4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Pricing, equipment and strong diesels add to the CX-5's appeal

Mazda CX-5 SUV Review Video
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At a glance

New price £27,030 - £39,085
Lease from new From £274 p/m View lease deals
Used price £13,000 - £30,860
Used monthly cost From £324 per month
Fuel Economy 36.7 - 49.6 mpg
Road tax cost £150
Insurance group 14 - 23 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Distinctive exterior styling
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • The best-driving family SUV for the money

CONS

  • Petrol engine lacks low-rev punch
  • Avoid the larger wheels, they stiffen ride too much
  • Diesels less good value than the petrol model

Mazda CX-5 SUV rivals

Ford
Kuga
3.7 out of 5 3.7
Volkswagen
Tiguan
4.4 out of 5 4.4

Written by Adam Binnie on

If you're looking for a family-sized SUV, it's highly likely that Mazda is on your radar. Wherever you go, you'll see plenty of them on the roads – from the now-discontinued CX-3 and its sleeker CX-30 replacement, to the range-topping CX-5 we have here. Like all Mazdas, it has swoopy styling and a nicely-finished interior, and this one is currently powered by a mix of petrol and diesel engines – not a plug-in in sight.

We'll come back to that styling now – it has a sharp exterior look (the design language is called Kodo, if you're into that sort of thing) that sets it apart from its rivals. Inside, it's a stand-out performance, too, with a refined feel and the liberal use of high-quality materials. It looks less exciting than the outside, but a long list of standard equipment available across the CX-5 line-up makes it feel a good place to be.

It really does need to be good in a market packed with so many talented family SUVs. It's main opposition comes from the excellent Volkswagen Tiguan, SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq – but let's not forget the evergreen Nissan Qashqai and its French half-brother the Renault Kadjar. Finally, the Citroen C5 Aircross, Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X put up an impressively comfortable showing. Not forgetting the good to drive Ford Kuga.

So, what does the Mazda offer over and above the aforementioned cars?

CX-5 trim levels

The CX-5 packs in loads of contemporary technology such as a powered tailgate, a crisp head-up display and heated steering wheel. Even the entry-level models include tonnes of standard equipment, so whichever version you choose it's going to be well stocked for the money – without having to head to the options list and pay more.

Line-up-wise, the CX-5 range hierarchy is made up of SE-L, Sport and GT Sport trim levels.

In fact, the CX-5 feels a match for upmarket rivals such as the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC when it comes to interior quality. The dashboard is covered in faux leather on higher-spec models, with high-quality buttons and fittings used on the dashboard and doors. It's only in some other parts lower down the cabin where some fixtures feel more ordinary.

Efficient SkyActiv petrol and diesel engines

The CX-5 is powered by a range of tried-and-tested engines. You can specify a 2.2-litre diesel with either 150hp or 184hp (the latter replacing an earlier 175hp engine), plus a 165hp 2.0-litre petrol.

All use Mazda’s SkyActiv technology, using lighter materials and components wherever possible, to boost fuel economy and bring down running costs. Tweaks have also made elsewhere to improve the sound deadening throughout the car – it’s much quieter inside than its predecessor. 

That said, none boast especially impressive fuel efficiency or CO2 emissions figures compared with their non-plug-in rivals listed above. It should be noted that there's no immediate sign of any hybrid versions of the CX-5 in the near future, although Mazda's first fully electric car is a smaller, sporty SUV, the MX-30 will go on sale in 2021.

Both manual and automatic transmissions are available, but if you're looking for the extra traction of all-wheel drive (AWD) you'll need to go for the more powerful of the diesel engines.

What's it like to drive?

Like all Mazdas, the CX-5 is an agile handler – much better than most rivals and on a par with some compact hatchback models. As well as a stiffer body, this-generation CX-5 benefits from the rather wordy G-Vectoring Control, which helps tighten up the car’s handling even further when cornering.

On the whole, it's comfortable enough compared with its rivals (aside from the softer Citroen and Peugeot), as long as you stay away from the larger wheels on offer in the Sport and Sport GT models.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Mazda CX-5 including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Mazda CX-5 SUV rivals

Ford
Kuga
3.7 out of 5 3.7
Volkswagen
Tiguan
4.4 out of 5 4.4

Other Mazda CX-5 models: