Last month I went racing. I woke up early on a typically cold Irish Saturday morning, drank copious amounts of coffee and was then strapped into a Ford Fiesta for a couple of hours to dart around Mondello. What got me to the track each morning was the 2018 Mazda CX-5 and I couldn’t have been more happy to get into it each time.
Mondello is about a 50 minute drive from where I live in Dublin. It’s a bop down the M50, a short stretch on the M7 and then a quick burst across some country roads until you reach the Kildare-based race track. The Mazda CX-5 coped with each variant of road in the perfect manner.
The maze that is the M50 on any given morning is a bit of a stressful occasion. While in the CX-5, this isn’t the case. The Stone leather seats accompanied with seat warmers entice you into the car on the coldest of mornings. Although during mid-week rush hour peaks, the M50 car park is quite hectic. It was a refreshing sight to see how empty the motorway is at 7am on a Saturday morning. I set the cruise control to 100km/h and wafted down to Mondello.
Those of you who have driven a fully prepped race car will know what it’s like. Being strapped into an uncomfortable bucket seat bolted to a metal tub, surrounded by the smell of petrol and oil for hours on end is exhilarating at the start but after a couple of laps, it does get rather tiring. So you can sense the relief of climbing back into the serene interior of the CX-5 and letting the 6-speed automatic do all the work after a full day on track.
The infotainment is still a basic affair. There is still no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay but my phone could connect through Bluetooth. This being the Platinum trim level, sat nav and a reversing camera comes as standard. The boot’s 506 litres is quite far off from the Skoda Kodiaq’s 650l also considering that the CX-5 isn’t available with 7 seats. The electronic boot lid also doesn’t open as much as the Skodiaq’s.
The 6-speed dual clutch auto gearbox is mated to a 2.2 diesel engine producing 175hp and 420Nm. The diesel unit can be heard quite distinctly from the cabin but road and wind noise is cushioned tenfold from the previous model. The diesel returned a respectable 7.0l/100km throughout my week of mostly motorway jaunts. As this is automatic and four-wheel drive, the tax bill equates €390. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 starts from €28,995 with this optioned-up Platinum trim priced at €41,895.
Jumping back into the CX-5 for the last time was a bit of a disappointing occasion. I took the long way to work and sat in the car park for longer that morning just taking in the last few moments. It was there for me after my race day, warmed me up on the cold morning commutes and wafted me around on my daily duties. No, it mightn’t be as practical as the Skoda Kodiaq but I guarantee you, the exclusivity of the CX-5 is enough in itself to win me over as a buyer.