In an industry that thrives on awards and recognition, the trophy for modesty would go to Mazda, writes Robin Roberts
To many it’s a one-model marque made famous by the sporting MX-5, but in reality and among those in the know, there is a much bigger range behind it including hatchbacks, business executive models, and SUVs.
The CX-5 SUV is one of the least known of its type and probably not on the radar of many potential buyers, which means it has a rarity value which is unusual in this sector.
Later this year it will be replaced with a new generation SUV but we have been testing the current model as a comparison or benchmark. And it’s good, which means Mazda is going to have to do a lot to better it with the newer version.
Currently there are ten models in the range based on a petrol and two diesel engines with 2WD or 4WD and three trim levels giving manual or automatic/ manual transmission options.
Our 2.2 TD manual is one of the most popular and the powertrain is impressive. From rest and through the gears it pulls well and cruises economically.
Gearchanges are feather light and precise, the steering well balanced and easy with strong foot and parking brakes.
Secondary controls fall immediately to fingers, instruments are clear if not calibrated in detail but well lit at night while the infotainment is straightforward and clearly displayed as well. Heating and ventilation is simple and works well with precise control, direction and good output backed up by powered windows and a decent sized sunroof.
Oddments space is reasonably good for a family car, the boot a good size even with the back seats in use but it more than triples if you fold them down, and that’s easy to do as well.
Access is good into the bootspace and back as well as infront and the seats are very well shaped, supporting and comfortable with reasonable adjustment range on the front pair.
Visibility to the front and sides is good, less so to the side when pulling out and to the back when reversing, so the sensors and camera come into their own to help. Lights and wipers do a good job.
Room inside is excellent infront, slightly short on knee-room behind but head and shoulder space is good throughout.
The Mazda CX-5 ride quality is generally slightly firm but still comfortable with a little body roll on tighter turns but little wallow or pitching over some roads. You can hear the suspension coping with the bad bits and the ever present road rumbles from the tyres are the only intrusion as mechanical and wind noises are low.
For a family SUV, the performance is good, and it’s almost effortless once you get going from rest where it’s slightly hesitant. Mid-range pull will keep you out of trouble and it’s very composed on main roads and motorways, with a possible 40+mpg when cruising.
There really is a lot to like about the Mazda CX-5 and nothing to really dislike, but you’d hardly know about this modest model when its over-hyped and over-priced rivals seem everywhere. I am looking forward to seeing and driving its successor and hope it’s a bit less modest.
|Mazda CX- 5 AWD 2.2 SportNav||Price: £29,995|
|Insurance Group: 21E||Mechanical: 4cyl 175ps 2.2L turbo-diesel, 6p man|
|Max Speed: 126mph||0-62mph: 8.8sec|
|Combined MPG: 38.2mpg||C02 emissions: 136gkm|
|Bik rating: 26% Y1 £500/ £140||Sizes: L 4.56m, W 1.84m, H 1.71m|
|Kerb: 1530kg Boot: 503 – 1620 L||Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles|
For: Comfort, refinement, controls, economy, performance
Against: Road noise, rear visibility.