- Monthly cost tumbles by more than £34
- CX-5 PCP finance costs now much more competitive
- Mazda better to drive than pricey Nissan alternative
- Monthly cost tumbles by more than £34
- CX-5 PCP finance costs now much more competitive
- Mazda better to drive than pricey Nissan alternative
Our CX-5 2.2d 150hp Sport Nav – which would have set you back £449 per month when we picked up the car (on a three-year, 9,000-mile-per-year contract with a £4,229 deposit) – has tumbled to less than £415.
Together these mean you pay far less interest, more than off-setting residual values which have also fallen – a move that would typically lead to higher monthly costs.
Lower PCP costs make CX-5 worth reconsidering
These changes mean that while the CX-5 was around £85 per month more than Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga equivalents, it now averages out at around £50 more. Bear in mind the Mazda’s refined, punchy engine, striking looks and rarity factor and it could justify that extra cost for many drivers.
Meanwhile, a top-spec Skoda Kodiaq – with the benefit of an automatic gearbox and seven seats as standard – has gone from being £44 less than the CX-5 to just £11 less. Yes, the Kodiaq is still the sensible choice, but it’s now much easier to justify going for the Mazda if the Skoda doesn’t appeal.
Those considering the Peugeot 3008 alternative will also want to think seriously about the CX-5; while it was £48 per month more than the French car, the Peugeot is now £1 per month more.
Similarly, the equivalent Volkswagen Tiguan, which initially undercut the Mazda, would now set you back an additional £19 each month.
Nissan X-Trail shows how good our CX-5 is
Another close rival for the CX-5 that we got our hands on recently, is the Nissan X-Trail. Despite feeling much more low-rent inside than the Mazda, the Nissan is a far pricier car.
Go for the X-Trail 2.0 dCi 177hp Tekna – which only just matches the Mazda for performance, despite offering more power – and you’ll have to stump up a whopping £35,960 compared with £28,695 for the CX-5.
Yes, the Nissan includes all-wheel drive as standard – though this will offer little tangible benefit to most drivers – but even so it is extraordinarily expensive. Especially as the Mazda looks more striking inside and out and feels like a more substantial machine.
Though you can find huge discounts of more than £8,000 for this model online, we’re still not sure the X-Trail is worth around £28,000; the Mazda is by far the more rounded car for the money – even before discounts.
Mazda CX-5 trounces Nissan X-Trail on the road
Worse still, the Nissan’s engine is coarse and doesn’t feel that powerful, forcing you to change gear regularly to exploit its very narrow powerband.
The CX-5’s motor makes the Mazda feel like a magic carpet in comparison, with significantly greater refinement and strong pull from much lower in the rev range; far more fitting for a family car.
Even if you go for the cheaper 1.6-litre diesel Nissan – which offers much less muscle for dealing with a full complement of passengers or a heavy load – you’ll be more than £4,000 out of pocket.
It’s no different on the finance front, with the X-Trail 1.6 dCi 130 Tekna working out at £35 per month more than the Mazda. As a result, we can think of absolutely no reason to go for the Nissan.
The Mazda is also the more satisfying car around bends and provides a slicker gearchange and smoother ride – meaning it’s the better choice for both driver and passengers.
Another area it outclasses the Nissan is in visibility terms; no, the CX-5 isn’t the easiest car to see out of, but it’s far easier to manoeuvre than the X-Trail, which has huge rear pillars.
Yes, we’re yet to be blown away by the CX-5, but comparing it with the X-Trail really does highlight how many things it is good at.
Fifth update: practical matters
Measuring in at 4.55m long, the Mazda CX-5 competes against models such as the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and Nissan X-Trail. That means it’s practically the same length as a VW Golf Estate – and they share the same boot size with the rear seats folded.
It’s a different matter if you need to use the rear seats, however. While the Golf Estate provides 605 litres for suitcases, antiques, dogs or whatever else you need to transport, the CX-5 can muster just 506 litres. So is the CX-5 usable enough for the typical tasks you’re likely to ask of it?
With a house move on the cards, I grabbed the Mazda’s keys to find out. With clothes, boxes, books and small bits of furniture to haul, I was keen to see just how much could be coaxed into the CX-5’s squared-off tail.
Wide-opening doors make loading Mazda CX-5 surprisingly easy
The first thing that strikes you when loading up this Mazda is just how wide the back doors open. This may sound like a small point, but it makes getting yourself in and out very easy, while making it possible to fit a not insubstantial bedside table into the rear passenger side footwell.
This easy access also aided with hanging up half-a-wardrobe’s worth of clothes in the back and adding in several duvets, an uplighter, a desk chair and several boxes – all without breaking into the boot.
