Mazda’s CX-5 was somewhat late to the party when it was launched back in 2012, so it needed to be great to catch up to the uber popular Nissan Qashqai. With sophisticated CO2-reducing Skyactiv technology and a unique front-end design, we think the CX-5 deserves more of the limelight, let us show you why. If you really want to make the most out of Mazda’s efficient Skyactiv technology, avoid going for the 163bhp 2.0-litre petrol and instead go for the 2.2-litre diesel we are driving, preferably in the 148bhp output as this can return an average of around 60mpg and emit just 119g/km of CO2. But don’t less these frugal figures fool you, the 148bhp diesel is no slouch, reaching 62mph from a standing start in just 9.2 seconds. So, it ticks the efficiency box, but what is it like to drive, well, very, very good, the steering is nicely weighted and responsive, meaning it is composed even on winding roads, the gearbox is incredibly slick, thanks to it taking inspiration from the MX-5’s, and even the ride is smooth, which I didn’t think would be the case after seeing that it was sitting on 19-inch alloy wheels. For those who want to push the CX-5 a little bit further, the 173bhp variant of the 2.2-litre diesel comes with AWD, which gives you a bit more freedom off-road. But, the CX-5 is not perfect, there are a few little nuisances, like the obstructing C pillars, noisy diesel engine and annoying whistle that comes from near the A pillars and wing mirrors. Speaking of nuisances, it’s a shame that Mazda hasn’t done a bit more with the CX-5’s interior as it all seems a little bland, certainly no BMW or Audi, although it is well laid out and solid. But aside to that, there is plenty of kit on offer from entry level with climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and a colour touchscreen display. The likes of a reversing camera and upgraded Bose sound system comes with the flagship Sport trim. Sat nav is also available but as an added extra. One of the best things about the cabin of the CX-5 is its seating position as there is an unbelievable amount of adjustment in the driver’s seat. Convenience wise, the CX-5 is even more impressive in the back. The rather large exterior of the CX-5 really pays off in the rear as there is plenty of space to fidget about if need be. There is also a handy fold down arm rest with cup holders, providing you don’t have a third rear passenger. If you do have a middle passenger, they are going to struggle with arm room. Practicality wise, the CX-5s boot is one of the best in class as Mazda have seemingly thought of everything. There is a low loading lip, large opening and even a nifty feature that lifts the parcel shelf up with the tailgate. There is 503 litres with the seats in place and 1,620 with them down, and you can fold them down from back here by literally using one finger, and if that wasn’t good enough, the seats even fold flat. The CX-5 may not have some of the finer details of a VW, but it ticks so many boxes it just simply cannot be ignored, plus it has the added benefits of striking looks and the fact that there are not that many of them on the road.