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Mazda CX-5 review – hands-on

great handling, styling, features and price; the Mazda CX-5 is our favourite crossover


SCBS works up to 19mph, and even though it won’t prevent every low-speed collision, it will decrease the consequences. It’s a great safety feature that works as a fail-safe rather than something on which drivers rely, and it’s something we’d like to see on other cars.

Mazda CX-5 SatNav

The Mazda CX-5’s touchscreen multimedia system is full of hot tech

No matter how well it drives, no car is complete without gadgetry and in-car entertainment, and the CX-5 is well endowed with both. In addition to the usual complement of electric window switches and automatic wipers, you also get a number of wheel-mounted controls for the in-car entertainment, cruise control and telephony systems. The buttons are large enough to press accurately while driving and are sensibly located so you don’t accidentally hit them. Using them became second nature in a matter of minutes.

The main focus of the in-car entertainment, navigation and telephony systems is the 5.8in touchscreen. Three large buttons let you quickly switch between the navigation, audio and phone screens, and we had no trouble viewing the screen because of its slightly recessed position.

We connected our phone to the CX-5 using Bluetooth and were soon listening to music stored on it through the CX-5’s high-quality speakers. Pressing the relevant directional button on either touchscreen or the steering wheel changed tracks, but track changes weren’t instantaneous, which proved annoying after a while. Conveniently, you can connect your phone to the multimedia system and charge it at the same time by plugging it in to a USB socket located in a cubby hole in the centre console. The CX-5’s telephony system was similarly straightforward to use, and we could communicate clearly with the people we called.

Its SatNav system is powered by TomTom technology, and we were mightily impressed by it. The display is large enough to see the map clearly and its spoken-word instructions are clearly articulated and infrequent enough not to irritate. Indeed, the timing and clarity of the spoken-word instructions were so good we rarely needed to look at the map and left the touchscreen on the audio page instead.

Mazda CX-5 Side

The Mazda CX-5 hides its bulk well

Prices for the Mazda CX-5 start at £21,395 on the road for the 2.0-litre 165ps 2WD manual version, which includes 17in alloys, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, SCBS and the touchscreen interface. The TomTom navigation system costs £400 more, but that’s a premium definitely worth paying.

Mazda is heavily promoting its new SkyActiv technology with the launch of the CX-5, and that’s because all future Mazda’s will benefit from it. Although Mazda has created an electric vehicle (the Demio EV), it isn’t commercially available. Mazda believes that all-electric vehicles don’t have much of a future, and that improving and refining the internal combustion engine with certain EV technologies will produce more efficient and environmentally sound cars that people will want to buy.

One such SkyActiv technology is i-stop, which cuts the engine when you’re stationary. This technology is nothing new, but it’s available across the range, and it cuts noise and pollution when driving around town, in addition to increasing fuel economy.

Mazda CX-5 iStop Panel

i-Stop conserves fuel and cuts noise by stopping the engine when stationary

The initial CX-5 line-up includes a 2.0-litre petrol engine (SkyActiv-G) with a power output of 165ps and a 2.2-litre diesel (SkyActiv-D) with power outputs of 150ps and 175ps. We test-drove the base 150ps 2.2-litre diesel. In addition to these new engines, drivers can choose an automatic or six-speed manual gearbox, 2WD or 4WD, and select one of four equipment levels.

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