Review Of Mazda CX-5 2016 - When it comes to the compact SUV market, Nissan’s Qashqai pretty much rules the roost in terms of sales, but that’s not to say that it goes completely unchallenged… This is Mazda’s CX-5, and if ever there was a rival to get the Qashqai sweating under the collar, this would very definitely be it. Having scooped numerous awards for its quality, value for money and performance, it even celebrated the production of its millionth model last year as testament to its popularity. There’s no denying that it’s a good looking thing either, with this range-topping Sport Nav model coming with these 19-inch two-tone alloys, so what’s it like on the inside? Well, modern Mazdas have a reputation for high-quality, handsome cabins and this one is no different with its smart leather upholstery and contrasting chrome trim. Along with this chunky dash, you’ve got an infotainment screen and dual-zone air con controls all laid out nice and simply, while I have to say that the fact this car comes with a set of good old fashioned dials to me is really nice. There’s no TFT screen gizmos to worry about here, just a clear, simple and well thought out layout. Given that this is the Sport-Nav trim, you’ve also got features like sat-nav, cruise control and parking sensors plus a reversing camera, alongside these supportive front seats and this compact leather-trimmed steering wheel.
In previous reviews, we’ve sung the praises of Mazda’s Connect infotainment system and its little scroll wheel, but it continues to impress and it’s worth going over again – it’s so much quicker, more intuitive and above all safer to access infotainment features when on the move, with no fuss or touchscreen lag to worry about. Compared against rivals like the Qashqai, the CX-5 is ever so slightly bigger, which means that the back’s really spacious and the seats in here are very comfortable. The transmission tunnel isn’t flat but all the same you shouldn’t have too much bother seating somebody in the middle, while tall folk will be happy enough as there’s also an impressive amount of headroom. There’s also two ISOFIX attachments in the back for your kids’ seats, along with a large centre armrest with big cupholders. Round the back, you’ve got 503 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, plus a low loading lip to help get larger items inside. Fold the back seats down and you get 1,620 litres in all, more than both the Qashqai and the Kia Sportage.Despite the fact that it’s slightly bigger than most of its rivals, the CX-5 doesn’t feel large when you’re on the road thanks to an eager set up and well-weighted, direct steering.
Again, no fussing around with adjustable drive modes or anything, you just get in and go and the result is one of the sportiest-feeling SUVs available. Two versions of the same 2.2-litre diesel engine are available in this car, but we’ve got the more powerful and punchy 173bhp version only available in Sport Nav trim, which features four-wheel drive and a choice of manual or automatic transmission. We’ve got the manual gearbox in this one and I have to say that I absolutely love it. Usually with these sorts of cars the automatic is a better option, but with its slick, short throw you can just pop up and down the gears in this with ease. On paper, it can reach 0-62mph in a pretty spry 8.8 seconds, but in truth it feels a lot faster thanks to a healthy dose of torque. Thanks to Mazda’s SKYACTIV engineering, it’s also able to return up to 54.3mpg with 136g/km of CO2. You can also choose a 163bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine if you like, but it’s manual only and also less economical than the diesels, so it’s harder to recommend unless you only do low mileages.
Starting from £23,195, the CX-5 is considerably more costly than the Qashqai, while this Sport Nav model is priced just shy of 30 grand. For some, it might be a little too much, but we think it’s worth it for the better drive and running costs are reasonably impressive too. Given the CX-5’s price, it’s not just SUVs that it needs to worry about, but also sportier versions of popular hatchbacks like the VW Golf and Ford Focus. Just as well then that its good looks and versatility is matched with impressive economy and a surprisingly athletic driving experience. As an all-rounder, the CX-5 really does deserve all the praise it gets. Thanks for read Review Of Mazda CX-5 2016.