The Mazda CX-5 was always a decent enough SUV — good-looking, solid to drive, well-built and well-equipped — but it wasn’t without flaws.
It is a curious thing when you do this gig that sometimes expectations don’t reach the desired levels of, well, expectation. Other times, you get into a car and expect nothing and yet get more than you, er, expected.
Mazda has never delivered cars which dealt out a hand of cards which included a royal flush; but it always gave you at least a full house.
The new CX-5 is a good example: good looking to a fault, smart as a tack on the road and as handy as a small pot when it comes to the daily grind of school runs, family shopping and ferrying underage teams to distant and unfriendly fields.
Not terribly willing to trick with a winning formula, Mazda — like a good boy band producer — did not want to alter the mix terribly with this car. They had lots of things right and they set out to keep it that way, while refining all the bits that had drawn criticism. Loud engine, understeery handling, and poor connectivity were probably the biggest complaints about the original.
Ok then, the Mazda engineers thought. Sort out those trifling matters and we’ve got an even bigger winner.
Thus the basic chassis has not been fooled around with; refinements have been made to the suspensions — to tighten up the previous shortcomings — and the new touchscreen thing works well.
As good entrepreneurial Japanese people do, they chewed on the engine bullet, made the thing better, more efficient and more silent. They also, without spending a whole pile on ridiculous R&D budgets, developed the chassis.
Mazda pretty much never takes the path well-trodden and when they eventually decided to get into diesel engine production on a massive scale, they took a gamble on diesel and came up with an engine that didn’t fit quite the global bill.
But what does all this add up to? Does a Mazda driver know or even care the company is the only mainstream motor manufacturer still doing ‘rotary’? Do Mazda drivers care if the engine on offer is a tax-unfriendly 2.2 diesel?
Yes and no, is the answer.
My guess is that Mazda, for many reasons — not least that they are not Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Subaru Daihatsu or any of the rest of the mainstream Japanese companies — like trading on the uniqueness they offer.
Mazda deliberately stands itself aside from the pack and this sole factor makes them appeal to a large number of buyers. Mazda, with cars such as this CX-5, are intent on maxing whatever advantage it might have in this regard.
The CX-5 delivers a uniqueness that’s not there with other mainstream models and while it might cost a little more to buy and to run, that individuality gives it an advantage over the field.
To that end, while they have refined engine, chassis, ride and handling to an excellent degree with the new version of the car, they still offer something that is different.
This car delivers better handling than the class norm, a way better interior package and its above-average practicality is undeniable. At €42,595 though, it would want to.