Ever since Nissan launched the Qashqai crossover in the late naughties, rival manufacturers have been playing a bit of catch up, in a bid to try and topple its popularity. Now, the crossover market has become one of the most competitive in the UK, it seems buyers
Now, the crossover market has become one of the most competitive in the UK, it seems buyers cant get enough of the benefits of a spacious cabin, high driving position and car like driving manners. And while some manufacturers are struggling in this class, others have really impressed, like Mazda, with this, the CX5.
ON THE ROAD
Now while most crossovers may have a look of the off-roader about them, they are generally set up for road use, but its rare to find one that’s actually engaging to drive. Incredibly, Mazda has made it work. Lets not forget, the Japanese manufacturer knows a thing or two about setting up a car for the road, just take a look at the success of the MX5.
The Crossover though is a difficult one to get right, too firm and the ride will shake everyone’s fillings out, to soft and they’ll be reaching for the sick bags. The CX5 though just works. The steering is accurate and well weighted and the suspension absorbs potholes easily without a roly-poly nature through the bends.
There’s a small selection of engines, two 2.2 litre diesels with either 148 or 173bhp, or a 163bhp 2.0litre petrol. In essence the least powerful is the best one to go for, not only does it offer the best running costs, but its also smooth and impressively refined. Drive it carefully and you should return a healthy economy of over 60 miles per gallon.
IN THE CABIN
The interior is typical Mazda, all the buttons and controls are exactly as we’ve seen from other models. That’s not a bad thing though as everything is where it should be. A mid life face lift as seen some of the cheap plastics disappear, which is always welcome and it also brought with it a new infotainment system, shared with Mazda 3 and 6, which is controlled via this rotary dial by the hand brake. It all adds a little more style and class. The only drawback is that it does feel a little gloomy in here.
The CX5 is a five seater and there’s a good level of space whether you’re sat in the front, or in the back. In fact theres more room in the back than the Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Yeti.
The boot is a decent size, it offers 503 litres which isn’t the best in class, but it will be more than enough for most families, and it can be extended by folding down the split fold rear seats. This is made easier by a couple of handles in the boot, it’s just a shame that when they’re down, they don’t go entirely flat.
The CX5 is one of the best crossovers on the market at the moment, it’s sharp design, excellent road manners and well put together interior really put it up there with the very best in class. It’s just a shame it isn’t more spacious, and the engine line up is a little limited.