Live in the now with Mazda’s latest CX-5 SUV


God help me but I’m a terrible man looking back. No, I don’t mean in the car mirrors (although I keep a constant watchful eye).

It’s just that people tell me that I seem to be obsessed with the world and memories and events of bygone times when I should embrace the “now.” I try and I often succeed, but sometimes it’s impossible not to fall behind.

And it was absolutely impossible when I took the recently redesigned Mazda CX-5 Crossover/SUV for a few days for a test drive.

It will always be a part of my memory because I drove a previous generation (petrol) model over ice on Lake Baikal deep in Siberia, Russia – and the ice wasn’t as thick as I remember in some places.

It is the world’s largest freshwater reservoir and is located near Irkutsk, north of Mongolia, west of China, east of Kazakhstan and 7,000 km from Dublin. We spent eight unforgettable hours on the ice in a Mazda CX-5.

It was an experience, I can tell you that. Those were the days, my friend – they seem so carefree in hindsight.

The contrast in weather conditions could not have been greater as I had a revised special edition to test that coincided with recent sunshine.

It looks a bit sharper and smarter after its overhaul. My 2.2 liter diesel was mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox.

It’s a combination that would have been absolutely ideal for open road and highway driving. But where did we decide?? On our way from Clontarf to Howth we stopped on one of the busiest days of the year.

It wasn’t conducive to driving in sixth gear and not worrying about having to shift up and down to adjust to the almost dormant progress of perpetual traffic jams. I spent most of it in the first or second.

It was, as the optimist in me now says, a good way to get to know the interior and once again I have to commend a car for the quality and support of the seats.

The CX-5 is quite literally a nice piece of automotive art. I know from previous experience and have learned again that the more you live with a Mazda, the better it tends to get.

It’s not one first date Winner. It’s more like a drip-drip revelation of common acquaintances, each time highlighting their better qualities.

Mazda tends to do things that way. They refine and refine again, often missing the opportunity to be first, but happy to get closer to what they see as their ideal.

I’m by no means their biggest fan – one or two of their cars failed even after longer testing than the one in the CX-5 – but generally they keep up the pace better than most and most part are rock solid second hand/trade-in -Purchases.

In practice, this means you get more for your used Mazda, even if you pay a little more for it to begin with.

My test car was comfortable and roomy, but perhaps it was the contrast with the blazing sunshine, I found the interior a little bland overall. I know black is always in style but with a sort of gray exterior I would have preferred something lighter to the eye on the inside.

I had a good chance to try it out on the Autobahn and that’s where the engine and transmission shone. Maybe I would have liked the engine to be a little more dampened, but I was pushing a lot, so some extra noise was inevitable.

It’s quite a big machine but it behaved well in a couple of tighter sharp corners. It’s not designed for what some call sporty handling and driving.

Incidentally, most SUVs aren’t either because they have a higher center of gravity.

However, it excelled in chassis response and replicated a lot of accurate steering feedback.

What I particularly liked about the cab, despite its shadow, was the good driving position and the excellent all-round visibility. And there was plenty of space in the back, as well as a good trunk.

All in all a fine package in a discreet crossover.

would i buy it I think there are better drivers and better looking cars. But that grows on you. So I could well imagine making a deal for one.

The only reason I wouldn’t buy it would be non-mechanical because I don’t think I would ever get behind the wheel without thinking about driving a CX-5 across the icy lake in Siberia. Sometimes, for your own good, you can look back too often. It’s a nice car and I’ve enjoyed my rides.

Well worth a test drive if you’re looking for something refined that can keep up (and you don’t have a diesel panic).

fact file

MAZDA CX-5 Crossover/SUV; 2.2 liter diesel, 150 hp, 5.6 l/km, Homura specification, manual transmission, 147 g/km. Test car: €47,775. The CX-5 range starts at €35,745.

The standard specification across the series includes 17-inch alloys, cruise control, 10.25-inch center console display, Multimedia Commander; double automatic air conditioning, front/rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and lights. Homura spec adds black leather seats with red stitching, 19-inch alloys, reversing camera, 7-inch TFT colorimeter and radar-controlled cruise control. Spread of driver assistance, safety technology. Live in the now with Mazda’s latest CX-5 SUV

Fry Electronics Team

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