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First drive: Mazda CX-5

Date: 21 February 2022   |   Author: Martyn Collins

Refreshed CX-5 has distinctive new equipment grades to take on SUV rivals.
Standard equipment:
Gloss black detailing on the wheel arches, side mouldings, door mirrors and signature wing grille surround, 19in black alloy wheels, heated front seats, black leather trim with red stitching, integrated Mazda navigation system with 10.25in TFT colour display, Apple Carplay and Android Auto and five years of free map updates.
Petrol: 165hp 2.0, 194hp 2.5
Diesel: 150hp 2.2, 184hp 2.2
Equipment grades:
SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black, GT Sport
Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic

The CX-5 is an incredibly important fleet model for Mazda, as corporate sales have made up more than half the mix for the UK. 

According to Mazda, fleet drivers like the combination of style, quality and driver engagement. Well, to keep up with the pace of change in the SUV landscape, Mazda has just released a facelifted version of the second-generation model. 

Outside, this means an evolution of the distinctive and attractive Kodo Design look. The latest car has revised front and rear bumpers, plus updated head and taillight clusters with a new graphic. Also at the front, the wing trim round the grille is sharpened and no longer heads into
the lamp. 

Inside, all CX-5 models are now fitted with a 10.25in centre display screen and the latest version of Mazda Connect infotainment. While the multi-information display mounted in the right-hand dial of the instruments is now a 4.6in colour TFT LCD screen. Choose a Sport, Sport Black as we have here, or GT Sport and you get a full 7in TFT dial set. Other changes include more supportive seats, a revised three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, and enhanced connectivity via the MyMazdaApp - which can be downloaded to a mobile phone. 

Other key identifiers of the 2022 Mazda CX-5 are the fact that there are now five distinctive equipment grades: SE-L, Newground, Sport, Sport Black and GT Sport. Newground and Sport Black being the additions. Newground has a slightly more rugged look with front and rear silver underguard trims matched to silver lower body side skirts, black door mirrors and 19in black diamond cut alloy wheels. Inside, exclusive to the Newground, are lime green highlights, which catch the eye and look much better than they sound. Newground can also be specified in four colours, including the eye-catching Zircon Sand Metallic. 

The new Sport Black grade gives the CX-5 another distinctly different look and is offered with the 165hp 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine and front wheel drive. The key difference over the most popular fleet grade, the Sport, is the gloss black detailing for the wheel arches, side mouldings, door mirrors and grille wing surround. Plus, subtle red accents for said grille, 19in alloy wheels and leather trim and other items, such as the door trims, centre console and steering wheel. 

Elsewhere, there's an updated range of i-Activsense safety systems fitted across the range, which now include Cruise and Traffic Support (CTS). It works to help reduce driver fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake pedal and steering when stuck in traffic. 

The only dynamic change over the outgoing pre-facelift CX-5 is the introduction of Mazda Intelligent Drive Select (Mi Drive), on 194hp petrol GT Sport models. This includes an Off-Road mode, which according to Mazda, "is designed to make driving feel more natural on unmade and slippery surfaces".

Considering its SUV footprint, the CX-5 remains an impressively engaging drive. The steering is responsive and precise, plus the six-speed manual gearbox is slick. That tall body equals some roll, but body control is excellent and there's plenty of grip - even though this is a two-wheel drive version. 

With the 165hp 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine, it boasts a respectable 41.5mpg consumption, 153g/km emissions, and a 34% BIK figure. There are no mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions of the CX-5 and none planned either. 

A willing performer in everyday use, however, it does frustrate with the lack of torque at the lower end of the rev-range, where you sometimes find you have to make two gear changes rather than one to overtake. It seems be an engine that needs to be worked hard to perform at its best, which will have a negative effect on the fuel consumption. 

There are question marks over this engine and the lack of any hybrid versions, compared with the opposition, but the CX-5 remains an excellent SUV choice that's well-equipped and great to drive.

Mazda CX-5 2.0 165PS 2WD Sport Black 

P11D: £32,635 

Residual value: 43.8%

Depreciation: £14,292

Fuel: £9,630

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,559

Cost per mile: 44.14p

Fuel consumption: 41.5mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 153g/km (34%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £185/£370

Luggage capacity: 560 litres

Engine size/power: 1,998cc/163hp


  • Attractive styling
  • Decent equipment
  • Keen drive
  • Ride on the hard side
  • Compromised rear space
  • No hybrid options