We drive the latest models: read our verdicts First drives
Petrol is 15% more efficient than conventional Mazda engine; diesels 20% more
What is it? An efficient new SUV designed to take on the Volkswagen Tiguan Price £21,000 (est) On sale spring 2012 MPG up to 62 (est) CO2 from 119g/km (est)
THE NEW CX-5 SUV is the first production model to benefit from Mazda’s new Skyactiv technologies, which are all about maximising the efficiency of petrol- and dieselengined cars. However, Mazda has developed not only all-new engines, but also more efficient manual and auto gearboxes, a new exhaust system and a light new body and chassis design.
Three Skyactiv engines will be available at launch: a 162bhp 2.0-litre petrol and two 2.2-litre turbodiesels, with 148bhp and 173bhp. Together with the other measures, they are said to improve efficiency by between 15% and 20% over Mazda’s current cars.
You will also be able to choose between front- and four-wheel drive, and Mazda expects the front-drive, manual diesels to emit less than 120g/km of CO2. The cleanest version of the Volkswagen Tiguan pumps out 139g/km.
‘The electric steering is one of the best of its kind’
offered smooth and progressive acceleration. The diesel was particularly good, feeling incredibly punchy almost regardless of the revs it was doing.
Most of Mazda’s current models are let down by a notchy gearshift, but the new manual ’box in the CX-5 is slick and satisfying. The automatic gearbox in the diesel also
So how does it drive? We tried the petrol and the higher-powered diesel, and both
All engines were punchy and smooth, with the diesels particularly so
Sky’s the limit
Mazda’s new Skyactiv petrol engine has an unusually high compression ratio, which lets it extract more energy from fuel. The downside would usually be reduced torque, but the CX-5’s new exhaust prevents this by better dispersing waste gases.
The Skyactiv diesel is the lowest-compression diesel in the world. The main advantage here is a more eﬀicient mix of air and fuel. Normally, this would make the engine rough when cold, but this isn’t an issue thanks to ceramic glowplugs and clever exhaust valves.
30 | NOVEMBER 2011 whatcar.com ‘The stop-start is fast and unobtrusive’
The efficiency of Mazda’s new engines even extends to the stop-start system
Steering vague in straight line: it’s worse on smaller wheels impresses, but the petrol auto we drove (a Russian-spec car with a slightly detuned engine) tended to hunt around between fifth and sixth at motorway speeds.
Whichever model you choose, the suspension strikes a good balance between ride comfort and body control. That said, cars with the optional 19-inch wheels get a bit jittery on patched-up roads (those on 17s cope much better).
switchgear was pretty much what you’ll get, and felt nicely damped.
Many functions are controlled through a touch-screen with simple on-screen menus. If you prefer, you can scroll through the menus using a rotary dial that’s positioned between the front seats. It’s just a pity the shortcut buttons that surround this dial aren’t easy to tell apart by touch.
Finding a comfortable driving
The CX-5 features a new electrically assisted steering system, and it’s one of the best of its kind. The wheel is fingertip-light at parking speeds, before weighting up reassuringly in faster turns. Our one criticism is that the steering is a bit numb just off-centre, so you end up making too many minor corrections when trying to keep the car in a straight line at speed.
Worth considering, as long as Mazda prices it right position is much easier thanks to the CX-5’s wide range of adjustment. What’s more, there’s generous space in the back, and the rear bench is comfortable for three. Luggage space is impressive, and you don’t have to walk round to the side of the car when you want to fold the rear seats because there are release levers in the boot.
The engines are smooth and quiet, and every CX-5 is fitted with an engine stop-start system that’s fast-acting and unobtrusive.
Inside story Our test cars were prototypes, so a lot of the cabin plastics were of a lower grade than they’ll be in production models. However, the
We’ll need to drive the finished car and have prices and economy figures confirmed before we can recommend the CX-5, but the early signs are promising. It should be more efficient than all its key rivals, and it makes a practical family car that is good to drive.
Steve Huntingford Steven.Huntingford@whatcar.com
SWITCHGEAR QUALITY Even on early test cars, everything operates with a smoothly damped action
CONTROL SYSTEM Buttons all feel similar, so it’s hard to use without looking down at it
First drive Renault Clio Pzaz
IT’S REFRESHING TO see Renault offering a full-sized supermini for less than £9000.
The Clio Pzaz is a limited-edition model that will be on sale until at least the end of the year. Power comes from the Clio’s entry-level 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine. Performance is adequate, even though the engine hasn’t the punch of the turbocharged 99bhp
BUYER’S FILE Engine size
INSURANCE GROUP 8 AIRBAGS 4 DOORS 3/5 SEATS 5 COLOURS 4 TARGET PRICE £7995 Dealers will knock a guaranteed £1000 oﬀ the price before September 30 OR TRY A .. . Ford Fiesta Kia Picanto
It isn’t brisk, but it is comfortable
1.2 that we usually recommend. It’s fine as long as you’re not in a hurry. Despite its low price, the Pzaz drives like a grown-up hatch rather than a budget car.
If you’re wondering how Renault can afford to sell the Pzaz so cheaply you need only glance at the equipment list. It includes remote central locking and electric front windows, but that’s about it; you can’t even add air-con.
Still, if you’re prepared to sacrifice some comforts, the Pzaz makes sense. It’s bigger and better to drive than similarly priced city cars – such as the Kia Picanto 1.25 – and costs £500 less than the cheapest Ford Fiesta.
First drive Porsche Cayenne D
BUYING A PORSCHE is surely one of life’s luxuries, but changes to the Cayenne diesel will make it appeal to your grey matter, too.
The Cayenne’s 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine now has 242bhp – an increase of just 5bhp – so performance gains are modest. There are improvements to fuel economy and most notably its CO2 emissions, which have dropped 6g/km to 189g/km.
BUYER’S FILE Engine size
Top speed (limited)
3.0 V6 D
INSURANCE GROUP 41 AIRBAGS 6 DOORS 5 SEATS 5 COLOURS 12 TARGET PRICE £46,338 Porsche doesn’t do discounts. In fact, even floor mats cost extra OR TRY A .. . BMW X6 Range Rover Sport
Cayenne grips well; ride is firm
This means the car now sits two company car tax bands lower, shaving around £20 off the monthly company car tax bill for a top-rate taxpayer.
The diesel pulls strongly yet smoothly, and engine noise is only ever an issue when accelerating hard. Even then, it’s enjoyable rather than intrusive.
Our test car was fitted with the optional air suspension; the low-speed ride was unsettled, even in one of the softer settings, but things got better with speed. Besides, the Cayenne is very agile and a lot of fun for such a big car.
In this market your heart can rule your head, but the Cayenne diesel should satisfy both.
Iain Reid Iain.Reid@whatcar.com whatcar.com NOVEMBER 2011 |