DETERMINED not to rest on its plentiful laurels, Mazda has updated its spacious CX-5 in several key areas as the battle for market share in the keenly contested SUV sector continues apace.

Now you can have the excellent 194ps 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine for the first time, while the connectivity and infotainment technology has been given a welcome update.

And for those prepared to spend a little extra for some unique detailing there is a 165PS two-litre Kuro special edition.

The introduction of connected services is a welcome addition, but the eye-catcher is the new larger, faster and clearer 10.25-inch centre display screen and more intuitive Mazda Connect Commander operation that is so simple to get to grips with and is a further demonstration of Mazda's almost uncanny ability to morph driver and machine.

Other bits and bobs that have received an overhaul include include remote door locking, a vehicle finder, the remote pre-programming of multiple navigation destinations and a security alert.

So we now have a design classic that offers practicality, connectivity and driver enjoyment in equal measures.

The 18-model CX-5 range offers a broad choice of petrol and diesel engines, with options for both manual and automatic transmission, plus a line-up that includes both Mazda's i-Activ AWD system or front-wheel drive.

Matched exclusively to front-wheel drive, the 165ps 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine is a mainstay of the range and available in all trim levels SE-L, Sport and GT Sport - with a choice of manual or automatic transmission in each trim.

Depending on trim level, the latest versions of the 165ps Skyactiv-G CX-5 emit slightly less CO2 while improving fuel economy, and manual versions feature cylinder deactivation to increase efficiency.

Having made its UK debut in the Mazda6, the 194ps 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G engine joins the CX-5 range exclusively in GT Sport trim paired to an automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive. Thanks to cylinder deactivation, this 194ps direct-injection four-cylinder engine seamlessly switches between four and two-cylinder operation to improve real-world fuel economy at no cost to performance.

The 150ps Skyactiv-D diesel engine is offered with front-wheel drive in SE-L and Sport trim with a choice of gearbox, while the more powerful 184ps engine is offered in Sport and GT Sport trim. With the introduction of the 184ps 2WD Sport model, Mazda's higher output diesel can now be matched to front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive. At the top of the range, GT Sport cars are exclusively all-wheel drive.  

Always conscious of its reputation as a company that makes cars that are a joy to drive, there is optimised throttle pedal calibration for better response and control with improved engine response to throttle inputs, while the responsiveness of the six-speed automatic transmission has also been improved.

But one thing has been left alone and with good reason. With its perfectly balanced execution of Mazda's so-called Kodo design philosophy, the award-winning styling of the Mazda CX-5 remains intact.

However, the introduction of the Kuro Edition adds a unique looking model to the range. Limited to 750 examples, the 165ps Skyactiv-G powered Kuro Edition is offered with a choice of free-of-charge Soul Red Crystal Metallic or Polymetal Grey Metallic paint, which is contrasted by 19-inch black alloy wheels and black mirror caps.

Inside, the Kuro CX-5 features a power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats and black half leatherette and suede seat trim over and above the SE-L it's based on, while complementing the unique exterior, the cabin features black dashboard and door inserts plus red stitching on the seats, steering wheel, knee pads, gearshift surround, armrest and door surround.

Launched in in 2012, the CX-5 remains a crucial car for Mazda in the UK market. It accounts for more than a quarter of its sales here and remains the company's best-selling model globally.

Take one for a spin and you will understand why.


Mazda CX-5 Kuro Edition

Price: £30,245 (range from £26,135

Engine: Four-cylinder 2.0-litre Skyactive-G petrol  producing 165PS

Transmission: Six-speed manual driving front wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 10.3 seconds; top speed 125mph

Economy: 42.2mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 152g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****