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New Mazda CX-5: Second generation Mazda SUV is bristling with tech

By Paul Connolly

Sometimes you’ve got to hand it to those clever people at Mazda.

They don’t have the biggest product range, nor do they have the deepest advertising pockets.

They’re nowhere near the largest manufacturer, and their marque isn’t particularly coveted by the badge snobs.

So, they simply concentrate on what they do best: and that’s making bloody good cars.

That these happen to be cars of increasing sophistication, vehicles capable of matching some of its British and German rivals, is no coincidence.

Track the Japanese manufacturer’s continued rise, from humble origins in 1920 to in recent years shrugging off financial difficulties, and you’ll see an upward curve. Particularly lately, when the cars have got better and better. Rather quietly, actually.

They need to, of course. All the major manufacturers have raised their game in this increasingly sophisticated, connected and competitive world.

If Mazda was to take its foot off the pedal, so to speak, it would begin to falter.

Luckily this hasn’t happened: the brilliant MX-5, the world’s best-selling sports car, and the Mazda6, a large family saloon, come to mind.

And so does the CX-5, which, pound for pound, is one of the best mid-sized SUVs about.

The good news is that the CX-5 has had a major revamp, announced six months ago, and the new model is now going on sale in Northern Ireland.

It’s been worth the wait: the latest model is roomier, has a brace of improved new engines and comes laden with tech and driver assists.

First, a bit of history. The CX-5 first appeared on our radars in 2012 as not just the first of a kind from Mazda, but also the first vehicle featuring the new “KODO — Soul of Motion” design language.

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Fast Lane: Mazda CX5 AWD

Yes, some of that is essentially corporate BS, but it does mean that the CX-5 was the pioneer vehicle leading a new type of design that was ultimately to encompass all Mazda’s cars.

It was also the first model to feature the full Skyactiv Technology suite, including a rigid, lightweight platform. It shares a platform with the Mazda3 and Mazda6.

The 2017 model is the second generation of the CX-5, and has so has much to live up to (not least that the CX-5 now accounts for a quarter of Mazda’s sales).

It is, however, an evolution of the lovely existing model that disguises some big changes underneath.

Size changes should herald a roomier experience inside; the A pillar has been pushed further back and the car sits 15mm lower than the existing model.

The wheelbase length is unchanged, but the car itself is 10mm longer than the current model.

There is a fully-revised body structure with new front-end design, sleeker sides and a lower roofline. Particular attention has been paid to reducing noise and vibration within the all-new cabin, and on handling.

With 15 per cent stiffer torsional body rigidity than the outgoing model, refinements to the steering, suspension and brakes, plus the introduction of G-Vectoring Control (GVC), the drive is reportedly more comfortable, refined and responsive than ever.

Under the bonnet there is the by-now familiar range of Skyactiv engines. The 2.0-litre 165ps Skyactiv-G petrol engine is avail¬able in SE-L Nav and Sport Nav trim and is offered exclusively with front-wheel drive and a six-speed Skyactiv-MT man¬ual gearbox.

Further up the range sits the flagship 2.2-litre 175ps Skyactiv-D which comes only in Sport Nav trim and is equipped with the i-ACTIV AWD engine. It is available in either front or all-wheel drive.

You get excellent standard equipment across the range including LED headlights, auto power-folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio and a 7” colour touch-screen display with integrated sat-nav.

The price range for the ten-model UK line-up starts from £23,695 and winds upwards to £33,195.

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