Our cars: Mazda CX-5 - May
Week ending May 25
Driven this week: 900 miles
Mazda CX-5 review
The latest car to join our test fleet is the Mazda CX-5, which I collected from Mazda's CX-5 press launch in the Scottish Highlands last weekend.
The car comes in top Sport Nav trim so gets niceties such as keyless go, automatic lights and wipers, a rear-parking camera, leather interior and an integrated Tom Tom sat-nav. We've gone for the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel, which emits just 199g/km of carbon dioxide and in the CX-5 averages 61.4mpg.
We've gone for a further two options; the Red Zeal mica paint job costs £520 and even though Sport versions come on 19-inch alloys, we think the car's ride suffers as a result so have opted to go for the smaller 17-inch wheels. Mazda charges a rather cheeky £786 to swap to the smaller wheels, so total price is £26,901.
With two days driving on mainly single-track roads, then a further two days driving the 650-miles down from Inverness, via Edinburgh to Teddington I've already had plenty of opportunity to learn what the car is like.
First impressions are positive. The steering is accurate, the manual gearshift is good to use and the engine pulls sweetly from low revs. I drove over the Bealach Na Ba – one of Britain's highest roads – and the CX-5 handled the tight switchbacks with ease. On faster bends, though, the body does lean a bit, but the ride has definitely been improved by switching to the smaller wheels.
The CX-5 has an engine stop-start system called i-Stop and it was put through its paces in the numerous Highland passing places. The onboard computer works out how long i-Stop has worked on each journey and cumulatively, so already I know that I've used it for one hour and 45 minutes.
There was an unexpected opportunity to test the CX-5 on faster A-roads, too. After leaving Edinburgh, the sat-nav indicated that the quickest route south was cross-country before joining the main M74 south. I decided to trust the sat-nav and go with it. I'm glad I did. There was little traffic, and when I did have to overtake slower cars, the engine had plenty of punch to get me past.
After reaching Teddington, the trip computer estimates that I've averaged 49mpg – which isn't bad considering the B-roads and motorways I've been on aren't the best situations in which to drive economically. I'm sure it'll also get better once the car is properly run in.