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First drive: Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L Nav 2WD car review



Highly-competitive efficiency has made the Mazda CX-5 a tempting proposition for fleets, since its launch in 2012 – and a carefully-targeted mid-life update should further increase its appeal.

The SUV was the first Mazda to feature the manufacturer’s Skyactiv efficiency technology, and the revised 2.2-litre Skyactv-D 150 SE-L continues to offer CO2 emissions of 119g/km, and an official combined fuel economy of 61.4mpg. This 150hp engine provides spirited performance and pulls strongly from low revs.

However, following feedback from dealers and customers, the carmaker has focused on providing the revised CX-5 with a more classy interior and greater refinement.

From the outside, there are few obvious changes, with the only additions being a new grille and lights. But updates to the interior are far more marked: the cabin features higher-quality materials and a new infotainment system, with a seven-inch touchscreen.

The revised SUV is the first Mazda to feature an electronic parking brake, which helps give the interior a more user-friendly and spacious feeling, as well as freeing-up room behind the gearstick for the ‘Multimedia Commander’: a rotary dial used to control the infotainment system. The CX-5 features Mazda’s MZD Connect in-car connectivity system, which works with the user’s smartphone to provide access to internet content and social networking sites.

These revisions have given the SUV a more upmarket feel, but other under-the-skin updates have also had a significant impact. Mazda says it has reduced high-speed cabin noise by 13% through a series of measures, including increasing dash and bonnet insulation, improving mats and vibration damping material on the floor, and using thicker glass in the rear doors. The shape of the door mirrors has also been altered to reduce wind noise.

Engineers have restructured the CX-5’s suspension to give an improved ride and better steering response.

The changes are apparent when driving the car. On its standard 17-inch wheels, the CX-5 provides a comfortable ride, while it also handles well for a tall SUV, offering relatively little body roll. The cabin can comfortably seat five adults, although shoulder room can be tight in the rear, while a generously-sized 503-litre boot increases to 1,620 litres when the three-way-split rear seats are folded.

Standard equipment on the SE-L trim includes front and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, heated door mirrors and privacy glass.

The 2.2-litre SE-L is also available with an automatic gearbox. However, as well as a £1,300 price premium, it also carries an efficiency penalty: official combined fuel economy drops to 53.3mpg, while CO2 emissions rise by 20g/km to 139g/km, putting it in the 23% BIK tax band.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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