The Mazda CX-5 delivers family-friendly functionality and rewarding driving

The Mazda CX-5 has become more accomplished in every respect since the launch of the updated version of this attractive mid-size SUV earlier this year.

Design tweaks, minor cabin improvements and incremental improvements have made the good car even better.

In addition to great family practicality, what the CX-5 also offers is an element of driving pleasure—not something that is true of the majority of crossovers.

Sharp handling and precise cornering inspire confidence, and while you’ve always known this is a bulky car, it feels surprisingly agile when a sudden change of direction is required.

Its proven and exciting characteristics were further enhanced by the all-wheel drive system in my test car, which was powered by a powerful and efficient 2.2-liter Skyactiv diesel engine that delivered 184 hp.

The engine was mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, which was smooth over the transmission.

It hits a 0-62 mph time of 9.3 seconds, which makes it feel much faster in real-world driving conditions.

During a week at the car company, average gross fuel consumption was 38 mpg in mixed driving conditions — unusually close to the official figure of 44.8 mpg.

Even when I was really putting the CX-5 in its stride with a largely second and third gear shift, it still achieved well over 20 mpg.

Among the recent changes is a 15 percent improvement in body torsional rigidity, along with tweaking the suspension system to increase comfort levels.

In terms of appearance, the front end is dominated by a confident looking grille, which has a shape resembling a smiling mouth giving a happy face.

The front part of the hood hangs neatly on the grille, while the narrow headlights have a very modern look. When viewed from the side, the curvature of the rear doors attracts light and adds to the excitement.

The clear design language continues at the rear of the car, where the narrow taillights mirror those at the front.

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Once inside, the cabin has an airy and spacious feel, with a sunroof adding to that feeling.

The electronically adjustable driver and passenger seats covered in Nappa brown leather are comfortable and offer an excellent range of adjustment, giving you the choice of a lower driving position or a higher driving width of the road ahead.

The ergonomics are excellent, all the key switches and switches are easily accessible to the driver.

A rotating rotating dial below the driver’s left controls the infotainment display, which is located at the top of the instrument panel, allowing quick access to the navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and vehicle information. I grew up somewhat loving this physical dial because it cuts out any of the mess you sometimes get with a touch screen.

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The screen can also display your Fuel Efficiency History – something that is more important than ever due to current prices at the pumps.

A number of high-quality materials can be found across the dashboard and interior doors, with the overall fit and finish being better than those seen on the previous model.

In the back, there is plenty of room for three kids. Two adults can also enjoy a comfortable ride, although a third in the middle will be a bit of a squeeze. Legroom in the rear is adequate, although a passenger six feet behind a driver six feet would be a bit cramped.

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The luggage compartment is generously proportioned, providing space for 506 liters, and added ease of use thanks to a false floor that makes the loading area completely flat and by leveling the lip.

In conclusion, the CX-5 continues to be an SUV that appeals to enthusiastic drivers who also need the family practicality of their vehicle – and this second-generation version now has even more appeal.

Inside information

Mazda CX-5 AWD GT Sport

Price: £37,445 on the way
Engine: 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D diesel 184 hp
Top speed: 129 mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
0-62 MP: 9.3 seconds
Economy: 44.8 mpg combined
Emission: 165 g/km

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