What's the used Mazda CX-5 estate like?
If you're looking for a really decent used car, the Mazda CX-5 has always been one of our favourites.
The success of the original first-generation 2012-2017 Mazda CX-5 almost took the Japanese firm by surprise. Launched into a burgeoning SUV market then dominated by the Nissan Qashqai at one end and the Volvo XC60 at the other, it went on to become Mazda’s best-selling model, with a global output of more than 1.5 million.
In early 2019, the range changed to SE-L Nav+, Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+, and the standard level of safety equipment was improved to include adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance.
This was further refined in 2020 to SE-L, Sport, GT Sport and a Kuro edition.
In 2022 the CX-5 received a facelift, updating the aesthetics and adding a few extra trim levels to ensure that there’s one to suit most needs – including a new rugged-looking version called Newground. As before, you can twin the trim levels with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, manual and automatic gearboxes, and two or four-wheel drive.
The petrol is fairly smooth but feels a little underpowered lower down, just where the more relaxing diesels push out plenty of shove. The difference between the two diesels is marginal, although the more powerful unit is available only with four-wheel drive and the less powerful unit has the better official fuel economy figures.
Where the CX-5 really shines out in this class is in its handling. Push it in to a bend and it grips well, its appeal upped by steering that's accurate and sharp, and it handles with a rare dignity for an SUV.
The only payback for this eagerness is a rather firm ride that can occasionally be caught out by road imperfections and potholes. It’s not terrible, but there are more comfortable cars in the class. Road and wind noise, however, are well suppressed for a large SUV and help to make the CX-5 a relaxing motorway cruiser.
The interior is full of soft-touch materials and has an air of good quality; it’s an improvement on that which it replaced. The driving position is excellent, as is visibility, while the infotainment system is slick and relatively easy to use, with logical controls and all on-screen action done via a rotary controller.