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Mazda CX-5 (2021 - )

With a fresh new look and some additional trim levels, Mazda claims the new CX-5 has undergone its most significant evolution since launching back in 2012. But is it enough to stand out in such a busy sector?

Starting price:
The model we tested was £29,145

Why we love it:
  • Stylish exterior and fun to drive
  • Beautifully crafted interior with a wealth of techno treats
  • Well balanced ride and practical for families
Where it could be better:
  • You have to work the engine and gears hard on lower-powered models
  • No seven-seater option
  • Softer suspension means extra body roll into bends
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Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Mazda has revised its 2022 CX-5 SUV model and customers can now choose from five trim grades called SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport (both Newground and Sport Black are new spec levels to the car).

It has always been one of the best-looking SUVs on the market and now the Mazda design team have further developed that appeal with a bolder styling and trim levels boasting their own distinctive look.

Since launching in the UK in 2012, more than 70,000 CX-5 models have been sold which accounts for about 25 per cent of Mazda’s sales. The company believes the new style, upgraded engines and extra kit will offer customers even more choice.

On The Road

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )


The Mazda CX-5 line-up is powered by a range of award-winning SKYACTIV-G 2.0 or 2.5-litre petrol engines and SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesel engines, which can be matched to manual or automatic gearboxes. In addition, customers can add an i-Activ all-wheel drive system to the mix.

We opted for the CX-5 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol model in the Newground trim with six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. With 165PS of power and 213Nm of torque, it could complete the 0-62mph dash in 10.5 seconds and maxed out at 125mph. The Newground model is only available with the one powertrain.

While it is happy cruising on dual carriageways at 70mph, you do have to work the gears and engine quite hard when climbing winding roads around the Scottish lochs. In a way, that adds to the appeal, because the gearbox and clutch are spot on for more aggressive driving styles but some may find it lacks the necessary guts for a sporty SUV. 

If that is the case, there are more powerful options to choose from – namely the 2.2-litre diesel version with 380Nm of torque, which was far sharper to drive.

But back to our petrol test car. On the open road it was really rewarding to drive once it had gained enough momentum and the balance and poise also impressed. The great all-round visibility is excellent in busier settings and the steering is perfectly weighted with bundles of driver feedback.

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Ride Handling

Mazda has made full use of its latest Skyactiv- Vehicle Architecture which sees improvements not only to the suspension and bodyshell, but also to comfort and refinement.

Noise and vibration levels have been reduced with a damping control system introduced and even the seating design has been enhanced so there is less body and head movement when driving across uneven road surfaces. All these features are designed to enhance the driver experience behind the wheel and certainly, in part, it has worked really well.

The grip through the tighter bends is good and, provided you are happy changing up and down through the gears to maintain the engine’s sweet spot, then it’s a great car to drive. There is a little body roll if curves are attacked too enthusiastically but the balance and control are quickly restored.

You will have to plan overtaking quite a while in advance as power levels can drop off quickly. Once again, this would not be an issue in higher-powered versions.

Our CX-5 was riding on 19-inch wheels which would have an impact on the ride and handling. If it’s out and out comfort you want, stick to smaller 16 or 17-inch wheels.

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )


With fresh styling across the range, the new CX-5 is definitely a looker. And each trim level has its own individual appeal.

For example, our Newground model (a new grade level) boasted a more rugged look with front and rear silver underguard trims matched to silver lower body side skirts, black door mirrors, sweeping light clusters, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights, lime green accents in the top corner of the black grille, and 19-inch black diamond cut alloy wheels.

Move inside and the interior of the new-look CX-5 is clutter-free and quite simplistic in its layout – which I liked. Once again there were distinctive Newground-specific trimmings such as lime green air vent surrounds, black half leatherette seats with matching green piping and even a reversible waterproof cargo board which perfectly suits this active model.

New CX-5 has plenty of road presence and the other versions offer customers ample choice with the flagship GT Sport introducing a single colour body with Nappa leather interior and woodgrain trim. Alternatively, the new Sport Black model features gloss black wheel arches, side mouldings, door mirrors plus a signature wing grille surround. This car also has red accents on the front grille to highlight its sportier characteristics.

In The Car

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Behind the Wheel

Finding the perfect driving position is a breeze inside the new CX-5 and our test car featured a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with a manually adjusting steering wheel.

The layout is neat and upmarket with a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen with Mazda Connect infotainment system. There is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, sat nav, a DAB radio, heated front seats and lots more besides.

All the climate control settings are located in a separate panel beneath the touchscreen for convenience and all dials, controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use on the move.

The Multimedia Commander dial offers easy access to all the on-board features and there are also quick access buttons to the navigation, home or audio screens.

