Used Mazda CX-5 Review (2012-2017) MK1

Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force

4-minute read

Blue Mazda CX-5 Exterior Front Driving

Mazda CX-5 (2012-2017)

Spacious inside and comfortable to drive, the Mazda CX-5 is a mid-sized SUV that's capable both off-road and in urban areas

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  • Spacious interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Great build quality
  • Rivals are more fun to drive
  • Not the most desirable
  • Tame styling
Search Used Mazda CX-5

What's the Mazda CX-5 like?

Mazda's late entry to the mid-sized SUV segment with the CX-5, proved to be well worth the wait.

Mazda engineers worked extra hard to design lightweight, yet strong, body shells mated to highly-efficient, yet powerful, ultra-green engines that offered great fuel consumption and emissions similar to those of hybrid vehicles.

And that’s what they achieved with their sophisticated SKYACTIV technology, which cut CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent and chopped fuel consumption by up to 30 percent.


The CX-5 came with both petrol and diesel powertrains, as well as all-wheel drive on some models.

However, for those not fussed about taking their car off-road or have no desire to tow a trailer or caravan, then a front-wheel drive version suited their needs down to a tee.

In diesel guise, the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel proved one of the best around. Light, torquey, and quiet on the hoof, it pulled like a train from the very word go.

Interior and Driving Experience

Inside, the cabin has plenty of space for five to get comfortable, while those in the rear were rewarded with class-leading legroom.
Peter Hayward

Even so, boot space was not in any way compromised, with 1,620 litres available with the seats folded and 503 litres when everything was up and in place.

Out on the road, the CX-5 performed as good as the rest. Handling was precise thanks to the car’s sporty electric steering and a suspension setting that was nicely balanced for both comfort and fast cornering control.

A gear shift that was as close as possible to that fitted to the MX-5 Roadster added to the car’s sporty credentials.


From a safety aspect, the CX-5 came well kitted out with ABS, traction control, dynamic stability control, emergency brake assist, and six airbags.

It also featured a clever low-speed city braking system which pulled the car up automatically if it sensed an impending collision when travelling at speeds of up to 20mph.

The fully-loaded range-topping 2.2-litre Sport Nav model added full leather upholstery, larger alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system, reversing camera, six-way power adjustable and heated front seats, 9-speaker premium Bose audio system and an integrated TomTom navigation system.

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The Mazda CX-5 is a great all-round SUV that offers a top level of safety and decent off-road credentials, making it suitable for a variety of lifestyles. Rivals may be more sought after, but nonetheless the CX-5 is good value for money and a great used car buy.