22 Feb: Mazda CX 5

… Mazda CX 5 …

The trouble with designing, engineering and building a most attractive and appealing motor car is that when it comes time to refresh or upgrade it, how does one improve on perfection?

I’m not suggesting for a minute that any car is perfect but the Mazda CX5 is a case in point.
The previous model was good looking, comfortable, practical, reliable and well equipped ensuring that it would be hard to make any significant improvements. The trouble is, progress never stops and that’s not just true of the car manufacturers, but the whole automotive industry and its suppliers. However, it would take a real Mazda fan to notice the subtle changes.

Outwardly the latest version of the CX 5 looks little different but the changes have been well thought out, well presented and implemented. Looking at the results, Mazda has indeed achieved what it set out to do, upgrade and improve.

The front grille gets a new treatment with new headlamp units either side and a different sculptured front bumper beneath the grille and lamp units, but it requires a second closer look to notice the subtle changes. There’s a new rear bumper and tail light clusters too.

Taking this a stage further there are now five different trim levels and each brings its own specific visual changes to the exterior trim and finishes to highlight its own identity.

Basically there are now five different levels of trim covering the complete 20 model line-up starting with SE-L, then the oddly named ‘Newground’, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport.

The entry level model is the 2 litre 163 bhp petrol or 148 bhp diesel SE-L with a starting price of £28,145. The 2WD model can be identified from its front and rear silver underguard trims, silver lower body side skirts, black door mirrors and 19-inch black diamond cut alloy wheels. Subtle lime green accents in the grille are replicated inside with lime green air vent louvre trims, while the black half leatherette seats have matching green piping. On a more practical note, the boot has a reversible waterproof cargo board.

Predicted to be the biggest seller in the UK, the Sport model provides a choice of 163 bhp Skyactiv-G petrol or 148 bhp and 181 bhp Skyactiv-D diesel engines. Matched exclusively to an automatic gearbox the higher output diesel version is the entry point of Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system in the 2022 Mazda CX-5 range.

The new Sport Black trim is based on the 2WD 163 bhp Skyactiv-G petrol engine with gloss black detailing on the wheel arches, side mouldings, door mirrors, grille surround and sits on 19 inch black alloys. Subtle red accents within the grille are complemented with red stitching on the black leather seats as well as the door trim, centre console and steering wheel.

Top of the CX-5 range is the GT Sport and specified with a high-class interior that features brown Nappa leather and genuine woodgrain highlights. Customers can pick from a choice of engines, drivetrain and transmission with both the 2 litre 163 bhp Skyactiv-G and 191 bhp 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol available. As before, the 163 bhp engine is matched to front wheel drive, while the larger 191 bhp petrol comes exclusively with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox with cylinder deactivation for improved efficiency. The GT Sport is also offered with the 181 bhp Skyactiv-D diesel matched to all-wheel drive.

In terms of driving the new car, there’s an updated range of i-Activsense safety systems standard across the range. These now include Cruise & Traffic Support (CTS) which helps reduce driver fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake pedal and steering operations when stuck in traffic jams. Finally, the front Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) have also evolved to give finer control over light distribution.
Prices start from £28,145 for the 2 litre 163 bhp SE-L.

At the launch there was the chance to drive various versions of the new car through the Trossachs and Glencoe to Ballachulish and then back south through Connel, Inverary and Arrochar back to Loch Lomond.

Naturally, this being Scotland there was a bit of rain, but that only made the drive through the brooding and somewhat sinister Glencoe, surrounded by mist cloaked and hidden craggy peaks, all the more darkly chilling – which had nothing to do with the outside temperature. One of the journalists from Yorkshire was mighty impressed never having visited Scotland before!

Anyway, the cars were pretty surefooted even when the rain was heavy and the roads partially flooded. In other words great conditions to assess a new vehicle. However, there will be a chance soon for a more intensive appraisal.

Looking forward to it already.

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