Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Should you buy a Mazda CX-5 SUV?

Yes, if you enjoy driving. The CX-5 faces a tough challenge in tearing buyers away from the likes of established off-roaders including the Ford KugaKia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan. The appealing combination of the distinctive Kodo styling and SkyActiv fuel-saving tech – plus a raft of standard high-end kit – should be enough to get drivers’ attention.

In terms of which one you should go for, that's down to your own priorities. The petrol CX-5 is the cheapest one to buy, whether that's outright cash or on PCP finance, making it the go-to option for cost-conscious buyers. Luckily, you won't feel short-changed when it comes to equipment, though, as the CX-5 is well-equipped in every trim level. The only caveat with this engine is that it drinks more fuel than the 150hp diesel.

However, for many the diesel will make more sense, especially for drivers spending a lot of time on the motorway. The additional pulling power means there's much less effort or gearchanging going into overtaking manoeuvres, and the superior fuel economy will mean fuel bills will be lower long-term, too. The 184hp diesel is the one to go for if performance is a priority, but it's more punchy than exciting. Great for overtaking and long motorway stints, the CX-5 is still just a sensible family car.

Trim level-wise, the mid-range Sport has many of the niceties people require, but if you're the kind of person tempted to tick multiple option boxes, just progress up to the GT Sport instead.

And that's what makes the second-generation CX-5 so appealing – it's a driver's car despite being an oh-so practical SUV-shaped car. It takes over where the previous-generation model left of by offering sharp handling for the class, but this one offers much greater refinement – making it feel much more upmarket than before. The fantastic diesel engines are another high point which add to this car's recommended status.

Further reading:

>> We reveal the best hybrid SUVs

>> How good is Mazda's smaller CX-30 SUV?

>> Find out how much your car is worth