Yet the creature I am pedalling is no lumbering ladder-frame log lugger for this is a lightweight 4×4 and it comes from Mazda, a company normally known for riotous roadsters and homely hatchbacks. This newcomer is neither, for now the firm is trying – literally – to crossover. The bold badge on the boot tells you all you need to know about the name – CX-5. The styling is equally stirring, from the proud prow through the filigree folds of the flanks back to a posterior that is packed with practical portent. Question is, can it sing as good as it looks on the CD sleeve?
Immediately, first impressions are sharper than lime eye drops; steering feels keener than a beaver on bath salts, gear change is crisper than a deep-fried Dorito. Even that optimised oil burner under the burnished bonnet feels hotter than a fireman’s phaal. Make no mistake; this high-riding whore is hungry for helming. Mazda makes great play of its ‘Skyactiv’ philosophy, laying on the lightness and extracting the efficiency, but all I know is, it’s a whole balloon of boon for the keen wheelsmith.
It may be higher than a basketballer’s ballbag but this funked up familyist likes to party on the Tarmac. Turn it in it hard and it grips like a Taurined-up trawlerman, balanced as a ballerina on a beam between two buildings. But what happens when you start asking harder questions? Does the chassis crack under some back road Paxman? To find out, I fire in hot to a particularly naggety switchback, feel the feedback flowing with each twist of the tiller, and then strangle the gas just as we shake hands with Mr Apex. All at once the tail comes into play with a saucy sidestep. I simply catch it with a dab of oppo and I’m away.
The Mazda CX-5 2.2d SE-L Nav AWD is a bitch. And I spanked it.
Troy Queef is Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for DAB OF OPPO magazine