Mazda has lifted its CX-5. Visually, the car is really something, but has the inner values ​​changed enough? An everyday test.

Mazda is a special car manufacturer – in terms of the drive, the company philosophy and also the design. Although the Japanese are now also building electric cars, they are also developing a very classic rear-wheel drive platform for a six-cylinder petrol engine. When it comes to design, the Japanese are just as distinctive: While Toyota or Kia are making their cars increasingly angular and flat, the Mazda designers prefer to create rounded, organic shapes from the pen.

At 4.6 meters long, the Mazda is a typical compact SUV that stands out from the crowd primarily because of its looks. The facelift brought an even more distinctive grille with a slightly evil headlight look, the rich dark red paintwork in “Soul Red Crystal” is embellished with glossy black accents in the grille, the front spoiler and the rims. All this is on board in the special model “Homura”, which is Japanese for “fire” or “flame”. And indeed, as a friend of good design, you can be hooked on the metal body of the Mazda.

In the interior, the enthusiasm wanes a little because the space in the rear could be more generous. Here the living space in front of the knees is only satisfactory. Better is the trunk (494 to 1620 liters of storage space with the rear seats folded), which is only class average, but has a wide hatch and plenty of space under the luggage compartment floor. The shelves are a bit tight; at least there is a charging cradle for wireless cell phone charging.

The monitor on the dashboard is reminiscent of the BMW style, the solution is not really pretty – but the monitor is easy to read. However, the screen is quite small compared to the mega screens that are common today. Operation using the rotary pushbutton on the center console is now the exception rather than the rule, but it can be bypassed using voice control.

Compared to current sat navs, the Mazda system is still clear and easy to use, but also a bit lacking in functionality and animation – it just shows how quickly technology is developing in this area. Better: The head-up display, which is standard depending on the equipment – a “real” system with reflection in the windshield instead of on a small extra pane behind the steering wheel – you don’t want to do without anymore.

Another advantage of the Mazda: tightly tuned, but not too hard, the Japanese is on the road, with precise steering. The 2.5 liter petrol engine initially feels a bit meager, despite 143 kW / 194 hp. Mazda’s special way without turbocharging remains an exception. Combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the engine only really pushes the SUV at the right speeds; it is enough for 9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h.

Advantage of the special route: Due to the large displacement, you can let the car slide nicely when you are not in a hurry, cylinder deactivation then helps to save fuel. In practice, we consumed 7.4 liters per 100 km with the Mazda (factory specification: 7.1 liters). Less good is the fact that Mazda’s proper all-wheel drive is not standard on board even in the top engine.

As a special model with “Homura” equipment, the Mazda CX-5 costs 41,890 euros (basic model with 165 hp petrol engine: 28,290 euros). You don’t really need any extras, apart from the leather interior with red contrasting stitching, which, however, costs a little extra at 1000 euros. Navigation system, head-up display, LED matrix headlights, adaptive cruise control or 360-degree camera system are part of the Homura standard.

The CX-5 cannot quite hide the fact that it is a car that was launched in 2017 and has only been facelifted several times since then. Visually, however, it still stands out from the crowd, especially due to the striking front design. It offers all the qualities of a solid, cleanly finished family SUV. The petrol engine is not a bundle of temperaments, but can be moved sparingly. For frequent drivers, however, the diesel engine with 150 or 184 hp is recommended. By the way, if you prefer a plug-in hybrid drive, you can get that from Mazda – not in the CX-5, but in the new CX-60 model.