The CX-5 is not just a smart new compact crossover but it is also the first of a whole new generation of more efficient Mazda cars.
Instead of rushing into eco special models, hybrids or electric cars – all of which come with a cost penalty – Mazda decided to improve every aspect of the conventional car as much as they could. The package of technology is called SKYACTIV and embraces lightweight chassis design, advanced engines and more efficient gearboxes.
As far as the buyer is concerned, all this translates into great fuel consumption and outstanding CO2 emissions for this class of car. These bonuses come without compromising the driving experience or the price tag!
Like other machines of its ilk, the CX-5 comes with either two or four-wheel drive and a choice of petrol or diesel engines. Most will spend their lives on the road but the extra traction versions will be bought by those who live in remote areas or who venture into the odd field. The price range, from £21,395 to 28,795, is competitive with the premium brands.
Best seller is likely to be the 150PS turbo diesel with two wheel drive. This one drives very well and is more responsive than you would expect. I found it to be very flexible and quiet when cruising quickly. Yes, I think I could live with this car very easily, it is very comfortable and fairly quiet too.
The proof of the SKYACTIV pudding is most evident in this model. It returns 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and has emissions of just 119g/km. These figures take it to the top of the compact crossover class. In fact, they are better than some small hatchbacks.
I also tried the CX-5 with the more powerful 175PS turbo diesel engine and all-wheel drive. This produced a more spirited drive yet the ride was surprisingly supple. The six-speed manual gearbox worked slickly and was designed to be like the flick-shift of the Mazda MX-5 sports car.
Appearance is vitally important on this class of car. The CX-5 stands out with its Japanese KODO design – this represents the “Soul of Motion” and it certainly catches the eye.
There are 18 models to choose from with the three engines and four equipment levels. Even the starter SE-L comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, bluetooth, cruise control and a 5.8-inch colour display screen. You can add a TomTom based satellite navigation system and other options.
All models have a brake support system which stops the car from speeds under 19mph if it detects an obstacle. This is uncanny to experience but could make a big difference in an emergency. Also on the safety front, the CX-5 has just scored a maximum five stars in the EuroNCAP crash test.
The CX-5 is a clever and innovative addition to the ranks of the compact cross-over cars that are growing in popularity. It looks better and uses less fuel than its rivals which can’t be bad!
Prices start from £22,995