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CX-5 provides bright start to the New Year 

I BROUGHT in the New Year in Tenerife and once again enjoyed the super carnival atmosphere as we celebrated the arrival of 2015 partying at JRs in Golf del Sur.

Our arrival on the island got off to a whirlwind start with yet another white-knuckle ride as the Mercedes Vito taxi driver performed his F1-style driving skills for us.

I reckon these drivers must have some sort of charts to determine who is the quickest at getting to and from the airport.

Our return journey was much more subdued – and enjoyable – as the Merc E saloon driver displayed how smoothly a quality model like this can be driven.

Not that I have anything against fast driving but when I am carrying out high-speed manoeuvres it is not normally with unsuspecting passengers.

So, it was with this thought in mind, that I paid particular attention to the manner I was driving my test car with my wife Jackie on board.

The model waiting for me back home in Scotland was a Mazda CX-5 and it didn’t let me down when it came to smoothness and comfort.

This is a super compact crossover vehicle with lots of attributes to make it one of the top, if not number one choice in this sector.

It’s stylish, has plenty of space front and rear in an attractive cabin, a large boot with flat loading lip, boasts lots of equipment, has fuel efficient yet powerful engines and, not least, delivers driving enjoyment.

The CX-5 benefits from Mazda’s innovative suite of SKYACTIV technologies which centre on three key areas – sophisticated lightweight chassis technology, advanced engines with world-beating compression ratios and highly efficient six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

The line-up features 16 models, either in two-wheel or all-wheel drive, with five equipment levels – SE-L, SE-L Nav, SE-L Lux, SE-L Lux Nav and Sport Nav – and on-the-road prices range from £21,895 to £29,895.

There is a choice of two engines with three power outputs – 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol with 163bhp, or the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D turbo diesel unit – expected to account for 85 per cent of UK sales – with outputs of 148bhp or 173bhp.

The test model was a top-of-the-range 2.2D 2WD 150ps Sport Nav and although this featured the smaller of the two diesel engines, I thought it was perfectly suited to this car.

Moving up and down through a slick six-speed manual transmission, there was ample acceleration available in low to high ranges.

It pulled away sprightly with a time of 9.2 seconds to reach 62mph and, capable of 126mph, the engine worked quietly at motorway speeds.

There was never too much road or wind noise either and the CX-5’s suspension coped well on some pot-holed roads.

And there is certainly a sporty feeling to this SUV’s handling as this front-wheel drive model displayed great agility and road grip when tackling bends.

All engines are fitted with Mazda’s i-Stop system that helps to achieve tremendous fuel economy figures – 62.4mpg combined, 52.3mpg urban and 68.9mpg extra urban on the test model.

You get bundles of standard equipment which on all models includes a Smart City Brake Support which helps a driver to avoid a low speed – up to 19mph – frontal collision by activating the brakes and reducing the engine output

SE-L spec includes 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/65 R17 tyres, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, 5.8-inch colour touch screen and Mazda’s Multimedia Commander.

Stepping up to the SE-L Lux adds a power tilt and slide sunroof, full leather trim, heated six-way power adjustable front seats, memory function for the driver’s seat, and red detail stitching on the steering wheel, handbrake and gear lever.

Sport Nav models additional items include 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 R19 tyres, full leather trim, heated six-way power adjustable front seats, memory function for the driver’s seat, red detail stitching on the steering wheel, handbrake and gear lever, bi-Xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system, reversing camera and premium Bose audio system with nine speakers.

The Mazda CX-5 was a super all-rounder to kick off the New Year with and I thought the £26,695 test car was super value.

Enjoy your motoring in 2015.