Claimed volume unimpressive, but very usable in reality
The CX-5’s closest rivals, the Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage aren’t too much competition when it comes to boot size; the Kuga essentially matches the CX-5 with the rear seats folded and the Sportage is similarly practical with the rear seats up. Neither can match the CX-5 on both counts, though.
Look at the Nissan X-Trail, Skoda Kodiaq and VW Tiguan, however, and the Mazda is way down on space, whichever way you configure the boot. Despite the numbers, this is still a very practical car. Unless you’re lugging the tallest of grandfather clocks or need to fit in dozens of awkwardly sized boxes, you shouldn’t have any issues here.
Mazda CX-5 practicality: tall load area with user-friendly boot cover
What makes the Mazda’s boot particularly useful, is that it’s tall enough to fit high items such as a wooden clothes basket below the boot cover.
The flexible cover moves up with the hatchback, so it’s out of the way when you’re loading and it doesn’t get knocked out of place when you shut the hatch.
This is much more user friendly than the stiff boot covers with some other models or those that fire out of place when knocked, grazing knuckles in the process.
As a result, we managed to make full use of the space under the boot cover, with no precarious piles of luggage needed to fit everything in.
Diesel fuel economy still way off the mark
Mazda has a good reputation for producing cars that often return fuel economy close to their official figures, however, the CX-5 is still falling far short of its claimed 56.5mpg.
Our latest reading of 42.8mpg is around 25% shy of that claim. Considering our first tank came in at 47.1mpg, we’re still hoping to improve upon this in future fills.
Fuel economy: 42.8mpg
Fourth update: undertray not up to par
Head into any supermarket car park and you’ll realise just how many off-roaders Brits are driving. Despite most motorists never leaving tarmac behind, the prospect of a high-riding, boxy 4x4 seems to be irresistible for many. But are these suitable for modern roads?
We found the CX-5 a comfortable companion on a 500-mile jaunt down from Scotland to Cambridgeshire when we picked up the keys, so comfort is one of its plus points. The driving position also works well, as you’re high enough to have a good view of the road ahead, but low enough to be able to reach all the dashboard controls easily.
Mazda CX-5 undertray vulnerable
Despite its SUV stance, we’re perplexed by the fact that the CX-5’s undertray hangs down a little below the door line, reducing its ground clearance and making it look as if it’s come loose at the best of times. So it was only half a surprise recently, when this undertray did come loose and started dragging along the road.
We still can’t work out what triggered this, but we did splash through a particularly big puddle earlier on in the trip - though as the undertray had torn, sheared off a retaining bolt and come loose at one end, even this doesn’t seem like much of an explanation.
Hearing a scuffing sound as we drove along a dual carriageway, we stopped to inspect what was going on. Finding one of the layers of the undertray rubbing on the tarmac and a bolt tapping against the bottom of the car, we folded everything back into place as best we could and returned to the road again – albeit at a lower speed.
Mazda dealer wanted £264 for replacing damaged undertray
Inspecting the undertray at the end of the journey, we were surprised to note the material – halfway between fabric and cardboard in texture – which we wouldn’t expect to find anywhere exposed to the elements. Despite that, this material covers most of the underside of the car and is quite exposed.
Back at the office the next day, we phoned Donald’s Mazda Peterborough to work out our options. We dropped off the car for inspection the next day. Once jacked up on the ramps, it was clear that two undertrays were damaged and needed to be replaced, the garage claimed.
Though these look like nothing more than cheap, disposable items, the bill for replacing them was quoted at £263.93 – a lot considering they don’t seem sturdy enough to live under a car.
Telling the garage to go ahead with the work, we were told that it would be several days until the parts arrived. Presumably this isn’t – as of yet – a widespread issue for new CX-5 owners.
Interestingly, the bill ended up to coming to a slightly more palatable £246.95, though a whopping £193 of this was simply for the parts.
No other dramas to report after 2,000 miles in our care
Now the new parts have been fitted we’ve inspected the positioning of the new undertrays; it looks like one overlaps the other under the car. Interestingly, there is a gap between the sheets, which we imagine makes these susceptible to damage.
With the prospect of being splashed and hit by road debris – or even by rocks should you take this off-roader off road – we still can’t fathom out why something sturdier isn’t fitted.
In all other departments, there’s not much to report and no real signs of any other wear and tear. The engine remains punchy and refined for a diesel, the ride reasonably comfortable and the boot and rear seat space very good.
Fuel economy is still in freefall, though, reaching a new low of 43.4mpg, after a particularly inefficient – 38.5mpg – tank at the hands of our enthusiastic CAR colleagues. We imagine twisty Welsh roads may be to blame for this drop. Even so, a 43.4mpg average isn’t too bad for a large, heavy off-roader.
