The CX-5 has arrived at a time when Mazda’s market share, volumes and dealer satisfaction have been in decline over the last few years.
The SUV or ‘dual purpose’ segment is back on the up after its recessionary dip and Mazda finally has a contender to fight for sales.
Dealers have been without new product and competitive engines so the arrival of the new crossover and the first iteration of Mazda’s new Skyactiv technology is essential in winning back sales.
Momentum behind the CX-5 is strong too with the new model winning Auto Express’s best crossover award this year as well as receiving favourable press reviews.
Mazda is expecting 60% of the predicted 4,000 annual sales to be conquest and it will be a 70:30 split between retail and fleet. It will be Mazda’s third most popular model if dealers hit targets.
AM’s long-term model is the higher-powered all-wheel drive diesel in top trim Sport Nav. The CX-5 exterior does seem to divide opinion; it’s not particularly sleek, but the front three-quarters and rear view is quite flattering.
It looks pretty muscular and that feeling follows in the dark cabin, with some hard touch plastics and solid fascia design. Metallic paint is an optional £520 and the safety option pack is £700 on AWD Sport and Sport Nav models only and includes lane dep-arture warning, high beam control and rear vehicle monitoring systems.
Mazda has made some big improvements to its entertainment system which is touchscreen as an option, but brings it up-to-date with rivals, including integrated satellite navigation, which is becoming essential for fleet and retail buyers alike. The sat nav is also available as a free upgrade during the launch period.
Electrically adjustable seats in the front mean you can easily make yourself comfortable (essential when you have a team testing the car where the height ranges from 5ft 3ins and 6ft 5ins).
First impressions behind the wheel are in keeping with Mazda’s promise from its new Skyactiv technology with a powerful and responsive 2.2-litre diesel. The engine does not need to be worked hard for smooth progress and will sit comfortably in sixth-gear on the motorway. The start-stop system brings Mazda in line with every other manufacturer and it works seamlessly. It has been difficult to get the CX-5’s average mpg to tick above 40mpg so we’re a way off the claimed official 54.3mpg rate. A Mazda dealer on Twitter assured us it will take a while for the new engine to bed in before it starts to deliver better economic performance.