We are only in week 2 of our long-term test with the CX-5 but it has already reaffirmed why we awarded it as the Best Crossover in our 2018 CotY awards. Not only is it ever so practical, comfortable and attractively styled, it is — more importantly — ever so good to drive. Those who appreciate cars that deliver solid driving dynamics will be more than content with this Mazda. Indeed, after a few minutes in the plush leather drivers’ seat, you tend to forget that you are piloting a crossover; it feels more like a mid-size saloon. They’ve got the chassis and drivetrain spot on here.

Now, as you probably guessed, these images weren’t taken anywhere around Bur Dubai, Karama or the like. No, as we often like to do with our long-termers, we allowed our all-wheel drive CX-5 to stretch its legs during a cruise to Fujairah where we used it as a camera car while shooting the brand new Genesis G70 (keep an eye out for our review of the BMW 3 Series rival soon), and of course to remind ourselves of just how impressive the ride quality and overall car-like feel is, and it certainly did that. When Mazda redesigned it last year, they retained all that was already good about the CX-5 — chiefly its Miata on stilts feel — but were also able to make it quieter inside too by adding a significant amount of new sound deadening materials. On our drive to the mountains, there wasn’t a hint of road noise or tyre roar even though it sits on a set of pretty big 19in wheels. Usually the bigger the wheels you have, the harsher the ride tends to be but the 225/55 Toyo tyres wrapped around the alloys deserve credit for ensuring the ride wasn’t just ever so peaceful but very smooth too. The Toyos, featuring Nano Balance Technology, also displayed excellent traction when we tackled a steep and very gravely incline. With all four wheels digging in, the second-generation crossover easily made its way up and then back down again without making a meal of the task at hand. Indeed, during some more light off-roading, it excelled; the 188 horsepower 2.5-litre four-cylinder provided ample grunt to ensure we didn’t get bogged down — but we would be wary of taking it anywhere near softer sand or larger dunes. That would probably be asking for trouble.

We did expect our pleasingly elegant and premium looking tester to be slightly more thrifty than the 11.3 litres per 100km it returned during the drive. It isn’t that bad and it’ll likely improve — if I’m not driving...