Last year, we extolled the virtues of the new Tiguan based on Volkswagen’s unerring ability to deliver to its customers what they most want.

In several departments, most notably in the positivity of the handling, the CX-5 has exceeded its most prominent rival – but it possibly has not in the ways in which most buyers would choose to ultimately grade a family crossover.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Still moderately left of field, but now likeable in greater proportions

The Volkswagen is quieter, more comfortable, easier-going and nicer inside. Telling blows, all.

But that does not leave the CX-5 down and out. Quite the opposite: on its own terms – the way Mazda seems to go about doing everything – the second-generation car is a resounding and obvious improvement on its predecessor.

This CX-5 is great to look at, better to sit in, good to drive, cost-effective to run and brilliantly sized. It comfortably eclipses the bulk of a running order that previously outranked it and, in doing so, it provides buyers with arguably the most compelling mainstream alternative to the segment’s current benchmark.

The Mazda CX-5 couldn’t quite topple the Tiguan, but is ahead of the Ford Kuga, BMW X1 and Honda CR-V in our eyes.

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