Be awarded the CX-5 as our 2018 Best SUV of the year (an accolade it also received in 2014) and during the Mazda’s six-week stint here at wheels HQ, the reasons why we think the world of this handsome family hauler have again come to the fore. And there are many.

From eye-catching aesthetics, some neat tech and features and offering a sharp ride, the second-generation CX-5 ticks all the right boxes. But, it’s the flambouyant styling in particular that really draws you in; displaying the next iteration of the ‘Kodo’ styling language, it will bowl you over what with a front end anchored by that bold grille (the mesh section adopts a detailed three-dimensional pattern) which extends to the squinting headlights. Indeed, the fascia scores heavily and gives the SUV plenty of road presence. It has a wider track than the previous gen along with a lower ride height and a nicley restyled rear which. Overall, the Mazda has a powerful stance and stands out in a sea of models in this convoluted segment. This one sure is premium-looking and if you’re thinking of buying one, opt for this vivid Soul Red Crystal colour as it appears to further accentuate the design which our photos will testify; beautiful reflections appear where the body surface changes shape as it sweeps from the front to the rear.

It’s just as impressively styled on the inside  with the cockpit zone designed to provide an ideal driving position. It has ample room in both rows and a large 505-litre boot and it is quiet with hardly any road noise entering the cabin, however, the leather seats don’t half singe your bottom when it’s been parked under the sun all day; it’s a pity it doesn’t have cooling seats but you can’t have everything — especially not when this otherwise loaded tester that costs Dh124,900 has plenty of other tech and kit such as a head-up display, remote controlled power liftgate (with user-defined height adjustment) Driver Attention Alert, Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function, Blind Spot Monitoring, Reversing Camera, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure warning and you’ll feel as safe as houses thanks to its 5-star Euro NCAP rating.So, there is evidently a lot to like here but the real highlight is the engaging drive that it affords.

Packing a 2.5-litre four-pot with 188bhp and 251Nm of torque (I managed to eek 11.3 litres per 100km out of it — my previous best was 11.4; I make no apologies for my lead right foot...) and mated to a slick six-speed automatic, the CX-5 — when in Sport Mode — is impressively responsive and enjoyable on the move but it isn’t just down to the drivetrain. The Skyactiv chassis, which includes an upgraded electric power steering, plays its part in making this better than the average SUV — of which there are many in this class.

These past six weeks have flown by with this capable, practical and stylish SUV. It will take something really special to top this — but then again you already knew that as thanks to you, it has grown into a core model accounting for approximately 25 per cent of Mazda’s annual sales and is sold in 120 different countries. We love it and clearly we’re not alone. Yes indeedy, we sure are sorry to see this one go.


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