and a six-speed manual gearbox. It costs £33,120.
What we're talking here is a smart-looking family crossover with a simply laid-out, easy to use cabin featuring black leather seats with brown stitching and a chunky leather steering wheel.
Interior space is excellent all round with ample leg, head and shoulder room, to the point that even a centre rear passenger able to travel in comfort - which isn't case with several of the CX-5's rivals.
The 10.25-inch central touchscreen, a stand-out feature up front, has an accessible control dial for operating the various systems and a high end BOSE sound system ensures adds to the feeling of quality within the car.
Oddment space is extensive and includes the likes of door bins with bottle holders, two cup holders behind the gearshift, a deep lidded central container with tray, a mobile phone charging pad, bottle holders in the rear door while the rear armrest incorporates a pair of cup holders, a pen holder and a non-slip tray.
As for the boot, most CX-5 models have 522 litres of luggage space which rises to 1,638 litres with the 40:20:40 split/fold rear seats laid flat, though diesel variants are compromised to the extent of 12 litres due to the car's AdBlue tank.
If there's a criticism then it's that this specific model has a very black interior, the colour only broken up by a few elements of alloy or stainless steel, though there's plenty of cabin light courtesy of a glass sunroof.
Out on the road the Mazda performs with real vigour, the Skyactiv-D engine sounding both quiet and smooth, at the same time responding with a really useful degree of torque, ideal for overtaking manoeuvres.
At the same time it is also dynamically agile with plenty of grip on tight bends and a positive feel from the steering.
Our average of 41.8 miles per gallon compared reasonably with the official Combined return of 50.4mpg given the amount of urban motoring included in an overall 200 miles.
There's certainly much to like about the 2022 Mazda CX-5, a car that now has even greater appeal thanks to an updated range of i-Activsense safety systems which are standard across the line-up.
They include Cruise & Traffic Support which helps reduce driver fatigue by assisting with throttle, brake pedal and steering when stuck in traffic jams and the front adaptive LED headlights are also now more effective.
Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D Sport 2WD
Mechanical:184ps, 2,191cc, 4-cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual transmission
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