Fuel economy: 43.4mpg
Third update: Far more expensive than rivals on PCP finance
The Mazda CX-5 has competitive list prices, but don’t think that these have much relation to how much you’ll have to pay each month for PCP finance. With no deposit contribution discount and high 5.9% APR, you’ll have to dig deep to put a CX-5 on the drive.
While our CX-5 2.2d 150hp Sport Nav with metallic paint in cash terms is around £2,500 more than some rivals – such as the closest Kia Sportage – it’s still nearly £4,000 less than an equivalent VW Tiguan and over £5,400 less than the most similar Land Rover Discovery Sport. Look at finance costs, however, and it’s a different picture.
PCP finance costs: Mazda CX-5 over £90 per month more than Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga
You’ll have to pay a hefty £449 per month on a three-year, 9,000-mile-per-year contract (with a £4,229 deposit). That compares with just £355 for the Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi AWD GT-Line, despite this car also having all-wheel drive as standard (identical finance terms).
Even the plusher high-spec Sportage 2.0 CRDI AWD KX-4 will cost you less at £434 per month. Don’t think the Sportage is the only SUV that undercuts our CX-5; the Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI 150 Titanium X is just £360 per month, currently benefitting from a £2,000 discount and interest-free credit.
Save over £3,000 by financing Sportage or Kuga over CX-5
Go for the GT-Line Sportage or the Ford and you’ll save yourself more than £3,000 over three years if you run the car and then hand it back at the end of the contract. Even if you can afford the Mazda, think about all the options you could add to the Kia or Ford for the same monthly payment.
Another striking mid-size off-roader is the Peugeot 3008. There’s only £250 difference in the list prices – the Peugeot being the cheaper – but you can save £48 per month with the 3008. That weighs in at £1,724 in savings over three years.
Even if you plan to make the optional final payment to buy your car when the contract ends, the CX-5 is a pricey prospect at £32,865 overall – including £3,370 worth of interest. In comparison, you’d be more than £4,300 better off with the Kia, £4,500 with the Ford. That figure is £625 for the Peugeot.
Skoda Kodiaq: more seats and auto gearbox for £44 less per month
If you want the most SUV for your money, though, the Skoda Kodiaq is hard to beat. Even in range-topping Edition trim, with seven usable seats and an automatic gearbox, the Kodiaq will leave you with an extra £44 in your pocket each month.
Better still, Skoda is currently offering a further £1,000 off for cars ordered before the end of September. All together, that makes the Kodiaq £3,000 cheaper over three years. As a result, this is the car the CX-5 has to beat.
On paper, that makes the Kodiaq a much more sensible proposition, but we will see how they fare when we put the two head-to-head in the near future.
Upmarket VW Tiguan and Land Rover Discovery Sport very similar in price
If none of those badges do it for you, it’s also cheaper to opt for the VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 2WD R-Line than the Mazda. With supersized 20-inch alloy wheels, bold body styling and a plush cabin, the Tiguan feels like a more substantial machine and it’ll save you £8 per month, at £441.
The Tiguan will cost you several thousand pounds more, though, if you plan to buy it at the end of the contract. As for the Land Rover Discovery Sport eD4 150hp HSE, that’ll set you back just £16 per month more, even though it has a £5,440 higher list price.
That doesn’t seem bad value, considering the Land Rover’s interior feels more luxurious and it offers off-road credentials that our Mazda doesn’t have. This is all the more obvious when you clock the CX-5’s low-slung undertray that hangs below the door line.
Stiff competition from Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2d 150hp Sport Nav
It’s not just other SUVs that the CX-5 has to beat, there’s the Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2d 150hp Sport Nav, which shares the same engine.
That’s not all the 6 Tourer shares; the boot is exactly the same size as the CX-5 with the seats up and larger with them folded. It also returns 8mpg more, is faster and a whopping £92 per month cheaper.
The biggest difference, however, comes if you plan to make the optional final payment to buy the car at the end of the contract. That’s because the 6 Tourer works out an enormous £6,910 less than the CX-5.
Yes, many people value the higher driving position that SUVs offer, but would you pay an additional £92 every month simply for the privilege of sitting higher? Over the coming months we’ll see how the CX-5 compares with these alternatives.
Fuel economy: 44.5mpg
Second update: packed with kit for a competitive list price
The Mazda CX-5 might be overshadowed by big-selling Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage rivals in the minds of many crossover buyers, but could it be the smart choice? That’s what we’re hoping to find out over the next six months.
