Mazda CX-5 Crossover full 9 point review
The lower-powered diesel engine is impressively smooth and quiet, but the higher-powered version is louder and causes more vibration to come through the steering wheel and pedals. The petrol engine isn’t quite as subdued because you have to rev it hard much of the time. Unfortunately, there’s too much wind and road noise to be heard in all CX-5s.
The pick of the engine range is the 148bhp 2.2 diesel. It pulls hard from 1500rpm and keeps on going all the way to the redline. It’s so good in fact, that there’s little point spending more on the more powerful 173bhp version. With the 2.0-litre petrol, most of the power sits at the top of the rev range, so you have to work it hard.
Ride & Handling
The CX-5 has none of the sloppy, wallowing responses of traditional, soft SUVs. It conceals its size and height well, feeling more like a sprightly hatchback thanks to the strong grip, accurate steering and solid body control. The flipside of this control is that the ride has an undeniably firm edge, although it stops short of being uncomfortable.
Buying & Owning
Prices are pretty competitive, and residuals values are likely to be reasonable, too. The impressive bit, though, is the super-low running costs you’ll get from the efficient powertrains available. All versions of the CX-5 are among the cleanest cars of their type, with our favourite version, the 148bhp diesel with two-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, delivering the lowest running costs.
Quality & Reliability
The dashboard looks pretty classy, with soft-touch materials, piano black inserts and chrome detailing. However, everything south of the dash is made from hard, workmanlike plastic that feels rather drab. Still, it looks durable and Mazda’s impressive reliability record should give you peace of mind.
Safety & Security
As you’d expect these days, the CX-5 comes with stability control and a collection of six airbags. It also comes with a City Braking system that stops the car automatically if it senses an impending collision when you’re travelling at less than 10mph. If you're doing between 10 and 19mph, it slows the car down to limit the severity of any impact. All this helped the CX-5 achieve a maximum five-star crash rating from Euro NCAP. Security measures include an alarm and immobiliser.
Behind The Wheel
With lots of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel, it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. The dashboard is sensibly laid out and every version has a BMW iDrive-style controller to supplement the touchscreen infotainment system – it’s not as intuitive as the BMW set-up, but it works pretty well. Rear visibility could be better, though, due to the thick rear pillars.
Space & Practicality
This is where the CX-5 really impresses. Four people will have room to luxuriate thanks to the plentiful head and legroom, and while the middle rear seat is narrower than those either side, you can still sit comfortably with your feet on top of the low, flat transmission tunnel. The boot is huge, and the spring-loaded rear seats fold down easily to give you an almost flat load area.
Our favourite is entry-level SE-L Nav trim, which comes with dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers, a 7in infotainment screen, cruise control, Bluetooth and 17in alloy wheels. Pricier SE-L Lux Nav models get electrically adjustable heated leather seats and a sunroof, while Sport Nav adds full-LED headlights, a reversing camera, 19in alloys, keyless entry and an upgraded stereo.