The dimensions of the second-generation CX-5 silently confirm its relationship with its predecessor.

The new car is within 5mm of the old one on overall length – you’ll often see a bigger difference than that on a facelifted car as a result of a mere bumper styling alteration – and is identical on overall width and wheelbase.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The power-lift tailgate is all well and good, but Mazda seems to have fitted ponderously slow hydraulics

Where it does differ is on overall height, the new car standing 30mm shorter than its antecedent – and quite possibly benefiting visually from the aesthetic advantages that a lower roofline confers.

Mazda’s new look for the car adds slimmer headlights and a larger helping of chrome trim and certainly creates a smarter, more serious and more upmarket-looking car.

Revisions to the CX-5’s body-in-white may have added 15 percent to the car’s torsional rigidity by the inclusion of 3 percent more ultra-high-tensile steel, but they haven’t made it significantly lighter.

Mazda’s claim, however, is that 50 percent of the components that make up the car’s monocoque (by number) are new. The joins between the front suspension and the body have been reinforced, as have the body sills and the A-pillars.

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Elsewhere, the steering bushes have been stiffened, the lower suspension arm bushings uprated, and the dampers respecified and retuned for smoother roll characteristics and better mid-corner stability.

On the electronic side, the car features new dynamic stability software called G-Vectoring Control, which uses integrated control of the engine, transmission and chassis to monitor the car’s pitch as it progresses from turn-in to apex and then exit and makes subtle modulations to the engine’s delivery of torque to juggle the car’s weight around between its axles.

This, Mazda claims, is automatic load transfer and the consequent maximising of grip, steering response and stability done imperceptibly: an interesting idea.

The CX-5’s engines have been carried over for the most part, with detail changes made to Mazda’s 2.2-litre diesel lump in particular aimed at improving refinement.

We tested the volume-selling 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel in front-wheel-drive manual form. A 163bhp 2.0-litre petrol is also available, as is a 173bhp 2.2-litre diesel.

Four-wheel drive is offered on the 148bhp diesel as an option and on the 173bhp one as standard, and a six-speed automatic gearbox can be had with either diesel.

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