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Mazda's low-CO2 crossover driven

  • CX-5 set to make an excellent company car
  • Emissions of 119g/km CO2 drive BIK tax down
  • Genuinely innovative and good to drive

Written by Parkers Published: 25 November 2011 Updated: 25 November 2011

There’s an all-new Mazda off-roader on the way, and as company car drivers you may want to sit up and take note.

Named the CX-5, this car represents a big shift for the Japanese firm. The relationship with Ford has ended and Mazda has introduced a new concept called ‘SKYACTIV’ – a method of using the latest technology to maximise efficiency without compromising the car’s dynamics.

What this translates to is a five-seat crossover that’s excellent to drive while being capable of very competitive fuel economy. Mazda claims it will achieve an average of 62.8mpg and emit just 119g/km of CO2, in the most frugal specification.

With such low CO2 emissions, you can expect a BIK rate payable at 17% when the car is released later next year. With its P11d value expected to be around £25,000, for the lower-powered 2.2-litre diesel front-wheel drive model, it will cost around £140 per month on the 40% pay scale. In some ways it’s a shame the car is coming so late though; if it was available this year you’d pay tax at 13%, which would have dropped the monthly cost to around £110.

One of the main reasons for the low CO2 emissions and high fuel economy is the all-new 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged diesel engine. The way this engine performs is pretty astonishing when you remember it’s meant to be an ‘eco’ car.

The diesels are definitely the more impressive of the engines. These offer huge amounts of torque lower down the rev range and are impressively flexible, making for stress-free driving and overtaking.

Furthermore, there’s a very clever system whereby a smaller turbocharger is used for lower-load applications, with a larger turbo kicking in when the driver requires extra go. The pair can even work together on occasions too, as the driver works his way through the rev range. The upshot of this is an extremely smooth power delivery all the way to the redline at 5,200rpm.

The net effect of all this technology is a low-CO2 car that’ll hit 62mph in less than 10 seconds, and can go on to a top speed of over 120mph.  

Handling is great too. Although you get lower CO2 emissions in two-wheel-drive configuration, there’s loads of grip thanks to the high profile tyres. Steering is precise and sharp, although could possibly benefit from a little more feedback from a driver’s point of view.

The space in the back of the car is also very impressive. It will easily seat, in total, five taller adults comfort with room to spare. The cavernous boot boasts 503 litres of space which trumps the likes of the Nissan Qashqai which offers 410 litres. The rear seats also fold down in a clever 40:20:40 configuration. This makes the load area extremely versatile when transporting larger loads.

To find out more about the way Mazda is headed and why this car is so important, click here for the full road test of the CX-5.

Also consider:

Volkswagen Tiguan

Reliable, well-built and sharply styled, the Tiguan’s one of the best cars in its class. Low emissions BlueMotion versions are available.

Ford Kuga

If you’re looking for a stylish 4×4 then it’s worth considering the Kuga. It’s comfortable, refined and has an upmarket interior.

Skoda Yeti

The distinctive Yeti’s also available with four-wheel drive. There’s also an economical and clean Greenline version.