Mazda CX-5 2.2 SkyActiv-D12 | 06 | 2017Scotcars rating

    Mazda gives its CX-5 SUV a sharper look, more luxurious interior ... and it's a cracker

    FIVE YEARS ON from the launch of its first CX-5, Mazda has lifted the wraps on its second-generation of the eye-catching mid-sized SUV: and it’s a cracker. (Related: Mazda CX-5 starts at £23,695)

    The CX-5, launched in 2012, was the first Mazda to feature the Kodo ‘Soul of Motion’ design-language and SkyActiv drivetrain and chassis tech; both of the later are founding pillars of modern-day Mazda.

    Now the 2017 model lifts the CX-5 to a new level, incorporating a host of new features — including a powered tailgate and proper head-up display — which are becoming everyday-standard in this segment.

    And that’s important. Why? Because not only do the Japanese manufacturer’s crossovers combined account for 40% of all its sales, the CX-5 is Mazda’s most popular SUV. So its on-going success is crucial.

    What’s changed in the second-gen? Well, not the engines, which are carried over from the previous generation, and that’s no bad thing. They have actually been slightly enhanced, thanks to a clever bit of tech which reduces vibrations and resonance to make the diesel quieter at idle.

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    While there’s a 2.0-litre petrol, unquestionably the big seller will remain the impressive twin-turbocharged 2.2-litre diesel, available with either 149 or 173bhp.

    And though four-wheel drive is a available within the range, the most popular CX-5 in the UK is the smaller diesel with 2WD. That’s in no small part due to the figures it returns: 0-62mph in 9.4secs; 132g/m CO2 and 56.5mpg. It’s priced competitively too. The most popular — the CX-5 2.2 150ps 2WD Sport Nav diesel — can be yours for £28,695.

    We’ve driven it on some of the most challenging and dynamic roads in Scotland — including through Glenshee, and on to Cockbridge and Tomintoul — and boy is it good.

    We all know the on-going success Mazda has had with its iconic MX-5, and this new CX-5 delivers steering and gearshift — we’re driving the six-speed manual — which is as sharp and precise as the sporty wee roadster. I kid you not. (Related: Roadtest — Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 SE-L Nav)

    Ok, you have to factor in the reality you’re driving a car which is noticeably heavier and larger than the MX-5, but the short-throw gearshift is sleek and accurate, and delivers a surprisingly sporty feel.

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    It’s long been acknowledged the CX-5 is one of the drivers’ picks in this sector, and the second-generation model merely further strengthens that appeal.

    This new model benefits from a stiffer body, which means better ride comfort and handling, plus there’s the addition of G-Vectoring Control which improves agility. The new car’s structure is 15% stiffer than the old CX-5’s

    You’ll find yourself thinking the CX-5 handles like a big hatchback. Yes, there’s a small degree more bodyroll than you’d get in a Mazda2 or 3, but that’s simply due to the higher sides of the SUV. Hustling crosscountry through the Cairngorms, sure it leant in corners, but for a car of its size it feels very well controlled and was always supple over bumps.

    Interestingly, we also drove the 4WD version of the CX-5, and while you would expect it to be slightly keener through the corners, it was the 2WD which felt more responsive and simply quicker. We also drove the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol SkyActiv-G, which we found rather wheezy and gutless. We’d recommend you stick with the diesel.

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    Externally the new model looks sharper, ridding itself of the somewhat softer, cuddly lines of the original. That trend continues inside where clean Japanese design and soft-touch materials sit comfortably alongside a generous list of standard tech that includes a 7.0in touchscreen with satnav as standard.

    The Sport Nav gets a leather-covered dash and door trims, black leather seats with contrasting stitching, four heated seats and two USB ports in the front with two more in the back. There’s also that head-up display, which projects useful driving information onto the windscreen in front of the driver.

    In fact, it’s packed with goodies, including eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory, heated steering wheel, Smart keyless entry, wiper de-icer, premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers, power tailgate, reversing camera and 19in Gunmetal alloys.

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    Instantly, one of the things you notice in the cabin as you set off in the diesel is the quietness, thanks to extra sound-proofing and clever glass. It is an enjoyable place to be, with less wind and road noise than in its predecessor.

    Space-wise, there’s more than ample head and legroom for both front and rear occupants; it’s a comfy place to be. Fixtures and fittings have also taken a noticeable leap forward in quality from its predecessor.

    The CX-5 enters what has become an intensely competitive sector. Up against the likes of the VW Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Audi Q3 and Nissan Qashqai, the new Mazda is certainly one of the better looking cars.

    But don’t think it’s only a looker. This new CX-5 delivers an impressive level of dynamism and sporty drivability, in conjunction with a quality cabin, plenty of standard kit and value for money.

    If you’re in the market for a mid-sized SUV, then the new Mazda CX-5 should certainly be on your test drive list.

    Related: Roadtest — Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport Nav

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/Scotcars

    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £28,695 / £29,255
    Engine / Power: 4cyl inline, 1968cc, turbocharged, diesel, 6spd manual / 173bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.4sec / Max 127mph
    How big/heavy?: L4550mm W1840mm (excl mirrors) H1680mm / 1669kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 56.5mpg / 132g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: VW Tiguan, Ford's Kuga, Audi's Q3, Nissan Qashqai

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