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Driven: 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 AWD. Image by Mazda.

Driven: 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 AWD
The CX-5 has been revamped with a new grille and some other minor tweaks, but is that enough to keep it at the top of the tree?


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2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 AWD GT Sport Auto

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The Mazda CX-5 is something of an unsung hero for us. A great car to drive and to sit in, it's easily one of the best mid-size SUVs on the UK market, but the sales figures don't seem to back that up. Still, Mazda is constantly refreshing and revitalising its brilliant family car, and the latest model arrived on UK roads last year. We tested the range-topping 2.5-litre GT Sport model to see whether it's still a class act.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 AWD GT Sport Auto
Price: £39,485 as tested
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 194hp
Torque: 258Nm
Emissions: 182g/km
Economy: 35.3mpg
0-62mph: 9.3 seconds
Top speed: 121mph
Boot space: 510-1,626 litres


The changes to the CX-5 aren't immediately obvious from outside, primarily because there aren't many of them. There are new bumpers, new lights and a mildly updated grille, but that's pretty much it. Otherwise, the visual upgrades depend on the trim chosen, with some getting colourful flashes in the grille as part of the facelift. Range-topping GT Sport models such as this are set apart by the body-colour arches, which give it a slightly sportier and more upmarket style.


Inside, there are even fewer changes, but that's no bad thing. The CX-5's cabin is a very smart place to be, with a kind of low-key style and some top-notch materials. We're big fans of the infotainment system, which is simple but effective and uses Mazda's latest technology. It might not be the most intuitive or the cleverest system going, but once you've learned your way around it it works really well. It's less distracting than a touchscreen, too, because while the screen is touch-sensitive when you're stopped, it's controlled by a rotary dial on the move, meaning you can spend more time with your eyes on the road. Add in the clean, easy-to-read digital instrument cluster and the crisp head-up display of this high-end model and you've got a really user-friendly, high-class cabin.


Space is one of the CX-5's main attributes, and Mazda has been careful not to damage that in the latest facelift. As a result, the cabin is still more than spacious enough to carry four adults in comfort, while the boot measures a massive 510 litres in capacity. That's more than you get from a BMW 3 Series Touring. And when you fold the back seats down that space swells to more than 1,600 litres, which should be big enough for anybody's trip to the recycling centre.


As before, CX-5 customers get a choice of petrol and diesel engines, with the diesels largely proving more appealing. They suit the car better and provide more grunt than the naturally aspirated petrols, while still providing ample refinement and economy. The 2.5-litre engine tested here is the only one that can hold a candle to the diesels, but it still feels lacking despite its 194hp output. And it's remarkably unrefined when it's cold, grumbling away like a diesel until it gets up to temperature. Admittedly, that isn't helped by the automatic gearbox, which also feels recalcitrant until it's warmed up, and customers will likely be more at ease with the slick manual gearboxes on offer.

Ride & Handling

Key to the CX-5’s appeal is the way it handles. In this category, few other cars can come close to its mixture of agility and stability, which allows it to corner at remarkable pace. The steering is nicely weighted, the body doesn’t roll too much in corners and the brake feel is good, all of which inspires plenty of confidence in the car’s abilities. The trade-off is a slight drop in ride comfort – you can feel the bumps through your bum – but that just helps you understand what the car is doing when you’re going quickly and it never gets too jagged or jarring. And when you’re on the motorway it settles down enough to be more than smooth enough.


The new CX-5 starts at just over £29,000 for the basic SE-L model, but once you've specified a range-topping GT Sport with the 2.5-litre petrol engine, you end up with a car costing almost £40,000. That's a lot of money, but you do get a lot of kit. The leather-trimmed front seats are both heated and ventilated, while the rear seats are heated, as is the steering wheel. Oh, and there's an automatic tailgate, a reversing camera and parking sensors all round, not to mention two-zone climate control. In short, it has everything you need.


The CX-5 is still a cracking car, but this petrol engine should not be your first port of call. The diesels are more efficient and almost as refined, without sacrificing much in the way of performance. Opt for one of those 2.2-litre engines and we'd be singing the praises of a five-star car, but the petrol engine isn't quite up to the mark.

James Fossdyke - 26 Jan 2023    - Mazda road tests
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2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.

2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.2022 Mazda CX-5 GT Sport. Image by Mazda.


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