When we tested the CX-5 in 2012, much of the praise was heaped on the then new 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine – and rightly so.
The unit, lusty and likeable, was at the forefront of the industry’s wider overhaul of the modestly sized oil-burner and its fitment ensured that the model’s performance and efficiency were among its most lauded features.
Its carry-over into the new model, virtually unchanged, is consequently a cause for celebration – and mild censure.
The gentle admonishment is necessary not because the four-cylinder unit has suddenly turned bad, but rather because it has not got markedly better.
We posted 9.4sec to 60mph and 53.9mpg on a touring run against a 43.3mpg average – virtually the same scores as five years ago and undeniably commendable even now. But standing still in a congested and closely contested segment is virtually the same as taking a step back, not least because it gives current CX-5 owners less of a reason to upgrade.
Where Mazda has endeavoured to invest in the engine is rather a case in point. Efforts to make the car more refined are naturally welcome, yet the manufacturer has only really succeeded in hauling its previously gruff oil-burner up to a level we’d call satisfactory. It’s quieter, then, but manifestly still present at all times.