Our cars: Mazda CX-5 - August
Week ending August 30
Driven this week: 200 miles
Mazda CX-5 review
All Mazda CX-5s come with a piece of safety kit called Smart City Brake Support as standard. The technology works at up to 19mph and uses a laser sensor to detect a vehicle in front. If the CX-5 driver fails to slow or take avoiding action, the system automatically hits the brakes and reduces engine power.
The aim is to reduce the impact of or indeed prevent rear-end collisions, which is one of the most common type of accidents.
I had the opportunity to experience this recently when the driver of a truck in front of me suddenly applied his brakes. The Mazda system kicked in with a juddering of the brakes accompanied with a kind of growling sound and the car stopped. It was a weird sensation experiencing this, but a potential accident was averted.
Euro NCAP has called for this system – the generic term is Autonomous Emergency Braking – to become standard on all new cars and it will become part of its testing programme in 2014. I'm glad Mazda decided to put it on the CX-5.
By Iain Reid
Week ending August 24
Driven this week: 700
The dreaded run to the tip with garden rubbish was unavoidable, and I needed something flexible and large. The CX-5 seemed the perfect choice, with its large boot and one-touch folding rear seats.
I was right, it easily took all of the dead foliage and weeds that our garden could muster, and cleaned up quickly afterwards with a quick vacuum.
However, I wasn't nearly so impressed with the number of rattles our car has. The rear seat rattled noisily until folded down and there's a loud click from the front right corner of the dashboard every time a bump is encountered. It's a shame, because this really detracted from my enjoyment of what is a capable, flexible and economical machine.
Week ending August 17
Driven this week: 600 miles
Having spent a year running a Mazda CX-7 I've been keen to borrow our CX-5 - in theory a smaller model, but in practice better in every direction.
Despite being shorter and narrower, the CX-5 has a bigger boot than my old car, and no shortage of space for my wife and two children on a long journey to Wales.
The interior is one of the biggest steps forward, and the touch-screen TomTom-based infotainment system is a highlight. The CX-7 had a tiny screen with awkward menus. All that's gone.
It's also better to drive - sharp steering and handling with a slick manual gearshift offer real driving pleasure when the opportunity presents. I'm hoping it wasn't me getting carried away, but one surprise was that our children felt car sick on a couple of journeys – not something they normally suffer from.
My only other minor criticism is that the hill-start assist system has a tendency to hold the car a little too long, and I came close to stalling the car on a couple of occasions as I 'leaned' against the clutch to get away. Once I became used to it I started using a few more revs.
For a £1000 less than my old CX-7, I'd take this every time.
Week ending August 10
Driven this week: 1000 miles
The CX-5 is showing its first signs of wear and tear after clocking more than 1500 miles during our family holiday to Scotland.
A plastic cover that protects the rear bench folding mechanism keeps falling off. It's not a serious problem, but it's fiddly to put back on and it's annoying when the rest of the cabin seems well put together.
What I've learned in the past two weeks is that the car is spacious for four, but five is a squeeze. The hard ride and hard bench make the rear seats uncomfortable.
Also, fuel economy is great when you are taking it easy on A roads - I got nearly 600 miles between fill ups - but the car's range really plummets at high motorway speeds. The car struggled to make the 440 miles back home on a single tank.
Week ending August 3
Driven this week : 525 miles
The CX-5 is on holiday this week – taking me and my family around Scotland.
I spent time in the back being driven while Mrs R took on some of the driving duties.
It isn't a great place to be. We switched our CX-5 on to 17-inch wheels in an attempt to soften the car's hard ride and while that has helped in the front, it's quite uncomfortable in the rear. You get bounced around and feel every pothole.
I wish Mazda had focused more attention on making a comfy car rather than a sporty one. That might have been harder to sell, but I think more customers would have appreciated comfort over sporty handling.