Having reviewed the brand new MX-5 at this time last year, it was time to test a car at the other end of Mazda’s range this January – the larger of their two “SUV” models, the CX-5. Given the only other SUV I’d driven to date was the Porsche Cayenne – that costs almost three times the price – it had a lot to live up to!
Parked up in Quainton village on a sunny winter morning, its front styling rather reminiscent of Jaguar’s entry in the SUV field, the F-PACE. Its not as angular – nor frankly as ugly – as similar offerings from the likes of Nissan (Juke) and Toyota (CH-R). My particular car was black but I think it would look better in the same colour the MX-5 looked great in – Soul Red.
With cream/black contrasting leather trim, the front seat adjustment is all-electric with two slot memory for the driver’s side. Its elevated driving position is accompanied by a head-up display of your current speed and the current speed limit, as detected automatically via forward-facing camera – clever stuff, eh? I struggled to get to grips with the same hateful “infotainment” system that I first encountered in the new MX-5, despite it boasting a big colour touch screen. You certainly don’t want to attempt to make any settings beyond volume while on the move.
A 2.2 litre diesel engine drives via a six-speed automatic transmission, which was incredibly smooth with almost imperceptible changes. In fact without switching the stick across to manual (there’s no paddle shift), you really could not tell what gear you were in. Auto stop/start was an almost expected fuel-saving feature, defeated if you prefer by a switch near the driver’s right knee. Being a modern Mazda, the quoted economy figures are typically impressive with this top-of-the-line model returning an amazing 52 miles per diesel gallon.
While certainly more capable over the bumps and pot holes common on our roads these days, the ride was none-the-less quite harsh; no adjustments were available for either the suspension of 4WD arrangement. Mazda really promote safety with all cars in their current range and the CX-5 comes with a wide range of features designed to make your transit as safe as possible – including a lane deviation warning, cruise control that detects range to the car in front, stability and traction control. There’s a reversing camera and sensors and the handbrake is electronic.
Its 19″ wheels came fitted with summer tyres, which would not have coped well with any off-road conditions and frankly would have struggled on the ice and show a potential buyer may well expect the car to cope with.
In conclusion, the CX-5 was not a car that I felt particularly attracted to, but it does demonstrate just how economical such a large car can be. My thanks though to Lodge Garage, Aylesbury for the loan of a car that, this time, I was happy to return.