The latest thrust into the highly competitive SUV marketplace comes from Mazda with the All-New CX-5.
Tom Scanlan dodges the bad weather in the Cairngorms driving three models of the All-New Mazda CX-5
The completely new body retains a touch of the looks of the outgoing model so that it appears to be a natural progression, and the car is based on the already existing platform. However compared to the previous model the sharp new LED lights, stylish new front grille and rear styling give it a brighter more appealing youthful look.
Mazda is keen to underline three key points about the CX-5: ‘Kodo Design’ or ‘Soul of Motion’ styling that aims to keep thing simple – make of that as you will. A new ‘premium’ designed interior that significantly updates the quality and features that you find in the cabin, such as the stitched leather and the further work done on eliminating NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) that are unpleasant aspects in any car.
Prices start at £23,695; they top out at a hefty £33,195 as in the first of three versions I tried out over some fabulous roads around the Cairngorms in Scotland.
This was the 175PS diesel All Wheel Drive Sport Nav Auto. The diesel engine is so smooth. The 2.2-litre engine has had some work done on its internals and in conjunction with newly-designed sound damping (it has resulted in a few kilos of extra weight). Overall it has wrought an impressive improvement in eliminating that unwanted clatter usually evident in diesel engines at lower speeds. Aiding the reduction in noise are thicker windscreen glass and placing the windscreen wipers below the bonnet line while in their rest position.
The performance via the six-speed automatic box was fairly brisk and the car galloped along pretty effortlessly, with a useful kick-down making overtaking safe, at least on the sparsely-populated Scottish byways.
The version that will be the best-seller is the 2.2-litre 150PS diesel 2WD 6-speed manual. Driving this was a surprisingly different experience. It just felt sportier, livelier, nice gear changes, more driving fun. Yet, on paper, the plain performance figures are more or less indistinguishable: 0-62 mph in 9.5 seconds and 9.4 seconds respectively. Figures for mid-range acceleration would make an interesting comparison, too, but the fact is that both cars can produce a handy turn of speed by using the torque curve that comes in at around 1500 rpm.
As to emissions, from all the new models, they range from 132 g/km up to 152 g/km; in this regard, they are beaten marginally by their main competitors in this sector.
The ride is outstanding in whichever model you choose. Mazda recognised, following market research amongst owners, that improvements were necessary here. Success! The new CX-5 proved to be highly impressive, coping with the bends, undulations and the few slightly rough surfaces found on the Scottish roads along the test route. At quite high speeds, the car was glued to the tarmac and the damping over some very testing undulations proved rather refined and worked remarkably well.
What about fuel consumption, then? 43.3 mpg and 44.3 mpg respectively were the figures recorded after some spirited driving over well over two hundred miles of varying roads and quiet traffic conditions.
Then there was the 165PS petrol engine. This endows the new CX-5 with a totally different character.
I drove this one over a much gentler route up the A96 – mile after mile of pottering along behind lorries was only interrupted by slowing down through a couple of towns and finding the stop/start system operating at a long stop at roadworks…plus a couple of long, foot-down-hard in fourth gear overtaking sections. 47.8 mpg was the result here. This version was slower overall than the diesels and I would suggest this may be the car to go for if it is to be used on as many short journeys as long ones.
Manufacturers, know very well that four in five buyers of new cars are doing it with PCPs and the like, this knowledge enables them to load their new models with equipment that might add, say five pounds a month to the bill.
The All-New CX-5 now features as standard LED lighting, DAB radio, 7″ touchscreen display with navigation. On the pricier Sport Nav models, even more, such niceties – a reversing camera, 8-way power adjustable seats, keyless entry, head-up display, powered tailgate and a heated steering wheel are included.
One or two other impressions, then: Mazda has made leaps and bounds on the improved interior quality, all feeling very well put together and very comfortable.; There are some beautiful new colours, particularly the Soul Red Crystal Metallic, especially when seen in sunlight. There is a price to pay, though: £800…or a few quid extra a month maybe.
One clever and notable addition were the USB ports in the rear armrest for passengers, easy to access and well placed.
A very favourable first impression is the bottom line. Oh, and residual values are another impressive scoring point for the car that is, just ahead of Mazda3, the company’s best seller.
Car reviewed: Mazda CX-5 2.2D 175ps 4WD Sport Nav Auto – On the road £33,195 0-60mph 9.4 secs Top speed 126mph limited Fuel Economy combined 51.4mpg CO2 emissions 152g/km Engine 4-cylinder 2191cc diesel EU6 Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed auto with manual mode
More sophisticated and stylish than before
Enjoyable and responsive to drive
Refined and comfortable cabin
None to mention