Merc’s entry-level hot hatch has grown a boot to take on the Audi S3 Saloon
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The Top Gear car review:Mazda CX-5
For:Intelligent design, improved interior, handling, refinement
Against:Petrol needs more grunt
What is it?
It’s a new crossover from we think the most habitually underappreciated mainstream brand in all of car-dom – Mazda. The CX-5 is their pop at a medium-sized crossover, a rival for the Seat Ateca, Volkswagen Tiguan and BMW X1 among others.
It sits on the same basic platform as the five-year-old car it replaces. The wheelbase is the same, but it’s 10mm longer, 35mm lower and much sharper-looking thanks to squintier head- and taillights, a longer bonnet and wider grille. No doubt the new CX-5 is a properly good-looking thing. Certainly more so than anything else in this class.
Mazda’s naturally-aspirated petrol and turbodiesel engines, variously available with front- or all-wheel drive and six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, are carried over pretty much wholesale from the old car, and inside Mazda has opted for a tablet-style infotainment-screen setup as seen on what feels like every ‘premium’ car launched in the last 12 months.
There isn’t much more space in there (a few litres more bootspace, we’re told), but we’re promised it’s a much quieter place to sit. It’s not like Mazda’s ignored the dynamics for which it’s famed, but for the CX-5 their focus was very much on all-round refinement, which is why the big-selling diesel has, among other things, a “Natural Sound Smoother” to reduce noise and vibration at idle & low revs.