We’ve been fans of the Mazda CX-5 since we first tested it in 2012. A mid-life update has rounded off a couple of rough edges and made the CX-5 into a really superb tow car.
Road and wind noise used to be excessive, but the Mazda is now a quieter car to travel in. The handbrake struggled to hold the car and caravan still when we tested the CX-5 in 2012, but now there’s an electronic parking brake and no worries about the car and caravan rolling backwards.
Other changes build on strengths rather than fix flaws. The CX-5 was already a stable tow car, but now it’s even better. It’s completely settled at 60mph, and very nearly as comfortable at 70mph. Even crosswinds don’t seem to upset the CX-5.
Tall SUVs can struggle in the lane-change test, but not the Mazda. Even when thrown around on the third and fastest run, the CX-5 took the punishment and felt like it could cope with more.
The engine has always been one of the Mazda’s strengths. The 2.2-litre engine has 173bhp and 310lb ft of torque. That’s serious muscle. Towing from 30-60mph, as you might when joining the motorway, took 12.8 seconds. You could argue that the lower-powered version of the CX-5 is even better for day-to-day driving, but if you regularly tow a mid-sized caravan you’ll be glad of the 173bhp engine’s extra poke.
In everyday driving, the CX-5 is just as much fun as it has always been, but revised suspension settings now cope better with lumps and bumps in the road. It makes the Mazda a more rounded car than it used to be.
Our practicality judges were impressed as well as the drivers. The boot is big enough to handle a full load of holiday luggage, and the reversing camera is a great help when hitching up.
A fair price and a long list of standard equipment add to the Mazda CX-5’s appeal, and strong resale values make it a sensible buy.
2.0 TDCi 150PS Econetic Zetec 5dr
2.2D 175PS Sport Nav
2.2D 175PS AWD Sport Nav
1.6 dCi Acenta 2WD
Blue HDi 150 Allure
2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic
Cross Country D4 Lux Nav Geartronic