Mazda CX-5 Review 2022
Mazda CX-5 At A Glance
Insurance Groups are between 15–21
On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure
The Mazda CX-5 proves that you don't have to compromise on style or driver appeal when buying an SUV. Not only does it look just as fresh today as when it first arrived in 2017, it remains one of the most enjoyable SUVs to drive. The interior, meanwhile, is exquisite – giving you little reason to buy a Volkswagen Tiguan or Ford Kuga over one of these.
There is, of course, a caveat. One of our biggest criticisms of the Mazda CX-5 is its engine line-up. The lack of a hybrid powertrain wasn't really a big deal five years ago but today, with competition from the lacks of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, it seems more than just an oversight.
Instead, you get a choice of traditional petrol or diesel power. And we really mean traditional – the petrol engines aren't small capacity turbocharged units like you'll find in rivals; you can even buy the Mazda CX-5 with a thirsty (and not particularly powerful) 2.5-litre petrol engine.
It's unfashionable to say so, but we reckon the Mazda CX-5 is at its best with a diesel engine. You can buy a 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 150PS or 184PS – the lower powered unit is fine, unless you want four-wheel drive. That's only available on the higher powered model, while buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
Engines aside, the Mazda CX-5 is a lovely SUV to drive. While it feels surprisingly agile, that doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort. Sure, models with the 19-inch alloy wheels will patter a little over potholes, but it's not offensively firm.
Inside, the Mazda CX-5 is spacious and does without gimmicks. You can decide if that's a good thing – there's no sliding rear bench, for example, nor a massive touchscreen display taking pride of place on the centre of the dash. It's extremely well finished, though, with premium materials that put a Ford Kuga's cabin to shame.
All models from 2021 onwards come with an impressive 10.25-inch navigation system, operated by a rotary controller down on the centre console. It's super easy to use, while its sharp graphics and fast responses add to the CX-5's premium ambience.
While it's tempting to go for the pricier Mazda CX-5 trim levels, there's not necessarily any need to. All CX-5 models are well equipped, with even the entry-level SE-L come with the aforementioned sat-nav, front/rear parking sensors and a long list of driver-assist technology (including radar cruise control and an emergency braking system).
The Mazda CX-5 continues to be a left-field choice, but we think it's a shame that few buyers give it more than a passing consideration. It looks great, feels great and is great to drive, with only a slightly lacklustre engine line-up letting it down.
Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar's Mazda CX-5 review.