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Mazda CX-5 review | Auto Express

The second-generation Mazda CX-5 is available at a time when the mainstream SUV market is more diverse than ever. Thankfully, the car has retained (and improved on) its USP of being the SUV of choice for keen drivers. It handles better than ever, but most importantly its comfort and refinement are at another level when compared to the previous model.

Combined with a very punchy and efficient diesel engine, an upmarket interior and plenty of kit, and it’s easy to see why this is one of Mazda’s best sellers. Granted, the slightly sharper design doesn’t really move the game on, and some rivals still beat it for tech and practicality. But as an all-round family SUV that’s both comfortable and agile, it’s an excellent package. 

About the Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 is a compact SUV that’s ideal for drivers who are used to owning a car that’s fun to drive, rather than just being practical everyday transport. It’s for sale in the extremely tough compact SUV sector, and its sharp handling is one of its main selling points, although there’s much more to the CX-5 than that.

As well as being a fun drive, the Mazda CX-5 offers good practicality and boot space, thanks to its larger than average dimensions. The engine range also offers good economy to go with responsive performance.

Prices for the Mazda CX-5 start from around £28,000, but while that’s a little higher than some rivals, all cars are very well equipped. Sat-nav is standard across the range, as is privacy glass, auto lights and wipers, LED headlights, climate control and full parking sensors.

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The engine range comprises of two petrol engines and a diesel in two power outputs. The lower-powered petrol engine is a 2.0 Skyactiv-G unit making 163bhp, and is available with front-wheel-drive via a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. A 191bhp 2.5-litre all-wheel-drive petrol version is offered solely with the auto transmission.

A 148bhp 2.2-litreSkyactiv-D diesel comes only in front-wheel-drive form with either manual or auto transmission, while the 181bhp variant has the choice of front- or all-wheel-drive and, again, either gearbox.

Trim levels run through SE-L, Sport and GT Sport, with Newground and Sport Black editions building on the SE-L and Sport specifications respectively, adding extra kit and unique trim. The 163bhp petrol engine is available in all versions, while the 191bhp 2.5-litre car can only be specced with the GT Sport trim. The 148bhp diesel isn’t offered in the GT Sport line and the 181bhp diesel doesn’t come in entry-level SE-L trim.

As we’ve mentioned, the Mazda CX-5 competes in the extremely tough compact SUV class. Its chief rivals include class front-runners such as the Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq and SEAT Ateca, while its slightly larger dimensions mean it’s a rival for cars such as the Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Tiguan and Nissan X-Trail, although unlike those cars, the CX-5 isn’t available with seven seats.

Elsewhere, the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Kuga both offer a stern challenge to the CX-5, then there are dependable choices such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, with extended warranty cover designed to give added confidence. The Citroen C5 Aircross and Vauxhall Grandland are also in the mix, but don’t offer enough to trouble the class leaders.

Used and nearly new

The latest Mazda CX-5 is a family favourite and offers enough dynamic polish to keep the keener driver entertained. It isn’t cheap, but with distinctive looks, great levels of kit and decent tech, it’s become one of Mazda’s best-selling cars in the UK. Customer responses from our Driver Power survey backs the sales figures up, with overall build quality and reliability highlighted as positive aspects of ownership,

For the latest Mazda CX-5 prices check out our sister site

Mazda CX-5 history

Used Mazda CX-5 - front

Mazda CX-5 Mk2: 2017-date

The CX-5 offers all the quality, practicality and kit you could want, so buying a used, or nearly new model could be the smart move. In fact, it does everything pretty well, although we’d avoid the 2.5-litre petrol model; it’s expensive and lacks refinement. Safety has always been a strong point, with the CX-5 benefitting from lots of advanced tech and recognised with a top five-star Euro NCAP score. Read our full Mk2 Mazda CX-5 buyer’s guide here…

Mazda CX-5 - front

Mazda CX-5 Mk1: 2012-2017

If you’re buying a used family SUV, then ultimately you’ll want it to be reliable. Opting for an early Mk1 Mazda CX-5 should prove to be a good bet, as not only does it continue Mazda’s reputation for producing dependable cars, but it’s spacious, comfortable  and offers excellent levels of standard equipment. Thrown in the fact that it’s also fun to drive, for a big family SUV, and it’s easy to see why the talented CX-5 has been such a sales success. Read our full Mk1 Mazda CX-5 buyer’s guide here…

If you’re looking for a Mazda CX-5 to buy, why not check out our sister site for the latest deals…

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