I’d spent the previous week in 4×4 writers heaven, from rock climbing in a Range Rover to messing around in a Mercedes G350. It was a good week, proper 4×4’ing in proper 4×4’s. So it was quite odd to be stood looking down at the Mazda CX-5 AWD, a Crossover SUV whose section of the market is becoming ever more popular.
Personally I wouldn’t say it’s a pretty car (sorry Mazda), it isn’t the kind of car that I’d look back at in a car park and smile with admiration, but it isn’t an ugly car either (trying to redeem myself). I don’t find it an instantly recognisable either as recently I thought my neighbour had bought one, turned out to be a Mitsubishi ASX, or a Qashqai, and that’s my point! (I’m sure with a bigger shovel I could dig myself into a deeper hole). Let’s just say that it wasn’t designed with me in mind.
Anyhow, experience has taught me that we should never judge a book by its cover, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that getting behind the wheel was quite a nice experience, very user friendly. I quite liked the chunky steering wheel that’s pleasantly small, and there was plenty of space for all my gubbins. I liked the quality and feel of the controls which all appeared to hand.
Space is in abundance, I could even sit comfortably in the back behind the drivers seat which was positioned for my long legs. Boot capacity is generous too, with 503ltrs extending to 1620ltrs when the rear seats are folded down.
Accessory wise, the entry-level SE-L trim comes with lots of luxury kit, including dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth and cruise control.
One of the first things I noticed was its huge door mirrors, though not a lot of glass. These may contribute to the loud road noise that some owners and reviewers have complained about, though during my brief encounter this was never an issue.
On the subject of driving, when I eventually found the elusive Start/Stop button and took to the roads my thoughts turned to it being a cracking little vehicle. Like most modern cars, it tells you when to change gear with an arrow on the dash which I initially found quite condescending, until I realised I was in 4th instead of 6th. That’s because it was so quiet inside!
After just under an hour mooching around the Yorkshire countryside I found myself really enjoying the experience. There was a fair bit of poke from the 2.2 engine (175ps), and the 6 speed box was a joy. The official 54mpg combined fuel consumption figure (136g/km), isn’t too shabby either, I was beginning to wish I could keep it for a week or so.
Throwing it around corners proved that Mazda has taken its handling seriously, but I wonder what the trade of would be off road, after all it is the AWD model. Having said that, I wouldn’t bother introducing it to your local green lane, but for snow, sand and a grassy field, like all modern 4×4’s with their electronic wizardry, I imagine that the CX-5 would be fairly capable.
Any complaints? Well, every time I put the damn thing in reverse it made a ‘bing’ noise and a warning came up on the centre screen saying something like, ‘watch out for things around you.’ I didn’t have time to figure out how to turn it off. I was also told that it didn’t come with the option of a spare wheel/tyre, just the puncture kit. This is a personal grievance of mine, I don’t care about the extra weight, I honestly think it’s irresponsible to sell cars without a spare, unfortunately it’s a cost saving step that the majority of car manufactures are taking these days.
The standard price of £28,395 (exc. options), is a fair chunk of cash, but I have to admit that I would be more than happy to drive a CX-5 around on a daily basis. It’s quiet, comfortable, and fun to drive, nice one Mazda!
2015 sees the whole Mazda range getting a significant upgrade with enhancements in standard equipment as well as refreshed external and internal styling. So watch this space for new updates on the CX-5