As I write, it’s a year to the day since the Mazda CX-5 arrived in my custody, but the time has come to say goodbye.
Over the past 12 months, the red SUV has become part of the furniture around the Fossdyke household, and everyone is sorry to see it go. The neighbours loved the dash of colour it brought to the road, I loved the way it drove, and my girlfriend loved the big, comfy seats. Even her parentsí discerning Doberman, Sasha, grew vaguely accustomed to the sight, sound and smell of the CX-5.
When you do what I do, though, thatís quite something. Cars come and go almost constantly, and to be honest, few tug at the heart strings when they depart. A very few, however, leave a lasting impression. The CX-5 falls into that latter category. Itís amazing, really, that an inanimate object can weave its way, almost inextricably, into your life, but then Sir William Lyons, the man behind Jaguar, once said that the car is the closest thing humans make to something that is alive. Iím not sure the Mazda qualifies as a living thing, but after 12 long months and the thick end of 20,000 miles, itís only natural that the shared experience should bring it closer to my heart.
European holidays, 5am airport runs, shopping tripsÖ the Mazdaís been a constant throughout. But it isnít just the experience that has added to my admiration of the car. It has an abundance of talent, too. Itís comfortable and spacious, as well as capable. When the snow came down earlier this year, it kept on going, and it never let me down among the vineyards of rural Spain. Itís been economical, too, managing to match its claimed 52mpg economy on long runs, while averaging around 45mpg with varied use. And I still maintain that itís top of the class when it comes to handling. The details have been brilliant, too. Iíve adored the head-up display, and the hi-fiís been great too. Because I donít have children, the USB port in the rear armrest hasnít had much use, but itís still a nifty feature.
And despite all that, it represents good value. Our car came in at just over £32,000, and though that sounds like a lot, it isnít crazy for something so well equipped. A top-of-the-line Nissan Qashqai, for example, costs a similar amount, and it doesnít get a head-up display or such a powerful engine. It feels like a less premium product, too.
It looks even better when you find out that you can pick up a CX-5 for less than £250 a month on a three-year/30,000-mile contract hire deal.
The CX-5 ticks a lot of boxes, then, but after a year of pontification, do I think itís the best in its class? Not exactly. Editor Ian would probably lay that accolade at the door of the SEAT Ateca or Kia Sportage, and I think he might well be right. As all-rounders, those cars are difficult to beat. If, though, you want all the capability and utility of a four-wheel-drive SUV without sacrificing the sporty handling of a hot hatchback, the CX-5 has to be on your shortlist.
Thatís not to say that the Mazda has been flawless. The Soul Red Crystal paint, for example, looks gorgeous, but had it been my personal car, Iíd have been furious about the paint chips that blighted almost every panel. And quite why the rear light cluster lens fell off after just the mildest of nudges is anyoneís guess.
Of course, these may be entirely specific to our car, but theyíd concern me. And while I will miss our CX-5, those faults would put me off paying to keep it on our driveway. As beautiful as the Soul Red paint looks, I might choose a less chip-prone colour, if I was in the market for such a car.
As I bid the Mazda a fond farewell, I look forward to the arrival of my next car. Youíll have to check back here next month to find out what it is.
Date Arrived 13th September 2017
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 44.8/57.6/52.3mpg
Economy (on test) 45.1mpg
A year with the country’s best-driving mid-market SUV has been a real privilege.
My biggest gripe was the paintwork, which chipped away at an alarming rate