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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

Review: How does the new Mazda CX-5 shape up against its SUV rivals?

We road-tested the CX-5 at its international launch in Barcelona.

Image: Mazda

THE NEW MAZDA CX-5 is a family SUV that’s very nice to drive. But the SUV segment is notoriously competitive – so is the CX-5 a strong enough contender?

That was the question we started out with at the CX-5′s international launch in Barcelona.

In the metal it looks very good with its big bold grille and slim headlights. It looks quite premium too. All models come with LED headlights as standard and 17-inch alloys. Headroom and legroom is good and the seats are very comfortable.

Source: Mazda

The boot is larger than that of the Hyundai Tucson and SEAT Ateca but smaller than the Volkswagen Tiguan. In real terms, it can hold two baby buggies and it can take a full set of golf clubs sideways.

Source: Mazda

But it is out on the road where the Mazda CX-5 really shines and shows its worth. First off, the cabin is so quiet. The NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels are impressive. It makes for such a calm and relaxing ride.

The 2.2-litre SkyActiv diesel is also impressively refined and barely audible in the cabin. In fact, the 150hp 2.2-litre engine works great in this car. It pulls well from 1,500rpm and keeps on going all the way to the redline, so you don’t have to change gear too often. However, the six-speed manual gearbox is so sweet to use you may want to run up and down the gears a lot. It is precise, feels great in hand and has a very satisfying action. It makes the CX-5 feel a little bit sporty.

Source: Mazda

On the move the CX-5 feels agile and very surefooted. This is thanks, in part, to Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that mimics race-car driver weight-transfer techniques to improve handling. When you turn the steering wheel, GVC shifts a small amount of weight to the outside front tyre to improve grip and steering response.

Being a tall SUV there is a bit of body lean and roll when you push it hard but most of the time it is nicely composed and it inspires confident driving and cornering. The suspension is well tuned but a tad on the firm side, but that just adds to the sporty ride quality. It is quite engaging, and that is a rare thing in a car like this.

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Source: Mazda

The CX-5 comes in three trim levels; Executive, Executive SE and Platinum and can be had with a 2.0-litre 165hp petrol engine or the 2.2-litre diesel unit with 150hp or 175hp. The range starts from €28,995 and my pick of the line up would be the 2.2-litre 150hp unit which starts at €31,495 for the front-wheel drive model in Executive trim.

Source: Mazda

Overall, the new Mazda CX-5 is a great family car – comfortable, refined practical and with decent levels of equipment. But best of all, it is engaging to drive and feels safe and confident on the road, even at high speeds.

It is a bit more expensive than some of its rivals but the refinement levels and driving dynamics make it feel more like a premium brand and I’d happily pay a bit more for that.

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READ: Review: the Suzuki Ignis is a fun alternative to traditional small hatchbacks >

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About the author:

Melanie May  /

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