We’ve gone for the model which is expected to top CX-5 sales – the 2.2d 150hp 2WD Sport Nav. This CX-5 would also be our choice if it were our money.
That’s because the entry-level diesel offers greater performance than the sole petrol version and is £2,700 cheaper than the all-wheel-drive-only 175hp diesel alternative. And it’s got all the standard kit you could want.
CX-5 choice: 150hp diesel in top-spec Sport Nav trim
You might have to pay a little more for this diesel over the 165hp petrol, but this is money well spent, as the 150hp diesel offers much greater real-world punch than the turbo-free 2.0-litre petrol, which has to be worked when accelerating or trying to maintain speed uphill.
Despite being the least powerful CX-5, our 150hp model is barely any slower than the range-topping 175hp diesel – taking a reasonable 9.4 seconds to accelerate to 62mph – as it does without the latter’s heavy, acceleration-hindering all-wheel drive.
Better still, the diesel engine and two-wheel drive combination mean that this is the most economical CX-5 on paper, returning claimed economy of 56.5mpg – ahead of the 175hp model’s 52.3mpg and the petrol’s 44.1mpg claim.
Mazda Sport Nav specification includes everything you’d want
Two trim levels are available on the CX-5; SE-L Nav and Sport Nav. All models have a decent array of equipment fitted as standard, though stepping up to Sport Nav adds a significant amount of extra high-end kit.
All Mazda CX-5s include:
- Sat-nav with three years’ European map updates
- 7.0-inch media system
- DAB radio and Bluetooth
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Dual-zone climate control
- Cruise control
- Automatic headlights and wipers
- Adaptive LED headlights
- Electric-folding wing mirrors
- Reclining rear seats
Sport Nav trim adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Reversing camera
- Keyless entry
- 10-speaker Bose sound system
- Electric tailgate
- Black leather upholstery
- Electric driver and passenger’s seat
- Heated steering wheel
- Head-up display
- Traffic sign recognition
Our test car is completely standard apart from the addition of Deep Crystal Blue metallic paint for an additional £560. That takes the cash price from £28,695 to £29,255; not much considering how much equipment is thrown in. We’d be tempted to choose another colour, however, as this murky blue isn’t the most flattering shade on a mid-size off-roader.
As you get so much kit as standard, though, we’d also consider saving ourselves £3,000 by going for SE-L Nav trim. While the reversing camera is a nice to have, we’ll be considering over the next six months whether we’d pay extra for the other Sport Nav toys.
We’ll also be keeping tabs on the CX-5’s fuel economy. It’s currently ticking along at 47.0mpg – a pretty strong figure considering how few miles the car has covered.
Fuel economy: 47.0mpg
First update: I would drive 500 miles
The old CX-5 accounted for 25% of Mazda’s global sales, so the new one better be good. We’ve flown up to Scotland to find out, by pitting what’s expected to be the bestselling version – the 2.2d 150hp Sport Nav 2WD – against 500 miles of the toughest roads we can find.
With just a day to transport us through the Cairngorms, across the Forth road bridge, around the traffic-clogged outskirts of Edinburgh and through the scenic Kielder Forest Park and North Pennines – plus hundreds of miles of dreary A1 motorway – the CX-5 has a big task ahead of it.
Standard-fit sat-nav, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and a Bose sound system should make the CX-5 a relaxing long-distance machine. But how does it fare in reality and will it ferry us 500 miles on one tank of diesel? Read on to find out.
Mazda claims new CX-5 is more upmarket than before
With breakfast devoured and the CX-5 brimmed with diesel, we set off from near Aberdeen towards the Cairngorms – home to five of the UK’s six highest mountains. Stuck behind a series of tractors lugging ever larger loads, the CX-5 was a relaxing place to sit for the first few miles of dawdling.
Thanks to light but direct steering, a relatively firm but smooth ride and a slick gearchange, no acclimatising was needed. Despite the raised driving position – which can sometimes cut down on side and rear visibility, the CX-5 feels surprisingly small on the road, boosting confidence.
Furthermore, all the controls fall easily to hand, unlike in some jacked-up cars, where it can feel as if the driver’s seat is high in relation to the knobs and switches, making them hard to reach.
CX-5 sat-nav uses rotary control rather than touchscreen
As the road began to snake upwards, the tractors slowly disappeared, letting us pick up speed. With clear enough instructions from the sat-nav voice and on the screen, keeping tabs on where to go wasn’t a problem.
It’s good that Mazda has avoided the temptation to provide touchscreen controls for its media system when driving, as these can make the simplest of radio or sat-nav adjustments hugely distracting.
The rotary dial is easy to find and use while driving, without having to divert your eyes from the road.
