New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

Mazda’s spacious and upmarket new CX-5 aims to reclaim the large SUV crown – but first it has to beat our reigning champ, the Skoda Kodiaq, and Ford’s updated Kuga...

New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

Our verdict

Sometimes last place seems harsh. Finishing third doesn’t necessarily mean a car is way off the pace and undeserving of your consideration. In this case, though, one of our trio is a long way behind its peers: the Kuga. It may have just been treated to a facelift, but the improvements haven’t addressed the cheap-feeling interior, unsettled ride or the absence of automatic emergency braking. While cheaper versions of the Kuga make some sense (prices start at £21,895), this ST Line model is best avoided.

The Kodiaq has heaps more going for it. In fact, in some ways it’s the best car here: it’s the most spacious inside and rides bumps in the most sophisticated manner. However, while value for money is usually something Skoda excels at, it’s actually the one area that lets the Kodiaq down in this form. The asking price seems reasonable enough, yes, but you have to pay extra for features that really should be standard. So, unless you’re prudent, you’ll end up spending well over £30,000.

That’s one of the main reasons why the CX-5 wins. It’s incredibly well equipped with standard luxuries you won’t find on most luxury cars, yet it’s more than spacious enough for most families’ needs. It’s the most fun to drive, too, will cost you the least at the pumps and, unlike most Mazdas, doesn’t feel at all cheap inside. It’s a shame the ride isn’t softer (choosing smaller-wheeled SE-L Nav trim will probably help), but that’s our only real criticism of what’s otherwise a thoroughly brilliant SUV.

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1st – Mazda CX-5


New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

For Loads of standard kit; tidy handling; great driving position; fuel economy; flexible engine

Against Firm ride; expensive to lease

Verdict A brilliant SUV and the best model from Mazda in years

Rated 5 out of 5

2nd – Skoda Kodiaq


New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

For Comfiest ride; smartest and biggest interior

Against You’ll want to add lots of options; no discounts

Verdict Fundamentally a fine car; could be better value

Rated 4 out of 5


3rd – Ford Kuga


New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

For Cheapest company car; biggest dealer discounts

Against Low-rent interior; cramped; noisy; nervous handling; heavy depreciation

Verdict Hard to recommend at this price

Rated 2 out of 5

Specifications: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 150 ST Line

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price £28,745

Target Price £25,036

Power 148bhp @ 3500rpm

Torque 273Ib ft @ 2000rpm

0-60mph 9.4sec

Top speed 121mph

Gov't fuel economy 60.1mpg

True MPG 43.9mpg

CO2 emissions 122g/km

Specifications: Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 Sport Nav

Engine size 2.2-litre diesel

List price £28,695

Target Price £27,486

Power 148bhp @ 4500rpm

Torque 280Ib ft @ 1800-2600rpm

0-60mph 9.3sec

Top speed 127mph

Gov't fuel economy 56.5mpg

True MPG 47.4mpg

CO2 emissions 132g/km

Specifications: Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 SE DSG

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price £27,115

Target Price £27,115

Power 148bhp @ 3500-4000pm

Torque 251Ib ft @ 1750-3000rpm

0-60mph 9.2sec

Top speed 123mph

Gov't fuel economy 56.5mpg

True MPG 43.1mpg

CO2 emissions 131g/km

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