Mazda sets a high bar with CX-5

Mazda CX-5 Sport

By Bill McCarthy

I HAVE said this before and will say it again, when it comes to designing SUV/crossover vehicles, Mazda sets a very high bar.

Their cars are stylish with a real road presence. Buyers tend to agree and since the launch of the original Mazda CX-5 in 2012, over 70,000 have been sold in the UK and today it accounts for around 25 per cent of UK sales.

The styling has been tweaked with a new model and five different trim levels which starts at £28,145 with the 2.0-litre 165ps SE-L, followed by the Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport.

Mazda says that for the first time, individual model grades feature subtle styling differentiation.

Also new is Mazda Intelligent Drive select (Mi-Drive) on petrol automatic models, which enables the driver to select the most appropriate drive mode with one touch of a switch. 

Still obviously a CX-5, it retains its chiselled profile, but now has revised front and rear bumper designs combined with new headlight and taillight clusters. 

The front end features a restyled gloss black grille while there is also a revised bumper at the rear end together with redesigned tail lights, body-coloured front and rear lower bumper mouldings and body-coloured wheel arch and side mouldings surrounding 19-inch diamond-cut alloys.

It is a light and airy interior, with good all round vision, while it seats four in comfort with a fifth in reasonable comfort with good head and legroom.

All models are well equipped but this range-topper, the GT Sport is right up there challenging the executive class with high-quality interior materials and premium finish. It features Nappa leather with red stitching throughout, soft-touch finish combined with genuine woodgrain.

Standard kit is impressive, but this model while expensive at more than £38k, has a host of high end equipment usually found on premium models costing a lot more. This version adds, over and above an excellent range of standard kit, Qi wireless phone charging, 10-speaker Bose surround sound system, powered, heated and ventilated front seats, 360 degree view monitor, plus all-wheel drive and auto transmission.

The GT Sport also offers a choice of engine, drivetrain and transmission with the 194ps 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol powering this model. It comes exclusively with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox with cylinder deactivation for improved efficiency.

Performance is impressive. Mated with a slick-shifting six-speed auto box, it can hit 60mph in around 9.4 seconds. Quick off the mark, yet a sublimely comfortable motorway cruiser, it ticks all the boxes except perhaps on economy, where the 2.5 litre engine and four-wheel drive hits mpg figures. Having said that 35mpg-plus is not that shabby.

The dash is dominated by the 10.25-inch colour touch-screen which controls major functions including infotainment and smartphone connectivity, via the Multimedia Commander on the central console. The in-car assistant systems allow access to certain features of your phone through Mazda Connect system.

This model features Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system and although unlikely to go off-road very often and less like to tackle the really rough stuff, it gives it the ability cope with tricky, wet and slippery conditions offering the extra four wheel drive traction.

This handling is aided by the firm’s G-Vectoring system, which, when cornering, on initial turn-in and throughout, the system adjusts power delivery and shifts vehicle weight for a more relaxing drive.

Stowage space is impressive via the Karakul design system which allows one touch operation for folding the 40:20:40 split rear seats.

When folded flat the seating is flush with the luggage space floor. It is cavernous when everything is folded opening up stowage space from 510 to 1,626 litres. In addition, this model features a powerlift tailgate for handsfree access to the boot. 

All Mazdas are safe and this latest model offers an updated range of i-Activsense safety systems standard across the range, which now includes Cruise & Traffic Support (CTS). CTS helps reduce driver fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake pedal and steering operations when stuck in traffic jams.

Factfile

Mazda CX-5 2.5 194ps GT Sport  AWD Auto

Price: £37,785

Mechanical: 194ps, 2488cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 9.3 seconds

Combined mpg: 35.3

Insurance group: 15E

CO2 emissions: 182g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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