However, we wish the system wouldn’t jump back to the top of the station list every time you change the radio, forcing you to scroll down from the top again if you want to channel hop. This is infuriating when you’re 500 miles from home and have never heard of half of the local radio stations!
Mazda CX-5 remains fun to drive
Heading further up the Cairngorms and past a series of dormant ski lifts, it quickly became evident that this Mazda is just as satisfying to drive as its predecessor. While it’s no sports car, keen drivers forced into getting a practical car by parenthood shouldn’t feel short changed with the CX-5.
On the most bumpy, undulating parts of the A93 heading down from the Glenshee Ski Centre, the Mazda remained unflustered. The steering could have done with a little more weight to provide a greater sense of the front tyres’ grip, though.
Diesel CX-5 makes much more sense than petrol
While diesel emissions continue to be under scrutiny, you’ll definitely want to skip the petrol option in the CX-5. With no turbocharger to boost power and low engine speed muscle, this motor feels thoroughly overwhelmed if you encounter any form of hill or need to accelerate briskly.
Scottish mountain roads may be steep, but the petrol version we tried the previous day required full throttle and a huge amount of gear-changing simply to maintain 50mph or so on these. We even found ourselves in third and, worse still, second gear with the engine screaming away several times during our test.
Thankfully, even the less powerful diesel – with 150hp – had no such issues. It provided a hefty amount of shove from far lower engine speeds than Volkswagen, Kia and Volvo alternatives could muster.
More than this, it performed very strongly at high engine speeds, proving smoother and faster when worked hard than nearly all rivals. You probably won’t mistake it for a petrol, but the 2.2-litre diesel is infinitely more refined and punchy than even the 177hp diesel Nissan X-Trail.
CX-5 comfort levels continue to impress
Despite several hours behind the wheel and the fact our CX-5 has a manual gearbox, the first few hours of our 500-mile trip were surprisingly comfortable.
With little noise from the engine, and not much in the way of wind or road noise, the miles were flying by. Crossing the Forth road bridge provided a dramatic change of scene.
Skirting the Scottish capital saw heavy traffic and stop-start progress. The light clutch and steering meant this wasn’t too taxing and before long we turned onto the A7 which plunges through the Scottish countryside.
Fuel economy hovering around 50mpg
Continuing south onto smaller and smaller roads the CX-5 hit the English border at 5:44pm – nearly eight hours after setting off, but still nowhere near halfway through the journey distance-wise.
Thankfully, just as the average speed was low, fuel use was low, too. The trip computer was hovering not too far below the 50mpg mark – a little adrift of the 56.5mpg claimed, but not bad considering the huge hills summited and traffic encountered near Edinburgh.
Skirting the scenic shores of Kielder Water, the route cut cross country past Newcastle, clipping the east side of the Pennines. With light starting to fade we pointed the CX-5 onto the A1 at Scotch Corner and readied ourselves for several hours of slogging south.
Effective Bluetooth connection
With around 200 miles of A1 to pass and having exhausted all three radio stations within range, we tried out the CX-5’s Bluetooth phone connectivity to break up the monotony.
Simple to set up and clear in sound quality, this was a big tick for the Mazda. With dedicated steering wheel-mounted phone controls and a straightforward onscreen menu, making and receiving calls is a much less distracting process than with some rivals.
Mazda CX-5 road trip: 500 miles, 13 hours, 47.1mpg real economy
The CX-5 cruised dutifully along the A1 for the final three hours of our trip. The only drama came from it predicting that we wouldn’t make it to St Neots, Cambridgeshire, without running out of fuel.
This despite theoretically being capable of 697 miles per tank - far more than we were asking of it.
Cruising gently along the A1 saw that range figure increase, eventually leaving us with 31 miles spare when we arrived in St Neots 13 hours and 8 minutes after setting off.
Though we’d driven the final four hours straight without stopping, the CX-5 had remained remarkably comfortable considering.
Disappointing, however, was the fuel economy. It may have displayed a consumption figure of 50.9mpg on the trip computer, but our 500-mile trip worked out at a less impressive 47.1mpg in reality.
That’s still reasonable, but a significant difference from the displayed figure.
First impressions: Well-equipped, refined and good value
Our CX-5 – a 2.2d 150hp Sport Nav model with one option, metallic paint – made a pretty good impression on its first outing with us.
In Sport Nav trim we couldn’t have wanted for any more kit – in fact all we could have asked for was cold weather to test out the heated seats and steering wheel. Acceleration and refinement from the diesel engine are also good.
Over the next six months, however, we’ll be seeing how this £29,255 model stacks up against rivals to establish whether it’s the medium SUV to go for.