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£28,440 when new
Right, this new Mazda CX-5. Crossover, or SUV? Good question. It’s a bluff, tough-looking machine with a proper, old-school BMW-style sharknose profile to the front, and you can have a four-wheel drive system, so the smart money says SUV. It’s just that bit too butch to be a crossover. Then again, the front-drive model – the one we’re testing – is more efficient, cheaper and surely fits most crossover-bent folks needs. There is no off-road bias, no hill-descent this or adding-depth that. All but the most paranoid about winter cold snaps and British summer drizzle should feel safe. So, it’s on the rough-tough end of crossover, then? Tell you what, not once you’re up inside the CX-5. The overall cabin layout is pretty much exactly the same as the old car’s – the climate controls have been carried over, and you still get two physical instrument dials and one virtual one. But atop the new ‘3D’ air vents, there’s a standalone ‘floating’ screen to annoy all of you that think screens should be integrated into a dashboard. This redesign drops the rest of the dash lower, so visibility is improved and you feel a bit more regal. More Range Rover-ish, up high with the ‘proper’ SUVs. The materials are of a far higher quality than the ropey plastics in the old CX-5. The ‘is it wood/is it alien skin?’ trim of our Sport Nav car is a bit suspect, but the leather’s supple and feels like it might actually have once been attached to a cow, the seats themselves are comfortable, the driving position sound and the ergonomics pretty peerless, actually. It’s a well-designed place to spend time, and there’s space for three passengers across the back, and six-foot adults behind six-foot adults.