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Mazda CX-5 long-term test review

The previous version of the Mazda CX-5 was one of our favourite large SUVs. Can this new model follow in its footsteps?

Words By Darren Moss

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Mazda CX-5
  • The car: Mazda CX-5 2.2d 150 Sport Nav
  • Run by: Darren Moss, deputy editor of whatcar.com
  • Why it’s here: The previous CX-5 was one of our favourite large SUVs. Can this new version shine in the face of even stronger competition?
  • Needs to: Be economical on my daily commute, be comfortable on long journeys and have plenty of space inside. In short: be the perfect car for a growing family.

Price Β£28,695 Price as tested Β£29,495 Miles covered 3021 Official fuel economy 56.5mpg Test economy 41.1mpg CO2 132g/km Options Soul Red Crystal paint (Β£800)


14 December 2017 – curtain up for the CX-5

Picture the scene: it’s 5.45pm on a blustery December evening, I’m just leaving our offices in Twickenham and I have tickets to see a friend in a show in East Central London at 7:30pm. By any stretch, it’s a tall order, given that to get there I’ll be driving head-on into one of the most congested cities on Earth.

Straight away, I’m grateful that the CX-5’s infotainment system can be controlled both via touchscreen and through the rotary controller on the centre console – the latter makes entering a postcode while on the move easy, and I quickly deciphered a route to a parking spot near to the theatre.

With my route set, it’s time to think about comfort, and at this time of year, I have the car’s heated seats and heated steering wheel switched on during almost every journey. Now, this is usually where I’d tell you how much you’ll have to spend to enjoy these heated components, but on our Sport Nav model they’re standard-fit. They don’t heat up especially fast, mind, meaning the first few minutes of my journey involved cold buttocks – not ideal.

And now the next problem – traffic. Mazda’s MZD-Connect system comes with a free 60-day trial of live traffic updates, which work fairly well. I say fairly, because the system can be a little slow to pick up congestion, and nobody likes to be warned of a traffic jam they’re already in. On my route, the system didn’t suggest any alternative routes, either, meaning I was left crawling along, watching the minutes tick by.

At 7:15, and with a mile still to cover on the traffic treadmill, I knew I needed to ring my friend. I’ve had my smartphone connected to the CX-5 via Bluetooth for a while now, and I’m pleased that my phonebook and recent calls are all easy to find in the infotainment menus. That said, I miss the easy connectivity that came with Apple CarPlay in the Audi Q5 I ran previously. This isn’t even available as an option in the CX-5, which is a missed trick in my book.

The parking space I’d selected was inside a multi-story car park that extends from street level down, and that usually means woe for a large SUV. I was impressed, though, with the CX-5’s turning circle, which meant I got into a spot without messing up the car’s 19in alloy wheels. It also meant I made it to my seat with thirty seconds to spare until the curtain rose, for which I will always be grateful.

More from our long-term Mazda CX-5 >