The driver information panel behind the steering wheel features three dials showing the speedo, rev counter and fuel gauge. It’s all so clear and simple unlike some rivals which you need an advanced degree in computer technology to navigate.

With its high seating position, all-round visibility is excellent and comfort levels cannot fail to impress either. Mazda engineers have worked hard on developing the levels of refinement with new seatback suspension mats to support the occupant’s upper body and prevent less sway. There is high damping foam in the cushions for added support and all these new features really do work. We drove for almost five hours in Scotland and still felt refreshed when exiting the car.

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Space & Practicality

The CX-5 is a full-sized five-door SUV and while there is no seven-seat version, as offered by some competitors, the car covers all other practicality bases really well.

Comfort levels are superb up front with all the new seating advancements mentioned above, but back seat passengers have not been overlooked either. The rear seats can be reclined from 24 to 28 degrees and they also have their own air conditioning system.

The car measures 4,575mm in length, is 1,845mm wide (excluding door mirrors), is 1,680mm high and has a wheelbase of 2,700mm. It is larger than some rivals but is easy to manoeuvre with light steering and great agility.

The boot is well-sized and can swallow 522 litres of luggage – a limit that increases to 1,638 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. The boot is slightly smaller on diesel models with capacities of 510 and 1,626 litres respectively. This is to accommodate the AdBlue tank.

In addition, there are plenty of convenient storage options throughout the car, including a large glovebox, a central cubby bin, deep door pockets with a designated bottle holder, front cup holders with rear ones and a separate compartment in the fold-down armrest, plus some handy trays.

The boot floor is reversible so muddy and wet items can be transported and then the base removed and washed down. In addition, there is extra storage room beneath the floor along with levers to automatically drop the rear seats from the back of the car.

The CX-5 has a towing limit of 1.8 tonnes.


Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Running Costs

The new Mazda CX-5 line-up costs from £28,145 for the 2.0-litre 165PS petrol SE-L model and rises to £39,385 for the range-topping CX-5 184PS diesel AWD GT Sport Auto model.

Our test car – the 2.0-litre 165PS 2WD model in Newground trim - was priced at £29,145 although the final cost climbed slightly to £29,725 with the specialist pearlescent paintwork.

The official running costs, under WLTP testing, stated the car can deliver a combined 41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 153g/km. We were seeing a far lower combined mpg due to the many hill climbs on our driving route which meant lots of changing down through the gears to keep the revs high.

If more frugal fuel efficiency is essential, then the diesel-powered CX-5 could be your best solution with a combined 50.4mg on certain versions.

The 153g/km CO2 figure on our test car would result in a first-year road tax bill of £555 dropping to the standard fee of £155 after 12 months. 

The vehicle is in insurance group 17 and there is more good news as the CX-5 is also expected to hold its re-sale value well.

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Quality & Reliability

Mazda has an excellent reputation for developing well engineered cars that are reliable and will run and run offering thousands of miles of trouble-free motoring.

The Japanese carmaker often scores highly in customer satisfaction surveys and the latest CX-5 should be a reliable family vehicle for years to come.

The build quality is strong and the interior has been designed with longevity in mind. The switchgear is well constructed and the dark upholstery on our car would be practical in the long run too.

There is a simplistic, although feature-rich feel to the cabin and the main screen can be accessed via a dial so will remain free from mucky fingerprints.

For peace of mind, the CX-5 comes with Mazda’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. 

Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

Safety & Security

The Mazda CX-5 was awarded the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and boasts a wealth of high-end and advanced safety features.

It has a high-strength body with added structures to protect occupants in the event of a side collision. There are six airbags along with ISOFIX child seat fixtures.

The bonnet is designed with crumple zones should there be an impact with a pedestrian and there is also energy-absorbing foam within the front bumper to protect pedestrian’s legs in the event of an accident.

But it is Mazda’s i-Activesense intelligent safety systems, that are also standard across the range, that help prevent accidents happening in the first place.

There is lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, high beam control and a new cruising and traffic support system that assists with the accelerator, braking and steering in heavy traffic while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead – this is designed to reduce driver fatigue.

Other systems include advanced smart city brake support with a forward-facing camera, brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, four-wheel anti-locking brake system with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency stop signaling.

All CX-5 vehicles are fitted with an alarm to protect it from thieves. 


Mazda CX-5 (2022 - )

The SUV sector is one of the most fiercely competitive in the industry and staying ahead of the game is paramount to success. This latest Mazda CX-5 is a perfect example of moving with the times and offering customers plenty of choice in the process while delivering attractive pricing along the way.

Speak with our Concierge team to discuss your car buying options
Request a free call back
By Maxine Ashford
Feb 08, 2022

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