First Drive: UK-Spec 2016 Mazda CX-5 Diesel
Rattle and Zoom
While visiting England recently, we got to put some miles on a Mazda CX-5 diesel not currently offered in the States. Close to half of all vehicles sold in the UK are diesel-powered. Governments in the European Union have generally favored what they considered to be a more economical and cleaner burning power plant for some years now. For a variety of economic reasons not yet experienced fully in the US, many Brits choose diesels for the mileage, but they also get a power curve well suited to English roads and driving conditions. Now that Mazda has announced the introduction of the CX-5 diesel for the U.S. sometime in the second half of 2017, we figured a quick romp in the ’16 model sold the U.K. would be a good way to get a small taste of what’s to come.
The basic power plant is a 173hp SKYACTIV-D diesel engine displacing 2,191 cc and producing 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, In a car weighing in at only 3,720 pounds (including your basic standard weight driver), the mill produces swift 0-60 mph acceleration of just 8.5 seconds, achieved with combined city and highway fuel consumption of 45.21 miles per gallon. We found the highway cruising fuel consumption to be 49.20 miles per imperial gallon, or 40.1 miles per U.S. milk jug.
Driving with some alacrity through the narrow country roads of Lincolnshire’s Wolds, we found the Sport Nav model, equipped with 19-inch wheels and low profile tires, remarkably stable considering the high level of comfort and compliance provided by the suspension. While most “Chelsea tractors” will never see any dirt trails, this CX-5 handled itself very well while crossing muddy farm fields and trails, though different tires and wheels would be desirable if continued off-road use is in the cards.
We are totally on board with the CX-5 and in all aspects except one. We were very disappointed with the ergonomics and interactivity of the entertainment and navigation system. By any account, the navigation system was not as intuitive or as navigable as we have come to expect, and when plugging an iPod into the entertainment USB port, we found scrolling through the various albums and songs very clumsy. It needed prompting after every song. Now, it is a given that we could have been making a complete “balls-up” of it, but we have come to expect a certain level of intuitiveness in playing music from an iPod or other device though a vehicle’s stereo system. These foibles seem to have been solved with the ’17 model’s comprehensive update (see page TKTK).
When we first drove the Euro-spec CX-5 diesel a couple years ago, we called Mazda USA upon returning to California and asked when they would be bringing this model stateside. The answer was “probably never.” We told them at the time that if they ever did, we would be first on the list to purchase one. Well, world conditions have changed rapidly since then and now perhaps we will finally get our American edition of the CX-5 diesel, and in California no less.
2016 Mazda CX-5 U.K.-specVehicle type: Five Passenger, Compact SUV
Base price: £24,175 ($30,352 at current rates)
Price as tested: £30,775 ($38,638 at current rates)
Engine: 2.2L turbodiesel I-4
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Horsepower: 173 @ 4,500 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
Curb weight: 3,720 lbs
Towing capacity: Not Available
EPA mileage rating: Not Applicable